Last night, Newmarket councillors gave the go-ahead to staff to engage outside legal and planning experts to help the Town resist plans by the Slessors to develop the site of their former car dealership, directly opposite Upper Canada Mall.

You can read the report from the Town’s solicitor, Esther Armchuk-Ball, here. Open the Council agenda for 17 December 2012 and scroll to the Corporate Services Report – Legal Services (item 11).

The Slessors are going to the Ontario Municipal Board, claiming the Council has been dragging its feet, unable or unwilling to make a decision on the matter. The Slessors original planning application for 29 and 26 storey towers will be decided by the OMB if an alternative proposal, proposed by the Slessors at the eleventh hour, is rejected by the Town.

The alternative – the so-called settlement offer - is just as bad as the original.

The Slessors are trying to squeeze as much as they can onto their tight 4.6 acre site. There is next to no difference in density between the original application and the settlement option.

Last night, Newmarket councillors made the right decision (to commission outside experts to help prepare the case against the Slessors’ monster development) but the debate was conducted in camera, behind closed doors, at the request of Ward 7 councillor, Chris Emanuel.

We were told this was to allow councillors to get candid legal advice from the Town’s top in-house lawyer before moving to the vote.

After an hour, the Council reconvened in open session but there was next to no debate on the substantive issue – the merits or otherwise of the Slessor development.

Instead, councillors unanimously carried a motion directing legal counsel and staff to represent the Town of Newmarket at the OMB hearing starting on 19 February.

A second motion, authorising staff to engage outside experts if the Slessor application goes to a full OMB hearing in April, proved to be more controversial with Dave Kerwin and Maddie Di Muccio voting against.

Cllr Kerwin did not let us into his thinking why he was voting against.

Maddie Di Muccio is never so coy. She tells us she doesn’t want the Town to get to a full OMB hearing. She complains she hasn’t been briefed on the substance of the application.

So she would be voting against.

No surprises there.

So, what next?

We shall be calling another meeting in January to update everyone on the latest developments.

And, in the meantime, we shall be preparing our own critique of the two Slessor applications, outlining reasons why, in both cases, they should be rejected.

Postscript:

Earlier, Maddie Di Muccio votes against allocating a further $38,000 to the existing $65,000 Glenway Development Applications Planning Consultant Budget.

This support from the Town is crucially important to Glenway residents and will help them defend their neighbourhood against the predatory outfit, Marianneville Development Ltd, who want to build on the fairways of the old golf course and change utterly the character of the area.

When it comes to the interests of developers and the interests of residents we know whose side Maddie is on.

Newmarket Council will be considering its approach to Slessor Square tonight (17 December) at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Municipal Offices, 395 Mulock Drive.

The meeting is open to the public.

The more the merrier.

Bill Chadwick, speaking for the Shrink Slessor Square Residents' Group, will be addressing the Council at 7pm on the dot so come along and show your support.

The agenda for tonight's meeting can be found here. Go to Reports of Committees and Staff, item 11 on page 2.

 

 

A terrific turn out at last night's meeting at Newmarket Public Library where members voted to turn Shrink Slessor Square into a non profit incorporated body.

Shrink Slessor Square is now well placed to champion the views of local residents who are opposed to Slessor's monster development opposite Upper Canada Mall.

The following members were elected to the Board: Bill Chadwick, Bob Leury and Gordon Prentice. Paul Popper has agreed to look after the accounts. 

Members donated $306 last night in $1 membership dues and in a hat that was passed around. Marvellous response!

Shrink Slessor Square now has 104 members who have paid their loonie to join. And they all have a say in determining our policy as a residents' group.

Over 180 people have also signed the Shrink Slessor Square petition. At the moment, there is not a huge overlap and we shall be working hard to sign up as members people who chose just to sign the petition.

We are open and inclusive and welcome everyone who shares our concerns about the Slessor project in particular and over development in Newmarket in general.

A note for your diary...

Bill Chadwick, on behalf of Shrink Slessor Square, will be addressing the Newmarket Council meeting on Monday 17 December 2012 at 7pm.

If you can get along to show support that would be great. 

Here is the text of the Mayor's letter to Bill Chadwick (scroll to earlier posting) which was also copied to all Newmarket councillors

"Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.  I have asked staff to review the contents of your e-mail and I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Let me begin by saying that I am reminded the rights, responsibilities and obligations of all parties (including council, staff, the proponent, residents and the Ontario Municipal Board, as well as due process) are prescribed in the Planning Act. Additionally, the professional recommendations Council receives are based on the planning merits of applications under consideration as they relate to the provisions of the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaws adopted after extensive community consultation.

The following is staff’s response to the points you have raised.

Please be assured that the Town will not ignore zoning or any of the planning documents.  As you may be aware, the Slessor application is for a zoning by-law amendment.  Section 4.4.3 of the  Town’s Official Plan provides for the consideration of development that exceeds the density provisions of the Official Plan (Table 1) through the  zoning by-law amendment process, subject to the provision of appropriate studies and the Town’s analysis of conformity with the applicable planning documents.

Town staff has been undertaking this analysis as reported on November 19, 2012, and there are still a number of issues under review by staff, including transportation impacts, height and density.

Once staff has completed its professional assessment of these remaining outstanding issues, staff will prepare a report for consideration  by Committee of the Whole of Council on February 4, 2013.  At this time, you as well as other members of the community will be afforded an opportunity to address Committee before it takes a position on the application.

Based on all the information before it, Council will ultimately take a position that it feels represents conformity with the applicable planning documents and the collective public interest. 

With respect to your request to be a party to any future negotiations with the applicant, I suggest that you make that request formally to our legal counsel Ms Armchuk-Ball and Mr. Kagan on behalf of Dwight Slessor Holdings. 

Thank you for your continued interest.

Tony Van Bynen

Mayor

Town of Newmarket

 

Here is the text of an e mail sent to supporters earlier this week. If you share our concerns, come to our meeting next Wednesday...
 
Hi there
 
We are neighbours.
 
Many of you signed a petition earlier this year against the Slessor Square development, and we are now inviting you and others who share our concern to a crucial meeting in Newmarket Library's multi purpose room on Wednesday 12 December from 7pm - 9pm.  
 
After endless months of negotiation between Town and developer, things are now coming to the boil.
 
The Slessors are keen to press ahead with their gigantic twin towers on the Slessor site but they know there is vocal opposition. 
 
So now, at the eleventh hour, they are proposing an alternative, which is just as oversized as their original proposal, in the hope of getting the Town to agree.
 
Details of this so called "settlement option" can be found here in the planning applications page on the Town website. Scroll to 17645 Yonge Street (Dwight Slessor Holdings Ltd.) Go to “Without Prejudice” documents and open “Slessor Conceptual Design Package (November 2012)”.
 
The Slessors have now gone to the Ontario Municipal Board, by-passing our local council, hoping they can force their massive development through.
 
Fortunately, the OMB has given Shrink Slessor Square (SSS) "party status" and we can speak out on behalf of residents. 
 
But we need your backing or the OMB will not take our voices seriously.
 
For a modest membership contribution of $1 you can be part of the SSS residents' group. You can vote on key decisions, stand for election to our Board if you wish, and help shape the future of our neighbourhood and Town.
 
As a non profit organisation of residents, we are seeking "incorporation" to be able to demonstrate our solidarity to the OMB. If we stay silent, the developers win.
  
We know there are fears this could lead to expensive fees to hire lawyers. But we have absolutely no plans to hire lawyers, and, in any event, the OMB makes it clear that lawyer representation is not essential.
 
We are also proceeding on the basis of advice from other active residents groups with experience in OMB dealings (including Glenway and the recent mega-quarry victory). 
 
Closer to home, perhaps you know people with legal or technical skills that would help us strengthen our case.
 
Feel free to forward this e mail to friends, neighbours and acquaintances who may share your concerns about this monster project. Our group is open and welcoming, so please spread the word.
 
It’s time for all of us to unite to shrink Slessor Square.
 
Let us know if you are thinking of coming along to the meeting on 12 December. It helps with the planning.
E mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Best Wishes
 
Gordon Prentice and Bill Chadwick
on behalf of the Shrink Slessor Square Residents' Group

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