Just received a reassuring email from Rick Nethery, Newmarket’s top planner, about the Town’s historic Main Street which is currently being sized up by drooling developers.

The Town has a policy on the Historic Conservation District dating from 2011 but it is not yet embedded in a By Law.

Here Rick Nethery explains:

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the implementation of the Lower Main Street South Heritage Conservation District. Mayor Van Bynen has asked me to respond to your e-mail on his behalf.

Council has directed that the Heritage District bylaw be approved however,  administratively the Town has not been in a position to do so due to lack of human resources to fully administer the Plan.   Staff will bring the matter of the implementation of this plan forward as part of the 2014 Budget deliberations. 

We can assure you that in the interim, any applications that are received by the Planning Department for redevelopment within the district boundaries will be reviewed against the policies of the plan, including consultation with the Town’s Heritage Committee, Heritage Newmarket as well as requiring Heritage Assessments as appropriate.

Furthermore, the normal and usual Planning Act processes are still required for any significant development proposals in the area. This may include site plan approval and/or zoning by-law amendments which require Council approval. Through these processes, Council can, among other things, consider the compatibility of any proposal with the surrounding uses.

Thank you for your continued interest in Newmarket’s growth.

This is very encouraging but it does beg one or two questions.

If the Heritage Conservation District policy stands on its own, buttressed if needs be by the usual Planning Act processes, why is a By Law needed?

Put simply, what does the By Law do that the policy on its own does not do?

And does it matter to the Forrest Group that there is, as yet, no By Law?

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