On Monday 25 November at 7pm the Town’s councillors will meet at Newmarket Theatre to consider a report by planning staff recommending they reject Marianneville’s plans to build over huge swathes of the former golf course at Glenway.

Back in August, the developer made a few tweaks to the original application and submitted a “settlement offer” that, for all the bluff and bluster, amounted to little more than some changes at the margins. It was just as toxic as the original.

Instead of wading through reams of planning reports focussing on the technical shortcomings of the application, the Glenway Preservation Association want councillors to raise their eyes from the small print and planning minutiae and ask the question: should any development at all be permitted? The GPA thinks not – and for compelling reasons.

Now, at the eleventh hour, Marianneville’s lawyer, the loud and brash and over-confident Ira Kagan, has submitted a second settlement offer to the Town which, he says replaces the original (and appealed) application.

Surprise! Surprise! There are to be 730 dwellings - exactly the same as before. The revised plan of the sub division is here.

The latest proposal went in to the Town Hall yesterday (20 November) and takes the form of a crude bribe to credulous councillors who fret about the cost of defending Glenway (and the Town’s Official Plan) at the OMB.

Kagan tells us with every ounce of lawyerly sincerity he can muster that the revised offer will save everyone mountains of cash and is a

 “sincere effort to avoid the substantial costs and resources of this hearing (about half of which will be borne by the taxpayers)…”

Translated, this means the developers are getting worried. If the Town and GPA team up at the OMB against Marianneville, the developer is toast.

Kagan addresses the doubters saying “many of the staff’s technical concerns are in fact entirely resolved by virtue of the revised development”. Ah!

The developers are even reserving land for a school next to the GO bus station in case it is needed.

We learn that Marianneville (who bought the Glenway lands for $10 million) will grant a ten year option to the Town to buy 57 acres of land owned by the developer but surplus to requirements for $5,500,000, a price fixed for the decade. During this option period the land would be retained as “passive open space” and maintained as such by Marianneville.

The developer will plant a few trees and fix some fencing. Whoo!

Now I read that Kagan impertinently wants the Town to re-designate Glenway as “emerging residential” from “stable residential” and hook up the water mains and sewer pipes in phases as the development gets built. If the Town sticks with the stable residential designation Kagan says this should not be used to deny the developer the servicing allocation required.

Finally, Kagan warns us that another avalanche of reports is heading our way, addressing various technical concerns.

This begs the question: how long can this process go on? Are we going to get a third settlement offer if councillors reject the second?

Any why on earth should planning staff be expected to devote time and energy on successive variations of an application that deserves to die?

On Monday, councillors should throw out the original application and first settlement offer, team up with the GPA, and take their case to the OMB on 10 December.

The Clock Tower

A report on Bob Forrest’s Clock Tower development that will blight Newmarket’s historic downtown comes up before the Committee of the Whole on Monday 25th November.

If we are going to stop bending the knee to developers, there is no better place to start.

Download the agenda for 25 November and scroll to page 110.