The much anticipated report by the Town’s planners on Bob Forrest’s proposed Clock Tower development has now been published. The report goes to the Committee of the Whole on 18 April 2016. You can read it here at agenda item 6.

As expected, the planners recommend the application is referred to a public meeting. Planning staff will then bring a further “comprehensive report” to councillors, if required. Until then, Newmarket’s planners are largely keeping their powder dry.

The Town’s Engineers are less circumspect. The report highlights a parking shortfall of 91 parking spaces between Forrest’s development proposal (199) and what is required under the Town’s current by-law standard (290). The report says:

“Engineering Services have reviewed the report and continue to have concerns regarding the parking shortfall and cannot support the application until the identified issues are addressed.”

The agenda for the meeting on 18 April 2016 includes provision (at item 26) for the Committee to go into Closed Session “if required” to consider:

“A proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board… related to item 6 of the Committee of the Whole agenda – Ward 5 Property – 180-195 Main Street.”

Councillors, if they had the gumption, could take this opportunity to torpedo Forrest’s plan for a seven story apartment block by simply refusing to make Town-owned land available to him.

They don’t owe Bob Forrest any favours. Not that I am aware of. But they do have a responsibility to protect the integrity of the Town’s Heritage Conservation District - a policy most of them voted for.

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