The Town of Newmarket is taking Bob Forrest's Main Street Clock Inc to Court to enforce rights to lands in Market Square which the Town acquired in 2003 in an agreement with Michael Bryan, the then owner of 184-194 Main Street South.
On 17 April 2012, Bryan emailed Newmarket CAO, Bob Shelton, to say he was in the process of selling the properties to Forrest
"and I have authorised the purchaser, Main Street Clock Inc, including its parent company Forrest Group, to discuss details of my company's land exchange with the Town of Newmarket".
He went on:
"Accordingly, I extend my authorisation to the Town of Newmarket to discuss the land exchange details, as they relate to applications for development proposals for the property, with Forrest Group/Main Street Clock Inc."
The Town says the 2003 agreement involving a land swap (shown above) was entered into to facilitate the (then) redevelopment of Market Square and was a mutually beneficial exchange of surface parking rights. Nothing more; nothing less.
For years the Town and Michael Bryan kept to their agreement and it worked out just fine. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the actual transfer of lands never happened. Despite this, the Town now says the agreement reached with Michael Bryan is binding on Main Street Clock Inc, the successor in title.
This is clearly something for the lawyers. Is an agreement binding when parties abide by its terms for years even though it was never actually signed off?
The Town says Forrest's Clock Tower development application, first submitted in September 2013, has been revised over time. But until 3 May 2017 - the date of the first OMB pre-hearing - the proposed development site excluded any surface development on the lands the Town was to receive "pursuant to the agreement".
Option B - which will replace the original application - involves building on that land.
Is this just lawyerly fancy dancing or does it amount to something?
I am left scratching my head.
Perhaps a more pressing question is whether the studies submitted by Forrest in support of his original application will be asked to fulfill the same function for Option B at the forthcoming OMB appeal hearing even though the two are very different.