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Mayor's quick thinking likely staves off another tribunal trip

Developer plans to build 127 single-detached dwellings on 20.7-hectare parcel of land on Line 3 North in Oro-Medonte
2019-01-23 Oro-Medonte sign RB 2
Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday files

Oro-Medonte Mayor Randy Greenlaw demonstrated some serious out-of-the-box thinking at council this week that probably saved the township a lot of money and avoided another trip to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). 

In a rare and unexpected move, an application for a zoning-bylaw amendment and a draft plan of subdivision application that were recommended for approval were deferred by the applicant, at Greenlaw's request.

As council discussed the applications during this week’s council meeting, Greenlaw heard four members of council express concerns over the applications. They were looking to defer a decision until after councillors and staff could discuss their issues with the developer.

“My concern is denying it will end out potentially going to the OLT,” the mayor said. “And the grounds of what we’re either approving or denying, or deferring it, do we have grounds to stand on.

The planner for Eagles' Landing Estates, a proposed subdivision at 2735 Line 3 N., in Oro-Medonte Township, has agreed to defer a decision on the project until the township's next regular council meeting, which is set for Feb. 28. | Image supplied

“Or are we in the position of deferring without it being appealed to look at some conditions to be written into the acceptance of the agreement?” he added, directing his question to Brent Spagnol, Oro-Medonte's development services director.

“A deferral, essentially runs in parallel with the appeal that is sitting with the municipality, needs to be forwarded on to the tribunal,” Spagnol said. “A refusal essentially brings the application to the tribunal anyway because it’s already on its way.

“So as far as having additional conversations go, it may be warranted to just follow course and defer and allow for those discussions regarding mediation," he added. 

Spagnol told council his preference would be to avoid having to go through the OLT.

He recommended council try to find an amicable way to solve the problem and suggested they talk directly to the developer’s planner, Brandi Clement from Jones Consulting, who had joined the meeting remotely.

Clement represents the developers of Eagles’ Landing Estates, a proposed subdivision at 2735 Line 3 N., in the Horseshoe Valley area.

The developer is planning to build 127 single-detached dwelling units on the 20.7-hectare parcel of land. 

Council shared their concerns with the planner and, after a short discussion, it appeared that there was very little wiggle room on the issues and it looked like it might have to head to the OLT for resolution.

And then, without even realizing it, Greenlaw asked a question that unlocked the solution.

“I guess Ms. Clement couldn’t request for the matter to be deferred, so it’s coming from the other side therefore it can’t be appealed at this time.” Greenlaw asked Spagnol. “Is that an optional route?”

Visibly surprised at the question, Spagnol asked the mayor to clarify his question.

“Could Ms. Clement request for this matter to be deferred to the next meeting?,” Greenlaw asked.

“Yes, that is an option as well, Mr. Mayor,” Spagnol replied.

Greenlaw then posed the question to Clement, who admitted it put her in a difficult position, as the developer wants to keep the project on track.

Following a short back and forth between Clement and council, she agreed to defer the decision on the condition that township staff work with the developer to iron out current issues and a guarantee that the matter is on the Feb. 28 council meeting agenda.

Council agreed to Clement’s request and she will be back in front of council at the next council meeting.

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Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Wayne Doyle covers the townships of Springwater, Oro-Medonte and Essa for BarrieToday under the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI), which is funded by the Government of Canada
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