COUNCIL UPDATE – June 28, 2016

At Council this week, we had an application before us for approval of a proposed development on Yonge St just north of Bloomington. The proponent’s Consulting Planner Mr. Brutto of Brutto Consulting was at the meeting to delegate on the item. At last week’s General Committee meeting, the motion to approve the development failed on a 4-4 vote so it was before Council again for a final vote. Mr. Brutto’s delegation was not what a Council is used to receiving. Generally, delegates provide their viewpoints or information in support of their proposal in a forthright and, on occasion strong manner, but rarely if ever in a disrespectful manner. Unfortunately, our Council was subjected to what was – as many Councillors later stated at the Council table – a delegation that was very disrespectful to Council. While I will not go into a word for word account of what was said, I can summarize by stating that the delegate spoke to and/or named Councillors individually and stated, (to paraphrase) he knew where “we” stand and then singled out the one member that was not at GC last week and said that the decision rested on his shoulders. The delegate went on further to state – in what many members of Council felt was threatening language – that if we did not approve the proposal before Council that not only would his client take the Town to the OMB, but that they would be asking for more units then they are currently asking for. I encourage residents to review the tape of the meeting to hear for themselves what the delegate said to and how the delegate addressed Council.

So let’s talk about the application. This application is asking for amendments to the Official Plan (OP); amendments that would allow for a higher density then what is allowed under OPA34. Our OP states that the density is 2 units per acre for this area, yet the developer is asking for 50% more. Density in this area has been set at 2 units per acre due to the look and feel of this area and they way the Town envisions the development of this area. While I am not against development, I am against over development. What we need is appropriate development and demanding a higher density in an area that is set under our OP at 2 units is not appropriate. As I have said repeatedly at the Council table, there are instances where it might make sense to approve amendments and we need to be flexible, but there needs to be a clear benefit to the community and Town. In my opinion, asking for 50% more density than what is deemed appropriate in this particular area in our Official Plan just can’t be justified as a benefit to the Town.
After considerable discussion, this item was defeated and a motion to refuse the application on the basis that it does not conform to the Towns Official Plan passed on a recorded vote 6-3 (Mayor Dawe, Councillor Pirri and Thompson opposed)

Another Item that I would like to mention is that of the motion regarding a pilot project for left turn restrictions at Yonge and Wellington. As you may recall, I brought forward a motion in January 2015 for Council to consider a pilot project for left turn restrictions at Yonge and Wellington. The motion was passed unanimously. The pilot project was expected to get under way last summer, then this summer and now we are again at a stage where it will still not be piloted until September at the earliest. It is curious that a motion, unanimously supported by council, has sat on the books for almost 2 years. But at least we are seeing some movement now. There wasn’t much discussion but we all agreed that public information and consultation session should happen before Regional approval (which won’t happen till mid September). The motion was to implement the pilot project pending Regional approval and to have those public information sessions happen sooner rather then later. The motion passed unanimously on a recorded vote. I am looking forward to discussing this with residents and hearing the concerns that they may have. There will be more to come on this after the summer months.

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