Mariannville Developments, the swashbuckling outfit that wants to build 730 dwellings on the fairways and putting greens of the former Glenway golf course, has published its “settlement offer”.
It is as toxic as a dose of anthrax and should be rejected.
Councillors should throw everything they’ve got, and more, into the marathon 8 week long OMB hearing scheduled for March 2014.
The settlement offer set out in the letter from Mariannville’s lawyer, Ira Kagan, could hardly be more disdainful or imperious in tone. (Ward 7 councillor, Chris Emanuel, who represents the Glenway neighbourhood, helpfully posts the details on his website.)
The blustering showman, Ira Kagan, who wants us to believe he has the whip hand, requires the Town to somersault at his command.
He insists Town staff present a report to councillors by November 2013 containing “recommendations” on whether or not to accept or reject the offer. A report without recommendations is not acceptable.
He stipulates that the Town must allocate sanitary sewer and water capacity for 730 units “forthwith” after approving this settlement.
There are other requirements and conditions too but these are secondary.
Kagan is making the “without prejudice” offer public to invite comments. So here is my pennyworth.
(1) Now that the final offer is public, councillors must declare their position. They should insist on retaining the open space at Glenway in line with the Town’s Official Plan.
(2) In the meantime, councillors must assert themselves. They should grill the planners at length before they (the staff) even put pen to paper. The planners are there to serve the interests of the Town, not the other way around.
(3) The staff report must recommend the settlement offer be refused.
(4) The Town should make it clear it will not hook up "forthwith" the proposed 730 residential units to the sewer network and water mains.
This last point is key. Development can only proceed if Mariannville gets all the necessary planning approvals and gets connected to the water main and sewers.
The Town has a servicing allocation policy, adopted by the Council in August 2009 (click Documents in the menu left and open Newmarket documents).
The latest report went to the Committee of the Whole on 29 April 2013. (Scroll to item 15)
Servicing capacity is limited and it is, in effect, rationed according to criteria set out. There is a clear hierarchy.
First call on water and sewerage goes to “applications within the Urban Centres” as shown on Schedule A of the Official Plan.
Then consideration is given to “providing allocation to those applications in the Emerging Residential Areas" as shown on Schedule A.
Only then should allocation go to developments in a Stable Residential Area – which is what Glenway is in the Official Plan.
The Town’s servicing allocation policy is designed to promote development in the Urban Centres in support of (a) Newmarket’s Official Plan and (b) York Region’s Centres and Corridors program and (c) the Vivanext bus rapid transit system.
What a terrible irony if the open spaces of Glenway are built over and Davis Drive remains a deserted wasteland.
(more on this to come)