Mayor has become a dog with a bone - doing everything she can to prevent a developer from getting an extension he is entitled to.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

That request for an extension from EMSHIH Developments and their Garden Trails II development is getting a little messy and revealing some cracks in the cohesion of city Council.

The request for an extension – several have been given in the past – on a development that is close to 20 years old.

Garden Trail Phase 2

EMSHIH Developments did the first Phasae of the Garden Trail subdivision tears ago. The area coloured green is their Phase II plan. The want an extension to the end of the year to complete the paper work and eventually get a building permit. Staff has argued so much has changed on the regulatory side that a new application should be filed.

Council spent more than an hour at a Standing Committee on this matter earlier in the month – ending up with a 4-3 vote to grant the extension.

That decision had to go to Council – same thing – more than an hour of debate during which the mayor commented on the amount of lobbying that Councillors Galbraith and Kearns has been involved in.

The vote was the same 4-3 with the extension limited to the just end of August. The Mayor worked the Council meeting and managed to get two Staff Directions added. One to the City Treasurer and another to the City Solicitor.

In her A Better Burlington Newsletter, Mayor Meed Ward sets out her position on this development:

It’s clear to me that the application has not met conditions of OMB — they’d had 20 years to meet those conditions and they haven’t. They expire in June. What should Council do? We’ve been told by staff that so much has changed, the studies the applicant will have to do, the work all agencies will have to do is the same as a new application. We’ve been told the applicant is willing to pay fees. We don’t make handshake deals, we have an accountable fees system. We heard the applicant’s concerns is time delays, not paying the fees.

MMW standing O Canada

Mayor Meed Ward standing during the playing of the National anthem at the start of a virtual city council meeting.

I believe the right path for us is to call this application what it is and that is a new one. The timeframe for processing this, we have been told, is roughly the same. We have an obligation to the applicant to ensure things are processed in a timely manner – we have new legislation to make sure. We’ve heard concerns that the new studies will cause the delays, but there are no ways around that — those studies must be done. The facts are fairly clear on this file.

This report from staff has been straightforward – the work required is that of a new application and the recommendation from them is for us to treat it as such. We need to give our planning staff the resources they need, so that Council is not the cause of any delays. A new application has protections in place for the applicant and the City.

With that said, I am OK giving a two-month extension on the deadline to hear from staff on the financial and legal implications on this file.

That is really very generous of the Mayor. She’s Ok a shorter extension wrapped with two Staff Directions that will eat up more than an hour of council time when it is on the agenda in August.  The will of Council is clear – a majority voted for the extension twice.

The last we heard a majority counted mattered. Kearns, Galbraith, Sharman and Bentivegnia voted to give the extension.

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