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Development on White Church Road




Late last year, just after the finalization of Bill 150, which rescinded the previous Provincial decision to expand the Urban Boundary, the City of Hamilton received a Secondary Plan Application from a group that owns 300 acres of an 805-acre land parcel north of White Church Road from Upper James to Miles Road.  The Secondary Plan was deemed incomplete by the City.  The Landowners have appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) with regards to the completeness of this Secondary Plan Submission. The group claim that their submission of this Secondary Plan was complete.  It was not, plain and simple. 

The City has noted 22 separate requirements for this Secondary Plan Application that are either missing or incomplete at the time of the submission. 


Below are 22 reasons why the Secondary Plan was deemed incomplete by our City Planning department.

 

1. Concept Plan: Has not been submitted.

2. Housing Report: A report with the required content for a Housing Report has not been submitted.

3. Commercial Needs and Impact Assessment:

The Commercial Needs Assessment is identified as being preliminary. A final Commercial Needs Assessment is required. The preliminary Commercial Needs Assessment does not address all of the matters identified in the Urban Hamilton Official Plan

4. Urban Design Report Author of report is not indicated: Report has not been signed by a qualified professional. Author must be noted and must sign report.

5. Environmental Impact Study (EIS): A Terms of Reference for the EIS has not been approved. This is a requirement outlined within the City’s Council adopted EIS Guidelines (revised March 2015). This is essential since it outlines the appropriate studies and timing windows and is used in the evaluation of the EIS.

As per the Formal Consultation Document, the Environmental Impact Study was to be

completed as part of a Sub Watershed Study which has not been submitted.

6. General Vegetation Inventory: Has not been submitted.

7. Linkage Assessment: Must be completed & submitted in the Sub-Watershed Plan

8. Tree Protection Plan: Must be completed and submitted in the Sub-Watershed Plan

9. Hydrogeological Study: As per the City’s comments on the Formal Consultation application, the Terms of Reference for the Hydrogeological Study must be submitted and approved by all required internal and external approval agencies prior to the work being completed. This has not occurred.

10. Geotechnical Study: As per the City’s comments on the Formal Consultation application, the Terms of Reference for the Geotechnical Study must be submitted and approved by all required internal and external approval agencies prior to the work being completed. This has not occurred.

11. Sub-Watershed Plan and/ or update to an existing Subwatershed: Plan has not been submitted.

12. Financial Impact Analysis: The Financial Impact Assessment is incomplete.

The purpose is to estimate growth-related financial impacts of new neighbourhoods on the finances of the City and to estimate the cost and timing of municipal capital infrastructure to service the secondary plan area. The analysis submitted only provides estimates on the Development Charge and property tax revenue from the proposed development, not the full lifecycle costs of servicing the new neighbourhood as per Policy A.2.4.2 h).

13. Recreational Needs Assessment: A preliminary Recreational Needs Assessment is submitted. A final Recreational Needs Assessment is required.

14. Public Consultation Summary and Comment Response Report: Public Consultation Summary and Comment Response Report. As per Policy F.1.2.3 of the Urban Hamilton Official Plan, public consultation cannot begin for privately initiated Secondary Plans until there is an approved Terms of Reference and public consultation has taken place.

15. Secondary Plan Terms of Reference Approved by the City: A Terms of Reference has not been approved by the City as required under Policy F.1.2.3 of the Urban Hamilton Official Plan.

16. Water Servicing Master Plan: As per the City’s comments on the Formal Consultation application, the Terms of Reference for the Water Servicing Master Plan must be submitted and approved by all required internal and external approval agencies prior to the work being completed. This has not occurred.

17. Wastewater Master Plan: As per the City’s comments on the Formal

Consultation application, the Terms of Reference for the Wastewater Master Plan must

be submitted and approved by all required internal and external approval agencies prior to the work being completed. This has not occurred.

18. Transportation Master Plan: The submitted Transportation Master Plan Brief does not meet the requirements outlined in our formal consultation comments. While it does

contain references/information for each required study (Master Plan, Cycling Route Analysis, Pedestrian Route and Sidewalk Analysis, Transit Assessment), the information does not meet the criteria outlined in the formal consultation documents and respective terms of reference. The biggest oversight is the lack of intersection capacity analyses/list of potential transportation improvements required to support the Secondary Plan

19. Financial Agreement respecting payment of third party peer review fees:

Agreement has not been submitted.

20. Application Fee: As per item 3 of the City’s Fee By-law, an Official Plan Amendment Fee of $78,850 is required.

21. Formal Consultation Document: A signed copy of the Formal Consultation Document by the Applicant is required.

22. Form of Assumption Agreement: Schedule “B” - Form of Assumption Agreement on the Application Form must be signed by the Owner.

 

Even if the group is successful at the OLT, the Secondary Plan must then come before Council for approval.  Since the lands are no longer in the urban boundary, it is the City’s position that another separate application would be needed to expand the urban boundary.  Any decisions on an urban boundary expansion application by Council are final and cannot be appealed by the Landowners. 

 

Any development in this area north of White Church Road is a non-starter for me for many reasons.  Politically, when the ‘Greenbelt Lands to south of White Church were returned to Greenbelt, it was rescinded for a reason, the process was admittedly flawed. When Hamilton’s Urban Expansion was rescinded, this legislation too was pulled back for the same reasons by Minister Calandra.  The process was rushed, subject to undue influence and lacked transparency.


Environmentally, this development if approved would pave over farmland and fields that naturally control stormwater in the area. It would negatively affect the Welland Creek watershed, destroy ponds and small woodlots that provide habitat for wildlife.

This development would leapfrog over thousands of acres of rural land from the hydro corridor to the south in Glanbrook and create unsafe conditions for current residents living on adjacent rural roads. Economically, much of this land is so far away from the existing the Urban Boundary, the costs to build infrastructure and provide services would be unmanageable.  Development here didn’t make sense for the City when it was first proposed, it makes less sense now, and it might not even make sense in 2051.

 


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