Groves Point application going before URB in March.
A hearing will be held in March of an appeal to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board after the Cape Breton Regional Municipality refused a decadesold subdivision application by Groves Point residents.
In a letter to the board dated Dec. 22, Clifford and Louise MacNeil noted the plan to build a subdivision road on a property at Hillside Boularderie Road in Groves Point had received approval in 1994, prior to the formation of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. It notes that, when the CBRM took over, it was understood that the subdivision plan would be grandfathered and no time limit was attached to the provincial approval.
“We are not developers, only a family trying to utilize property which has been in the family since 1864,” the MacNeils’ letter states. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources or the machinery to keep pace with the major developers to which they compare us.”
In a letter to MacNeil dated Dec. 8, 2015, Malcolm Gillis, director of planning and development with the CBRM, noted that, although no time limit had been imposed on the MacNeils, it was the opinion of the municipality’s legal department that the development officer at the time should have imposed a reasonable limit. As that wasn’t done, Gillis wrote that the municipality was “essentially legally stuck in time, back to 1994.”
He also advised that the MacNeils would hear from a development officer who would impose a time limit the municipality felt confident would “be reasonable considering it has now been more than 20 years” since the approval was granted.
In a Dec. 16, 2015 letter to MacNeil, CBRM development officer Sandra Bobyk indicated the municipality was prepared to endorse and register his subdivision application once outstanding issues were complied with. It noted that the application, made in 1994, was for a new public road, known as Neils Drive, and a number of lots. Regulations that were in effect at the time the application was made would be used for endorsing the plan.
She noted there was correspondence from the provincial Department of Health approving on-site septic for the land. The letter also noted that the plan and profile for the proposed road as submitted in 1994 were accepted and approved by CBRM engineering services, therefore the roads would be built in accordance with that design.
In her letter, Bobyk also outlined outstanding issues that needed to be addressed prior to the registration of the plan, including that the construction be completed and approved by CBRM engineering services; that storm drainage plans be submitted for approval; and, once construction was complete and approved by engineering services, a deed be executed conveying the title of the new street to the CBRM, and any required easements and road reserves.
Bobyk also referred to a July 2015 meeting where Clifford MacNeil had indicated the road was nearly completed, with only a few weeks of work remaining.
“Therefore, as this application has been on file for the past 21.5 years, I, as development officer for the CBRM, am hereby granting a (one-year) extension to assist you in the completion of your application,” she wrote, adding that the extension would end on Dec. 16, 2016.
Bobyk advised that if the outstanding items were not completely addressed by that date, the application would be deemed refused and the file closed, with no further extension forthcoming.
Bobyk had notified MacNeil by letter on Dec. 16, 2016 that, as the municipality hadn’t received the information required in order to approve and endorse the subdivision application, it had been deemed refused and the file closed. It also advised MacNeil that if he wanted to seek approval in the future, a new application with all necessary documentation would have to be submitted and current fees would apply.
The board has scheduled the hearing for March 8 beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Celtic Room of the Cambridge Suites in Sydney. Anyone wishing to speak at the hearing must notify the Utility and Review Board in writing by Feb. 16. Anyone wanting to make written comments must forward a letter to the board by Feb. 23. The appeal can be viewed on the board’s website at http://nsuarb.novascotia.ca.