Development committee upholds decision
Council feels it has exhausted all avenues to resolve permit application dispute
The Carbonear town council’s development committee has recommended the town’s previous decision and the decision of the Eastern Newfoundland Regional Appeals Board on a building permit application be upheld, unless Walter and Debra Bradbury are willing to cover the cost of bringing a nameless road up to a standard that would allow their proposed single dwelling to proceed.
In an October 8 decision, the Eastern Appeals Board confirmed council’s June 8 decision to deny the Bradburys’ application for a permit to build a single dwelling on a nameless road, which connects Bunker and English Hills in an unserviced area of town.
During the Oct. 19 council meeting, the development committee was asked to go back and do further investigation and review the Bradbury’s development application, in consultation with the works committee, to see if a solution could be found.
The issue was raised again at the Nov. 3 regular council meeting, when the development committee reported back to council on its findings.
Councillor David Kennedy, who chairs the development committee told council, “the expected cost of the road was in the vicinity of $100,000 - $150,000, an amount which was without doubt out of the reach of the town...”
Breaking down the costs for council, coun. Kennedy said they included: the purchase of land adjacent to the road needed to widen it; excavating 2.3 metres from the north of the road, as well as the cost of providing shale or other fill needed to widen the road to the (required) 15 metres; relocation of a Newfoundland Power utility pole at the end of the road; and the cost of applying a cover for the road, class A stone and pavement.
To put the cost into perspective, coun. Kennedy explained: “ The town is investing $200,000 in an 80/20 cost sharing arrangement (with the province) in 2010 in order for a million dollars in infrastructure upgrades to be carried out... If the town spent the required money on the road, we would be left with $250,000 - $500,000 in projects, meaning more pressing infrastructure would be delayed until after 2010.”
Not hampering development
Coun. Kennedy said, “council does not feel this decision is hampering development, but merely following the regulations in place and the precedents set. These rules and regulations were implemented in accordance with both provincial and municipal laws out of fairness to every resident.”
The development committee chair explained the Carbonear Municipal Plan and Development Regulations, adopted in December 2004, are governed by provincial legislation, under the Municipalities Act, which governs the Urban and Rural Planning Act and the Carbonear Municipal Plan.
“ To approve this application, it would require the provincial government to amend the Municipalities Act in order to suit this particular case,” coun. Kennedy noted.
Dep. mayor Ches Ash chaired the portion of the meeting dealing with the Bradbury case for mayor Sam Slade, who vacated the chair after declaring a conflict of interest.
Not satisfied that enough had been done, coun. George Butt reminded council of the meeting “five or six of us” had with Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy in October.
Coun. Butt recalled the minister had indicated he would send out provincial engineers to have another look at the road to see if anything could be done with it to allow the development.
“How come he never sent out the engineers like he said he was going to?” coun. Butt asked.
“Are you saying you believe Minister Kennedy can influence this decision?” coun. Gladys Mercer asked coun. Butt.
Dep. Mayor Ash acknowledged there was a meeting with Minister Kennedy during which a number of wide ranging issues related to the town were discussed, and the Bradburys was one of them.
Dep. mayor Ash’s recollection of the meeting was that Minister Kennedy made an informal suggestion.. he didn’t commit to it, but only that he would look into it.
The deputy mayor asked council if the appropriate way to deal with it now would be to inform him (Minister Kennedy) of the development committee’s recommendation and council’s latest decision, and seek his response to it. Coun. Butt said he was satisfied with that. Debra Bradbury told council according to their Municipal Plan and Development Regulations, you can have development above Bunker Hill. “It states in there you can have a permit above Bunker Hill. It doesn’t say anything in there about a road,” she said.
While Bradbury was not scheduled to speak at the meeting, deputy mayor Ash said her remarks would be duly noted.
Now that council’s initial decision last June has been vindicated by the Appeals Board and by council’s own development committee, Coun. Gladys Mercer felt it is very important for Carbonear citizens to know what council’s decision is.
Moments before our editorial deadline late Friday afternoon, Nov. 13, The Compass learned the Bradburys, who had been living in a fifth-wheel trailer on their land since last spring, had left the site.