Development near creek appealed
Twenty-four other appeals made to the OMB before deadline
We’ve already started down a different path which is not co-operative.”
An application for the land at 11488 Yonge St., at Yonge Street and Gamble Road, was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in early April, even though the developers’ application to the Town of Richmond Hill was deemed incomplete.
An initial application was officially submitted to the town in 2014, proposing two apartment buildings comprising 264 units in total, each located on either side of a tributary of the Rouge River, which cuts through the property. After this application got stopped at Richmond Hill Town Council, over reasons of height and density as well as setback from the creek, the developers drastically changed plans and resubmitted an application for one apartment building at 10 storeys and 56 stacked townhouses on the other side of the creek.
However, shortly after filing their application to the town, they also filed an appeal for the OMB, just before the deadline after which the OMB would be replaced by a Local Planning Tribunal.
According to Kelvin Kwan, commissioner, Town of Richmond Hill, Planning and Regulatory Services, the application was missing key pieces of information including a natural heritage evaluation, water management plans, wind studies and noise impact studies. Without this information, staff members were not able to complete and circulate their own report on it.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty and unknowns because of the incomplete information that the town has,” said Kwan.
He said that since the applicants have appealed to the OMB, staff will not have the chance to approach this application with proper due process.
“The fact that it’s already under appeal takes it out of the town’s hands, and the public hands in general terms. Having said that, it’s not to say that ultimately we couldn’t work toward a resolution, but we’ve already started down a different path which is not cooperative,” said Kwan.
The local ward councillor, David West, echoed the same concerns. West had previously organized public consultations for the initial 2014 application and was approached by the developers in early April 2018 to organize another one regarding the most current plans. He balked at this request when he found out that the OMB would be involved.
“Now that the OMB is involved, the timeline for this being resolved could be really, really, really long,” said West. “Setting up a public consultation today, when we’re not in control of the process and the real decision making doesn’t start up for another two years, I’d be wasting my residents’ time.”
However, Michael Manett, the consultant for the developers. argued that appealing to the OMB creates a formal public process; one which set a date on which residents would be able to show up.
“I’ve had experiences with Richmond Hill specifically that the politicians would like to characterize it as something that they lose control of, and therefore, there’s a negative connotation to it,” said Manett. “But a lot of times, it’s the only way to get the politicians to make a decision or to have staff make a recommendation.”
He added that the OMB creates a set date in which these decisions get made, which is both beneficial for the developer as well as the local residents.
“It gives them a time frame to be dealing with instead of just something to be hanging over their heads,” said Manett. Kwan remains skeptical. “For us to actually continue with any discussions, he’s [Manett] got to at least complete the application and give us the basic information that we’ve requested,” said Kwan.
Manett and his clients confirmed that they intend on filing the missing information.
“We could go to the OMB without them, but it wouldn’t make sense because we want to have the most up-to-date information for everyone to review,” said Manett.
According to Kwan, there were 24 appeals made just before the OMB deadline in Richmond Hill.
A graphic rendering of the plans for 11488 Yonge St.