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OPDI/Mattamy granted OMB party status in separate appeal with Town support

Posted February 28, 2018

Ontario Potato Distributing Inc (OPDI) and Mattamy Homes have been granted party status in an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) appeal not related to their proposed 15,000 unit subdivision, launched by San Marco In Lamis Ltd. attached to its 33.7 hectare property at 6209 14th Line.

San Marco is seeking a site-specific Official Plan Amendment (OPA) to re-designate the subject lands from Rural Agricultural and Hazard Land to Urban Residential and Open Space, to permit a 336 unit housing development comprised of seniors' housing, a seniors' extended care facility, a community centre, and a small park, on its 33.7 hectare property at 6209 14th Line.

The developer has turned to the OMB because The Town failed to make a decision on its OPA application within the statutory time limits.

The first pre-hearing was held Feb. 7 before OMB member Anne Milchberg. Participant status was granted to eight neighbours and property owners. Additionally, Party status was granted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

But OPDI/Mattamy's request was opposed by San Marco, represented by its counsel, Ronald  Kanter, who "expressed doubt that OPDI's and Mattamy's interests were related to his client's due to the differences in property size, and he was concerned that the scale of the requestor's property and their interests would slow down and encumber the hearing of his client's matter," according to Ms. Milchberg's ruling issued Feb. 20.

Counsel for OPDI and Mattamy, Christopher Barnett, argued the parties have similar interests because "like those of the Applicant, are currently outside the Urban Boundary of the Town, and that both his client and the Applicant are focused on the provincial policies dictating settlement and growth (i.e., the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, or “Growth Plan”).

"It appears that both the Applicant and Mr. Barnett's clients may have the aim of having their properties included within an amended Urban Boundary," according to the ruling. "Mr. Barnett noted that there may be a concern as to how population targets are "used up" by emerging developments, including by the Applicant's proposal. The consumption of population targets by other developments would have an impact on his clients' own development plans."

OPDI/Mattamy are parties in the broader appeal of Simcoe County's 2008 Official Plan, which was approved by the OMB in summer 2016. That is except 12-site specific appeals, including OPDI/Mattamy. As such it is being "held in abeyance."

New Tecumseth, represented by Jay Feehely, who in this instance was also standing in for Simcoe County counsel, Marshall Green, supported OPDI/Mattamy's Party status request.

Party status allows for exchanging documents, presenting evidence, questioning witnesses and making submissions to the Board. A party may also request costs, adjournments or a review of the OMB's decision.

"The Board will grant the request for Party status by OPDI and Mattamy because their stated interests are clearly planning related and relevant to the matter before the Board, and because of the geographic adjacency of their lands to those of the Applicant," according to Ms. Milchberg. "The Board appreciates Mr. Kanter's observation that the subject property is much smaller than OPDI's and Mattamy's lands, but this difference should not deprive him of a fair, efficient and focused hearing of his client's appeal, without scope creep, if aided and guided by a disciplined, rigorous Procedural Order."

A second pre-hearing conference is scheduled for Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 10:30 a.m in the council chambers which will deal with issues list(s); lists of parties and participants; witness lists; length of hearing; order of evidence; timing of the submission and exchange of expert witness statements; and timing of submission and exchange of participant statements.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri