OMB appeals dispute Hamilton's rural zoning bylaw

News Sep 03, 2015 by Mac Christie Flamborough Review

Fourteen appeals have been filed to the Ontario Municipal Board in response to Hamilton city council’s Official Plan Amendment and Rural Zoning Bylaw.

The legislation, which was passed at the city’s planning committee July 7 and ratified by council July 10, aims to standardize the city’s bylaws in all rural wards and bring them in line with various provincial acts.

The plan also includes an amendment that would grandfather landscaping businesses operating on rural land – provided they were in operation prior to Aug. 31 – regardless of the new zoning regulations.

Ward 15 councillor and planning committee chairperson Judi Partridge noted one appeal addresses the landscaping amendment, while many of the appeals deal with specific properties.

John Bennett, the spokesperson for the Coalition for Rural Ontario Environmental Protection (CROP), a group with concerns about the grandfathering of landscapers, told the Review the group has filed an appeal to the OMB.

“There’s really no tools left to us, but to file,” he said. “As far as I can see, the political decision has been made and is going to go forward.

“If we disagree with that, realistically, the only way to address it is...provincial oversight.”

Bennett said while the group is open to having discussions with the city to reach a solution, none have been had. “Realistically, I think trying to come to an agreement in the absence of provincial participation is not necessarily the best way to go,” he said. “I think the province is very clear as to why they have Greenbelt legislation and any agreement would probably be better off made with the province’s participation, which is why the OMB is involved.”

Partridge noted the city’s next step is to set a hearing date with the OMB.

“I did speak with our legal team, they’re looking to meet with the OMB, hopefully later this fall, to get some hearing dates, “she said. “We’re anticipating the hearing dates will be into 2016.”

She added there will be an information report with timing details coming forward at a September or October planning meeting.

CROP’s viewpoint is that the Greenbelt legislation was put into place to protect agricultural land. “I think council’s decision was attempting to end run around that,” Bennett said. “We moved into the Greenbelt area because of the land protection that it offered and to change that I think...basically, it pulls the rug out from under people that have moved there for specific reasons.”

He noted city staff said the landscaping amendment is not in compliance with the Greenbelt Act.

At the July 7 meeting, the city’s director of planning Steve Robichaud said the planning department does not support the amendment.

“We feel it is contrary to the intent of the Greenbelt Plan,” he said at the meeting. “In the event that (the exemption) is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, legal services will be required to obtain outside planning consultants to defend that site-specific provision.”

Bennett said he would like to see the rural zoning bylaw in compliance with the Greenbelt legislation.

“The Greenbelt is really considered one of the strongest environmental protection legislations in the world,” Bennett said. “It’s not something that we should be overturning lightly. If (a business is) in violation of the Greenbelt Act, they would probably have to locate where they’re not in violation.”

Flamborough Chamber of Commerce executive director Arend Kersten said CROP has the right to appeal their decision.

He added that a number of businesses have also appealed the rural zoning bylaw.

Kersten noted some of the changes enacted as a result of the new rural zoning bylaw are problematic.

“It’s really troublesome...when people have certain zonings on their property that allow them to do various things with multi-uses and then the city comes along unilaterally...and they say, ‘We’re going to take some of those uses away,’” he said.

“That affects the value of a property.”

Kersten noted the city is arguing their hands are tied by the Greenbelt Act and other provincial policy statements. He added the city is facing some serious fiscal challenges.

“The only answer to addressing the fiscal challenges the city is facing is more industrial and commercial investment,” he said. “You’ve got to be welcoming to the investment community to create new taxes and create new jobs.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re a business-friendly jurisdiction.”

Partridge noted establishing the rural zoning bylaw was a two-and-a-half year process, adding she’s very pleased a number of landscaping businesses have come forward to be included in the grandfathering clause.

“I’m a bit surprised that there are still so many more landscaping operations out there that have not come forward,” she said, noting the Aug. 31 deadline has now passed. “Basically, if they’re not registered with the city to be included in that bylaw, and many of them are not, they are not going to be allowed to stay and operate.”

OMB appeals dispute Hamilton's rural zoning bylaw

News Sep 03, 2015 by Mac Christie Flamborough Review

Fourteen appeals have been filed to the Ontario Municipal Board in response to Hamilton city council’s Official Plan Amendment and Rural Zoning Bylaw.

The legislation, which was passed at the city’s planning committee July 7 and ratified by council July 10, aims to standardize the city’s bylaws in all rural wards and bring them in line with various provincial acts.

The plan also includes an amendment that would grandfather landscaping businesses operating on rural land – provided they were in operation prior to Aug. 31 – regardless of the new zoning regulations.

Ward 15 councillor and planning committee chairperson Judi Partridge noted one appeal addresses the landscaping amendment, while many of the appeals deal with specific properties.

You’ve got to be welcoming to the investment community to create new jobs.

John Bennett, the spokesperson for the Coalition for Rural Ontario Environmental Protection (CROP), a group with concerns about the grandfathering of landscapers, told the Review the group has filed an appeal to the OMB.

“There’s really no tools left to us, but to file,” he said. “As far as I can see, the political decision has been made and is going to go forward.

“If we disagree with that, realistically, the only way to address it is...provincial oversight.”

Bennett said while the group is open to having discussions with the city to reach a solution, none have been had. “Realistically, I think trying to come to an agreement in the absence of provincial participation is not necessarily the best way to go,” he said. “I think the province is very clear as to why they have Greenbelt legislation and any agreement would probably be better off made with the province’s participation, which is why the OMB is involved.”

Partridge noted the city’s next step is to set a hearing date with the OMB.

“I did speak with our legal team, they’re looking to meet with the OMB, hopefully later this fall, to get some hearing dates, “she said. “We’re anticipating the hearing dates will be into 2016.”

She added there will be an information report with timing details coming forward at a September or October planning meeting.

CROP’s viewpoint is that the Greenbelt legislation was put into place to protect agricultural land. “I think council’s decision was attempting to end run around that,” Bennett said. “We moved into the Greenbelt area because of the land protection that it offered and to change that I think...basically, it pulls the rug out from under people that have moved there for specific reasons.”

He noted city staff said the landscaping amendment is not in compliance with the Greenbelt Act.

At the July 7 meeting, the city’s director of planning Steve Robichaud said the planning department does not support the amendment.

“We feel it is contrary to the intent of the Greenbelt Plan,” he said at the meeting. “In the event that (the exemption) is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, legal services will be required to obtain outside planning consultants to defend that site-specific provision.”

Bennett said he would like to see the rural zoning bylaw in compliance with the Greenbelt legislation.

“The Greenbelt is really considered one of the strongest environmental protection legislations in the world,” Bennett said. “It’s not something that we should be overturning lightly. If (a business is) in violation of the Greenbelt Act, they would probably have to locate where they’re not in violation.”

Flamborough Chamber of Commerce executive director Arend Kersten said CROP has the right to appeal their decision.

He added that a number of businesses have also appealed the rural zoning bylaw.

Kersten noted some of the changes enacted as a result of the new rural zoning bylaw are problematic.

“It’s really troublesome...when people have certain zonings on their property that allow them to do various things with multi-uses and then the city comes along unilaterally...and they say, ‘We’re going to take some of those uses away,’” he said.

“That affects the value of a property.”

Kersten noted the city is arguing their hands are tied by the Greenbelt Act and other provincial policy statements. He added the city is facing some serious fiscal challenges.

“The only answer to addressing the fiscal challenges the city is facing is more industrial and commercial investment,” he said. “You’ve got to be welcoming to the investment community to create new taxes and create new jobs.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re a business-friendly jurisdiction.”

Partridge noted establishing the rural zoning bylaw was a two-and-a-half year process, adding she’s very pleased a number of landscaping businesses have come forward to be included in the grandfathering clause.

“I’m a bit surprised that there are still so many more landscaping operations out there that have not come forward,” she said, noting the Aug. 31 deadline has now passed. “Basically, if they’re not registered with the city to be included in that bylaw, and many of them are not, they are not going to be allowed to stay and operate.”

OMB appeals dispute Hamilton's rural zoning bylaw

News Sep 03, 2015 by Mac Christie Flamborough Review

Fourteen appeals have been filed to the Ontario Municipal Board in response to Hamilton city council’s Official Plan Amendment and Rural Zoning Bylaw.

The legislation, which was passed at the city’s planning committee July 7 and ratified by council July 10, aims to standardize the city’s bylaws in all rural wards and bring them in line with various provincial acts.

The plan also includes an amendment that would grandfather landscaping businesses operating on rural land – provided they were in operation prior to Aug. 31 – regardless of the new zoning regulations.

Ward 15 councillor and planning committee chairperson Judi Partridge noted one appeal addresses the landscaping amendment, while many of the appeals deal with specific properties.

You’ve got to be welcoming to the investment community to create new jobs.

John Bennett, the spokesperson for the Coalition for Rural Ontario Environmental Protection (CROP), a group with concerns about the grandfathering of landscapers, told the Review the group has filed an appeal to the OMB.

“There’s really no tools left to us, but to file,” he said. “As far as I can see, the political decision has been made and is going to go forward.

“If we disagree with that, realistically, the only way to address it is...provincial oversight.”

Bennett said while the group is open to having discussions with the city to reach a solution, none have been had. “Realistically, I think trying to come to an agreement in the absence of provincial participation is not necessarily the best way to go,” he said. “I think the province is very clear as to why they have Greenbelt legislation and any agreement would probably be better off made with the province’s participation, which is why the OMB is involved.”

Partridge noted the city’s next step is to set a hearing date with the OMB.

“I did speak with our legal team, they’re looking to meet with the OMB, hopefully later this fall, to get some hearing dates, “she said. “We’re anticipating the hearing dates will be into 2016.”

She added there will be an information report with timing details coming forward at a September or October planning meeting.

CROP’s viewpoint is that the Greenbelt legislation was put into place to protect agricultural land. “I think council’s decision was attempting to end run around that,” Bennett said. “We moved into the Greenbelt area because of the land protection that it offered and to change that I think...basically, it pulls the rug out from under people that have moved there for specific reasons.”

He noted city staff said the landscaping amendment is not in compliance with the Greenbelt Act.

At the July 7 meeting, the city’s director of planning Steve Robichaud said the planning department does not support the amendment.

“We feel it is contrary to the intent of the Greenbelt Plan,” he said at the meeting. “In the event that (the exemption) is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, legal services will be required to obtain outside planning consultants to defend that site-specific provision.”

Bennett said he would like to see the rural zoning bylaw in compliance with the Greenbelt legislation.

“The Greenbelt is really considered one of the strongest environmental protection legislations in the world,” Bennett said. “It’s not something that we should be overturning lightly. If (a business is) in violation of the Greenbelt Act, they would probably have to locate where they’re not in violation.”

Flamborough Chamber of Commerce executive director Arend Kersten said CROP has the right to appeal their decision.

He added that a number of businesses have also appealed the rural zoning bylaw.

Kersten noted some of the changes enacted as a result of the new rural zoning bylaw are problematic.

“It’s really troublesome...when people have certain zonings on their property that allow them to do various things with multi-uses and then the city comes along unilaterally...and they say, ‘We’re going to take some of those uses away,’” he said.

“That affects the value of a property.”

Kersten noted the city is arguing their hands are tied by the Greenbelt Act and other provincial policy statements. He added the city is facing some serious fiscal challenges.

“The only answer to addressing the fiscal challenges the city is facing is more industrial and commercial investment,” he said. “You’ve got to be welcoming to the investment community to create new taxes and create new jobs.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re a business-friendly jurisdiction.”

Partridge noted establishing the rural zoning bylaw was a two-and-a-half year process, adding she’s very pleased a number of landscaping businesses have come forward to be included in the grandfathering clause.

“I’m a bit surprised that there are still so many more landscaping operations out there that have not come forward,” she said, noting the Aug. 31 deadline has now passed. “Basically, if they’re not registered with the city to be included in that bylaw, and many of them are not, they are not going to be allowed to stay and operate.”