Update on Tay Valley OMB decision

April 18, 2018 by

Tay Valley LogoFollowing the OMB decision made on April 9th involving Tay Valley Township, Lake 88 followed up with the owners of the land in question and the Township.

According to Aurel Simaurd, the husband of the registered landowner, he had researched the applicable zoning and planning restriction applicable to the property in question carefully before making the purchase.

“Just to be sure I had an investigation done by an independent professional local planner,  and she confirmed everything we thought – that the property was
a residential building lot – that would support our plan to build a single-family retirement home,” said Simaurd in an interview with Lake 88.  “Here we are six years later and the frustrations of dealing with the township and Rideau Valley Conservation was unbelievable.”

Yet according to Tay Valley CAO Larry Donaldson, there were no delays on the part of the township in dealing with the application for a site plan approval on the four-acre McCann property on Farren Lake.

“Two years had elapsed between the time the application for rezoning was submitted (April 3, 2014) and the appeal by the applicant to the OMB (July 11, 2016) and in those two years, the applicant had gone silent on the file for over a year and a half,” said Donaldson in an email to Lake 88.

According to the OMB decision “when the Township failed to make a decision on her application in the time prescribed for site plan approval, she [McCann] appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.”

The owner also told Lake 88 that they had submitted several design plans to the township.

“We came up with four design plans trying to resolve things, but we were never getting anywhere,” said Simaurd.

McCann and Simaurd were proposing to build a  2,700 sq foot single family home, the township according to Simaurd and the OMB, came back with designs for a 1,200 sq foot single-story, or 2,400 sq foot two-storey dwelling.

“In seeking to substitute Ms. McCann’s site plan for its own version, with a smaller dwelling, the Township is in effect attempting to require a reduced density,” says the OMB decision.

According to Donaldson that’s also not true.

“The Township did not seek to substitute “it’s own version”.  The Township presented the version the McCann’s presented to Council when they sought the Zoning By-law Amendment.  The Township did not attempt reduced density – we proposed a second-storey to the building, which represents increased density.  The Township proposed a smaller footprint to reduce the environmental impact on the most sensitive lake in the Township according to MOECC’s Lake Capacity Handbook analysis” wrote Donaldson.

On the basis of that sensitivity the township tried to impose a set back from the wetland on the property (not the lake). However the OMB decision disputes the environmental sensitivity of the swamp on that property as the owners undertook three environmental assessment and two bio-diversity studies, which came up with varying setback requirements based on their findings.

“I disagree with the Township’s contention that site plan approval is the appropriate stage to establish a setback from the wetland. Such a setback amounts to a prohibition on any possible encroachment on a wetland that is not provincially significant and not identified as having any local or site-specific significance through either designation in the County Official Plan, the Township Official Plan or the zoning by-law,” wrote Michel Bellemare, lawyer and Tribunal member in the decision.

In response, Donaldson, sites the three EA’s and biodiversity studies undertaken by the owners at their won expense but argues that, “The wetland had not been identified as provincially significant in the mapping layer provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests (MNRF)and therefore was not designated as PPS in the County or Township Official Plan.  However, the wetland was identified as having ecological value as early as 2008 by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) undertaken at the request of the RVCA in order to assess the impact of moving a road through the lot to the rear of the lot.”

Although Donaldson has a confident response to every one of the OMB’s statements in its decision in favour of the owners site plan agreement he says the township accepts the decision.

“The Board/Tribunal is the dispute resolution mechanism in land use planning matters in the Province. Both parties put their positions forward to the Board/Tribunal. The Board/Tribunal has now made a decision and therefore the Township accepts it,” wrote Donaldson.

According to the CAO the township has no other cases in front of the tribunal at this time.

“The last OMB hearing involving Tay Valley was approximately 15 years ago,” said Donaldson.