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Councillor - Town of Blue Mountains

Telfer Homes v. Town of the Blue Mountains

January 29th, 2013

Ontario Municipal Board
Re: OMB File PL120712: Teller Homes v. Town of the Blue Mountains

My name is Michael Seguin and I’m here to speak to the Board in my capacity as President of the Blue Mountain Ratepayers’ Association.

I have provided the Board a brief letter dated January 14th, 2013 outlining the Association’s concerns regarding the nature of the process and the Town negotiating a deal with the applicant with no further public input. The fact that we are here today and the Napier-Victoria Resident’s Group is allowed to address the Board is a very important step in providing a more open and transparent process. I want to thank both the Board and the Town for allowing this to happen.

As a follow-up to my letter, I would like to add a few more comments and state that the Association fully supports the Napier-Victoria Resident’s Group in their opposition to this proposed “Adult Lifestyle Village” by Telfer Homes Inc.

While the Resident’s Group is a local group that is directly impacted by this proposed development, I would like to inform the Board that our Association is a Town-wide membership based organization reaching out to over 1,500 taxpayers throughout the Town in the form of family (260) and condo memberships (10).

Almost 30% of our family membership base resides in and around the village of Thornbury and there are a number of family memberships located in the area that will be impacted by the proposed Telfer Homes Development.

Part of the BMRA Mission statement is that “The Association strives to promote responsible government…. and responsible land development…”. In our role of monitoring and reporting on local planning and development issues, we agree with the Groups’ concerns regarding the above-referenced application.

Our knowledge of these concerns is based on me attending almost every Group Meeting and all Public Town Planning and Council Meetings. The Board of Directors for the Association has also authorized me to speak to the Board on behalf of our membership, which has been kept informed of this controversial and high profile development on a regular basis by various articles published in 5 issues of our quarterly Newsletter “The View from Blue” since December 2010.

I want to state very clearly, and emphasize, that the Blue Mountain Ratepayers’ Association is not against growth and “good land use planning”.

The Association’s opposition is based primarily on two concerns: (1) that the proposed “Adult Lifestyle Village” is a specialized, self-contained development concept that is unprecedented and inconsistent with the character of the Thornbury Urban Community, as per our Official Plan (Section 4.27) and (2) that the planning policies and regulations needed to guide development for the area in question are very vague or non-existent. Numerous issues concerning street patterns, traffic, parking, public amenities, local infrastructure, etc. remain unresolved, and a large development of this nature is premature in an area, which has no specific criteria in place that officials of this town can state that “this proposal represents good land use planning”.

The Association is concerned that allowing this large scale “silo” type of development to proceed is not what we call “responsible community development” and certainly cannot be considered as an appropriate way of “planning a community”. It’s what we would call an unclear vision and lack of good land use planning by this Town.

By deferring this development, this is not a statement that says “we are not open for development in our community”. No – it’s one that says that we have a lot of respect for the character of our town and want to plan it in such a way that both present and future residents can visualize and feel it as a “sense of place” – the general theme of our existing Official Plan.

The Association supports of the Resident’s Group and “good land use planning” by way of a more comprehensive Community Plan or Secondary Plan. Can the Town’s planning expert say that this development represents “good land use planning in our community?”