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Councillor - Town of Blue Mountains

Telfer Presentation to the Planning Committee

BMRA wants more responsible land use planning and development

(I attended a Statutory Public Meeting on January 16th, 2012 regarding a new Telfer proposal called the “Thornbury Meadows Adult Lifestyle Community”. Attached below is my written statement to the Planning and Building Committee on behalf of the ratepayers in the community.)

The Blue Mountain Ratepayers’ Association is a membership based organization and there are a number of family memberships located within the Napier-Victoria neighbourhood and within close proximity of this neighbourhood.

Part of our Mission statement is that “The Association strives to promote responsible government… and responsible land development…”.

As President of the Association, I’m not questioning the owner’s “adult lifestyle” concept and whether it’s a viable one that has merit in these market conditions and in the community of Thornbury. This high density residential land-lease proposal is obviously unique but comes with certain “development risks” – not only to the developer but also to the Town and ultimately the taxpayers. The neighbourhood residential group has outlined a number of these concerns regarding maintenance responsibilities and ratepayer protection and it is important that everyone on the committee and staff carefully review them before making any decision on this proposal.

Our major concern is that this development is an isolated or self-contained one that provides no connectivity to the surrounding vacant lands as well as the surrounding improved low density residential lands. Allowing this development to proceed is not what we can call “community development” and certainly cannot be considered as an appropriate way of “planning a community”.

Deferring a development like this one, is not a statement that “we are not open for development business”. 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 theme of the existing Official Plan.

I request that you consider deferring this development until a more comprehensive Community Plan or Secondary Plan can be designed. This will ensure that all issues relating to transportation, servicing, parkland and open space, land use, phasing and environmental protection are dealt with in the area at one time – not in isolation or over long periods of time. If the developer of this proposal has any interest in our community other than profits, then you should invite him to the table to help with the process of developing a Community Plan for the area.

Remember, should you decide to allow this proposal to proceed, then you must be prepared to support the statement “that this proposal represents good land use planning”.