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Published on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

OMB approves Saw-Whet development

Developer yielded on all issues posed by Town, Region, & Conservation

OMB approves Saw-Whet development
Revised plans for Saw-Whet development
Settlement saves 24% of Saw-Whet as green space and parks. Overall, 83% of Merton Lands is saved as a result.
By Nathan Howes, Oakville Beaver

The fate of the former Saw-Whet Golf Course was officially sealed by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) recently – favouring the developer’s application and its agreement with the Town of Oakville for the property at 1401 Bronte Rd.

The OMB’s decision — what amounted to the OMB’s stamp of approval on a settlement reached between the Town and Bronte Green Corporation some time ago — was issued Wednesday, June 21.

It will allow Bronte Green Corporation to move forward with building a residential community with limited retail, and a mix of single-family homes, townhouses and low-rise apartments located on the Bronte Road lands.

The application was submitted to the Town in March 2014 and Bronte Green appealed the matter to the OMB in October 2014, citing the Town’s failure to deliver a timely decision.

The board’s decision modifies the Town’s Official Plan and approves a revision for the subject property, as well as the Bronte Road West lands (situated at 1300, 1316, 1326, 1342, 1350, 1354 and 1372 Bronte Rd.)

The board also amended the Town’s Zoning Bylaw, and as revised, approved the adjusted zoning bylaw for the property.

This amendment includes the adjacent lands being acquired by Bronte Green.

“The board conducts an independent review and basis its decision on the evidence presented, and in this circumstance, cannot blindly ignore the professional expert evidence, which was provided,” stated J. V. Zuidema, OMB vice-chair, who presided over the case, in her decision.

The board’s approval ratified a negotiated settlement reached by the Town and Bronte Green over the development application in November 2016.

The developers revised plan for the subdivision showed 164 townhouses, 443 detached homes and 574 condominium units, for a total of 1,181 residences – more than the original number of residences proposed, which was well under 1,000.

The condominium units will be housed within low-rise apartment buildings between four-to-six storeys in height located on Bronte Road.

The plan also notes this development will take up 54.79 hectares, virtually the entire property.

The deal also included significant concessions from Bronte Green to respond to concerns raised by the Town and the public.

Besides the residential units 5.85 hectares of green space has been set aside and will become part of the Natural Heritage System; 2.50 hectares will be used for parks and urban squares; 4.24 hectares will be used as a woodlands enhancement area and there will be a .72 hectare of open space.

The revised plan represents a significant change from the original proposal for the property by protecting more than 10 hectares of green space and addressing key environmental concerns over wildlife protection.

The modifications include 4.25 hectares more than the original plan.

This proposed transit-friendly community would also include a school, parks and a trail system, while preserving sensitive environmental lands that are critical habitat to endangered and other species of wildlife.

The Town registered dozens of issues with the OMB, focusing on restricting the development to what fits the community and the environment.

The developer presented a settlement offer on a confidential basis in which it compromised on all issues.

Oakville councillor ‘baffled’ by agreement

On Tuesday, July 4, Ward 4 Regional & Town Councillor Allan Elgar told the Oakville Beaver the Town’s deal with Bronte Green “baffles me” because the developer got approval to build more units than originally requested.

“What I hope becomes clear to the public is that the OMB ruling regarding Saw-Whet is simply a rubber stamp of what the Town and the developer had already negotiated,” said Elgar.

“On top of that, Oakville had already met its growth forecasts to 2031 without Saw-Whet.”

At the time of the settlement between the Town and Bronte Green, in November, Elgar spoke out against Council’s process on the application, including a May 16 Planning and Development (P&D) meeting with an unannounced OMB Verbal Update on the agenda, which was voted on at the meeting.

He emailed constituents in late November, noting a Town decision was made May 16, behind closed doors.

“There was no advance notice that Saw-Whet was the file being updated, (which) usually includes the file name on the agenda,” Elgar wrote in the email.

“More importantly, there was no advance notice there could be a motion relating to Saw-Whet’s fate.”

While Town council’s vote on Saw-Whet was done behind closed doors, Regional council voted on the development in public, Elgar said Tuesday.

Along with Ward 1 Regional & Town Councillor Sean O'Meara, Elgar voted against it – the only two Oakville councillors to do so at Regional council.

Halton Region Chair Gary Carr and Ward 2 Burlington Councillor Marianne Meed Ward also voted against the settlement.

The Town hasn’t publicly commented on the recent OMB ruling, but a statement from Mayor Rob Burton’s office Tuesday said the OMB approval “just confirms” the November deal by both parties, so there was no new information contained in the decision, which is why the Town didn’t issue a news release.

The full document containing OMB’s decision on the Saw-Whet Golf Course can be viewed online at www.oakville.ca/business/da-8844.html.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: Ontario Municipal Board , Saw-Whet Golf Course

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