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Proposal making second trip to OMB

By Craig Campbell, News Staff

A proposed York Road residential development is headed back to the Ontario Municipal Board for its second hearing in less than two years.

Recchia Developments expects to call two land-use planners and one architect to testify during an estimated three-day hearing in its appeal of Hamilton city council’s denial of a zoning amendment for six semi-detached buildings.

The development, located at 231 York Rd. includes 12-units. No hearing date has been scheduled.

A previous OMB statement about planning policy at the same address sparked city councillors to reject the second development proposal despite support from city planning staff.

Councillor Brad Clark suggested a March 6, 2013, OMB written decision on the applicant’s previous appeal appears to give specific guidance that wasn’t followed in the updated application.

“From my experience, when dealing with OMB decisions, they generally provide cues to staff. I’m trying to reconcile what the hearing officer is supporting and what (the applicant and city staff) is proposing,” Clark said at an early April planning committee meeting. “To the layperson, it looks like we’re ignoring the OMB.”

The original Recchia Developments proposal for 18 townhouses went to the appeal body last year after city planning staff failed to issue a decision within a legislated time period.

Staff said the original proposal did not comply with the intent of the Town of Dundas official plan and was too intense to fit into the surrounding residential area. The application was never brought to a public meeting, and Recchia appealed the lack of decision.

Ontario Municipal Board hearing officer Colin Hefferon found the designation or planned function of that area of York Road is single-family homes. Clark and other councillors said they could not support the second proposal, despite a decrease in density to 12 semi-detached units, because it didn’t follow the OMB ruling of the area being planned for only single-family homes.

The application was denied 5-4 at the planning committee. The decision was ratified by full city council on April 9.

According to the appeal filed on behalf of Recchia Developments Inc. by lawyer Nancy Smith, “The project is consistent with provincial policy, helps implement growth plan intensification goals, conforms to relevant official plan policy and achieves an appropriate balance between intensification and compatibility objectives.”

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