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Empire Homes, Juch-Tech at odds over upper Stoney Creek development

By Kevin Werner, News staff

Hamilton politicians have given the green light for Empire Homes to expand its residential development footprint within upper Stoney Creek.

Four years after councillors approved a 423-unit residential development on 23 hectares of land at the corner of Green Mountain Road and First Road West, politicians agreed earlier this month to an additional 300-residential units abutting a Hamilton telecommunications business that over the years has objected to the project’s goals.

Problems still persist with Hamilton Teleport, the developer’s neighbour, and Empire Homes after a 2010 Ontario Municipal Board hearing imposed a series of conditions Empire Homes was expected to follow.

Walt Juchniewicz, president and chief executive officer of Juch-Tech Inc., said during a recent planning committee meeting his Stoney Creek telecommunications business has suffered damage because of Empire Homes’ blasting into the escarpment to build its first subdivision project, at a cost of about $57,000. There were also orders issued by the OMB to install a fence, and establish a minimum setback to protect the company from further damage.

“We have incurred damaged cables and fibers,” said Juchniewicz.

He said by allowing a new subdivision at the northwest corner of First Road West and Green Mountain Road, there will be increased concerns about safety, vibrations from potential blasting, and widening issues on First Road and Green Mountain Road. Juch-Tech officials reiterated their criticism that Empire Homes had dragged its feet to install the necessary fencing, as required under the OMB decision.

Juch-Tech, which has satellite dishes on Green Mountain Road, obtained an injunction a few years ago against Empire Homes to prevent the blasting into the escarpment. Juchniewicz said at the time he was unaware blasting was needed by the developer for the development.

Empire Homes, though, disputed during the July 8 planning meeting, any responsibility for blasting damage at Juch-Tech or meeting the OMB orders. Steven Armstrong, representing Empire Homes, said the company did not agree to pay for damages at Juch-Tech. And the company has followed the requirements to monitor and protect its neighbour’s interests.

“We have a long-term investment,” said Armstrong. “We try to be good neighbours. We are prepared to meet with Juch-Tech again.”

Over the next few years, there is a projection that over 2,000 homes will be constructed within the Green Mountain Road and Centennial Parkway area.

Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark, who has attempted to mediate the issues between Juch-Tech and Empire Homes over the years, expressed his concern about the ongoing disagreement that is happening.

“I’m profoundly disappointed it is continuing,” he said. “I can’t go backwards. I can go forwards.”

Councillors approved a series of 52 conditions on Empire’s draft plan subdivision plan that addressed Juch-Tech and the city’s concerns concentrating on security, fencing, grading, monitoring of rock removal, and vibrations. Some of those concerns include widening Green Mountain Road and First Road West; acquiring lands for roundabouts on First Road West and Green Mountain Road; providing a ground water study; constructing, operating and maintain a stormwater management facility; submitting a “rock removal protocol” and vibration monitoring plan and paying the costs associated with the monitoring during any blasting and removal of rock for Hamilton Teleport. Empire must install a 1.8-meter chain link fence and ensure that potential residents of the development are advised about the nearby telecommunications company and issues with its transmissions on electronic equipment.

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