By Kevin Werner, News Staff
The first hearing in the long-running Ontario Municipal Board appeals against Hamilton’s urban Official Plan is scheduled to begin this June.
But it could take until early next year before the OMB ultimately makes the final decision on the multiple appeals residents and corporations have launched against the comprehensive document. One of the more issue-driven appeals may not begin until February 2014.
In a pre-hearing held Jan. 10 at the Hamilton Convention Centre, the city agreed to settlement claims with three parties. Two of the changes that involved changes to the document’s text, while the third settlement involved reworking the map to accommodate environmentally sensitive land at13 Mud Street. The parties involved were Hamilton Mountain Developments, Confederation Park Shopping Centres, and Landmart.
Another pre-hearing is scheduled for April 11 where the numerous applicants, participants and parties are required to establish a final issues list. The issues, outlined in a 107-page document involve natural heritage, land-use designation, employment land conversion, residential intensification, drive-thrus,Elfrida and Twenty Road lands, transportation, and the Airport Employment Growth District.
OMB vice-chair Susan de Avellar Schiller, who has been presiding over this complex hearing, urged the applicants to identify the issues prior to the April pre-hearing.
The city had collected the issues made by the 19 groups.
Complicating and already difficult urban Official Plan hearing is the Airport Employment Growth District OMB hearing which involves groups who are concerned about the residential intensification and the Elfrida and Twenty Road lands boundary expansion. The decisions made by the AEGD OMB will have a direct impact on those groups’ appeals, which include Paletta International, Twenty Road East land owners, andand Twenty Road West land owners, Silvestri, Freeland Developments, Multi-Area Development and DiCenzo Construction Company, among others.
The AEGA OMB phase two hearing begins Jan. 14 at the Hamilton Convention Centre, and is scheduled for three weeks.
Hamiltonbegan updating its Official Plan in 2003, which was to also incorporate the new municipalities’ lands acquired through amalgamation. The rural Official Plan was completed in 2006, but it has been at the OMB since. The urban Official Plan was completed in 2009. The Ministry approved the document, with some changes, in 2011. But the document was soon challenged by various residents, and development corporations.