Dundas Pleasant View’s 10 Newman Rd. bought by City for $2

News Oct 05, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

The City of Hamilton closed a deal last week to purchase 10 Newman Rd. for $2, avoiding payment of any Land Transfer Tax, while keeping a settlement agreement secret and apparently not having to agree on an official value of the land.

City lawyer Paul Lawson submitted paperwork to buy the protected Pleasant View property from Marco Zwaan and Eva Voorberg on Wednesday, Sept. 30. The purchase was part of a settlement agreement with the couple after the city revoked an incorrectly issued building permit for a single-family home not permitted on the site.

A total settlement amount has not been made public. The settlement, property transfer and site restoration is funded by building permit fees.

Hamilton Community News has filed a freedom of information request for two staff reports on the settlement.

The city’s cost of demolition was greatly reduced, or eliminated, after Zwaan dismantled the building himself prior to the transfer.

Pleasant View area residents were happy to hear of the settlement in August, which also includes returning the property to its original natural state as a significant natural link between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment.

Neighbour Caroline Thomson said one day after the city acquired the property, there had not been any activity there to clean up remaining debris following the previous owner’s dismantling and removal of the structure.

“It has been very quiet over there — have not seen or heard a thing,” she said.

Thomson said she hopes the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark takes over restoration and management of 10 Newman Rd.

The city has not discussed the property’s restoration with any ecopark members, including Royal Botanical Gardens or Halton Conservation Authority.

City spokesperson Allison Jones said it is too soon for any details of plans for the site, including removal of remaining debris and fencing, and re-naturalization.

“Next steps have not been finalized. More information will be provided as it becomes available,” Jones said.

The city had no further comments on the purchase, or future plans for the property

The $2 sale may help city staff hide the actual amount paid for the property, and may also be part of an ongoing effort to keep some details of the settlement agreement itself secret, while also dealing with the challenge of actually coming up with a value for the property.

James McKeller, professor of real estate and infrastructure at York University’s Schulich School of Business, said the low price and lack of land transfer tax isn’t surprising.

He said determining a value for the property, in a traditional sense, is difficult because of the fact its zoning and planning legislation do not allow it to be developed.

On top of that, the buyer is taking on costs associated with restoring the site.

“It can’t be built on,” McKeller said. “It has a negative value. I’m not sure there is a basis for a land transfer tax, because there is no value.”

He said its only value is as a link within the Cootes to Escarpment Eco Park, and the transfer was about reaching a settlement between the city and previous owner.

“It isn’t really about the value of that parcel,” McKeller said. “It isn’t really a land deal, as such. It’s simply a legal settlement for the city’s error.”

He said, in the end, it’s good an important piece of land in an important area ends up in public hands.

When a buyer does not want the purchase price of a property disclosed, their lawyer can file transfer and tax documents in person at the Ministry of Finance tax office in Oshawa with the actual sale price, while registering the transfer and the province’s land registry for a nominal amount.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson Scott Blodget said that is not the case with the City of Hamilton’s purchase of 10 Newman Rd.

Although a tax statement was filed by the city, according to Blodget, it apparently noted the same total price paid as the transfer document filed with the registry office.

“Based on the land transfer tax statement, the property was transferred for nominal consideration and no land transfer tax was applicable or paid,” Blodgett said. “Land transfer tax was not paid to the ministry separately,”

He said no special exemption was applied to permit the nominal consideration and nonpayment of tax, but he said the transfer is permitted.

Peter Monastyrsky and Kim Finley, managers in the ministry’s Oshawa land transfer taxes office did not respond to requests for any public documents available from the 10 Newman Rd. sale.

Christine Upton, manager of business operations in the Oshawa office, directed all questions to the ministry’s media relations office in Toronto.

City of Hamilton lawyer Paul Lawson said all information on the property sale should come from the city’s communications department.

Randy Hooke of Aird Berlis in Toronto represented Zwaan and Voorberg in the sale.

“Unfortunately we are not in a position to provide any comments or direction given that the terms of the settlement are confidential,” Hooke said.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We’ve been awaiting the transfer of 10 Newman Rd. to see if sheds any light on the confidential settlement agreement between the City of Hamilton and its former owner, and the city’s plans for the property.

Dundas Pleasant View’s 10 Newman Rd. bought by City for $2

Purchase is part of confidential settlement agreement after city staff errors

News Oct 05, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

The City of Hamilton closed a deal last week to purchase 10 Newman Rd. for $2, avoiding payment of any Land Transfer Tax, while keeping a settlement agreement secret and apparently not having to agree on an official value of the land.

City lawyer Paul Lawson submitted paperwork to buy the protected Pleasant View property from Marco Zwaan and Eva Voorberg on Wednesday, Sept. 30. The purchase was part of a settlement agreement with the couple after the city revoked an incorrectly issued building permit for a single-family home not permitted on the site.

A total settlement amount has not been made public. The settlement, property transfer and site restoration is funded by building permit fees.

Hamilton Community News has filed a freedom of information request for two staff reports on the settlement.

Related Content

The city’s cost of demolition was greatly reduced, or eliminated, after Zwaan dismantled the building himself prior to the transfer.

Pleasant View area residents were happy to hear of the settlement in August, which also includes returning the property to its original natural state as a significant natural link between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment.

Neighbour Caroline Thomson said one day after the city acquired the property, there had not been any activity there to clean up remaining debris following the previous owner’s dismantling and removal of the structure.

“It has been very quiet over there — have not seen or heard a thing,” she said.

Thomson said she hopes the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark takes over restoration and management of 10 Newman Rd.

The city has not discussed the property’s restoration with any ecopark members, including Royal Botanical Gardens or Halton Conservation Authority.

City spokesperson Allison Jones said it is too soon for any details of plans for the site, including removal of remaining debris and fencing, and re-naturalization.

“Next steps have not been finalized. More information will be provided as it becomes available,” Jones said.

The city had no further comments on the purchase, or future plans for the property

The $2 sale may help city staff hide the actual amount paid for the property, and may also be part of an ongoing effort to keep some details of the settlement agreement itself secret, while also dealing with the challenge of actually coming up with a value for the property.

James McKeller, professor of real estate and infrastructure at York University’s Schulich School of Business, said the low price and lack of land transfer tax isn’t surprising.

He said determining a value for the property, in a traditional sense, is difficult because of the fact its zoning and planning legislation do not allow it to be developed.

On top of that, the buyer is taking on costs associated with restoring the site.

“It can’t be built on,” McKeller said. “It has a negative value. I’m not sure there is a basis for a land transfer tax, because there is no value.”

He said its only value is as a link within the Cootes to Escarpment Eco Park, and the transfer was about reaching a settlement between the city and previous owner.

“It isn’t really about the value of that parcel,” McKeller said. “It isn’t really a land deal, as such. It’s simply a legal settlement for the city’s error.”

He said, in the end, it’s good an important piece of land in an important area ends up in public hands.

When a buyer does not want the purchase price of a property disclosed, their lawyer can file transfer and tax documents in person at the Ministry of Finance tax office in Oshawa with the actual sale price, while registering the transfer and the province’s land registry for a nominal amount.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson Scott Blodget said that is not the case with the City of Hamilton’s purchase of 10 Newman Rd.

Although a tax statement was filed by the city, according to Blodget, it apparently noted the same total price paid as the transfer document filed with the registry office.

“Based on the land transfer tax statement, the property was transferred for nominal consideration and no land transfer tax was applicable or paid,” Blodgett said. “Land transfer tax was not paid to the ministry separately,”

He said no special exemption was applied to permit the nominal consideration and nonpayment of tax, but he said the transfer is permitted.

Peter Monastyrsky and Kim Finley, managers in the ministry’s Oshawa land transfer taxes office did not respond to requests for any public documents available from the 10 Newman Rd. sale.

Christine Upton, manager of business operations in the Oshawa office, directed all questions to the ministry’s media relations office in Toronto.

City of Hamilton lawyer Paul Lawson said all information on the property sale should come from the city’s communications department.

Randy Hooke of Aird Berlis in Toronto represented Zwaan and Voorberg in the sale.

“Unfortunately we are not in a position to provide any comments or direction given that the terms of the settlement are confidential,” Hooke said.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We’ve been awaiting the transfer of 10 Newman Rd. to see if sheds any light on the confidential settlement agreement between the City of Hamilton and its former owner, and the city’s plans for the property.

Dundas Pleasant View’s 10 Newman Rd. bought by City for $2

Purchase is part of confidential settlement agreement after city staff errors

News Oct 05, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

The City of Hamilton closed a deal last week to purchase 10 Newman Rd. for $2, avoiding payment of any Land Transfer Tax, while keeping a settlement agreement secret and apparently not having to agree on an official value of the land.

City lawyer Paul Lawson submitted paperwork to buy the protected Pleasant View property from Marco Zwaan and Eva Voorberg on Wednesday, Sept. 30. The purchase was part of a settlement agreement with the couple after the city revoked an incorrectly issued building permit for a single-family home not permitted on the site.

A total settlement amount has not been made public. The settlement, property transfer and site restoration is funded by building permit fees.

Hamilton Community News has filed a freedom of information request for two staff reports on the settlement.

Related Content

The city’s cost of demolition was greatly reduced, or eliminated, after Zwaan dismantled the building himself prior to the transfer.

Pleasant View area residents were happy to hear of the settlement in August, which also includes returning the property to its original natural state as a significant natural link between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment.

Neighbour Caroline Thomson said one day after the city acquired the property, there had not been any activity there to clean up remaining debris following the previous owner’s dismantling and removal of the structure.

“It has been very quiet over there — have not seen or heard a thing,” she said.

Thomson said she hopes the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark takes over restoration and management of 10 Newman Rd.

The city has not discussed the property’s restoration with any ecopark members, including Royal Botanical Gardens or Halton Conservation Authority.

City spokesperson Allison Jones said it is too soon for any details of plans for the site, including removal of remaining debris and fencing, and re-naturalization.

“Next steps have not been finalized. More information will be provided as it becomes available,” Jones said.

The city had no further comments on the purchase, or future plans for the property

The $2 sale may help city staff hide the actual amount paid for the property, and may also be part of an ongoing effort to keep some details of the settlement agreement itself secret, while also dealing with the challenge of actually coming up with a value for the property.

James McKeller, professor of real estate and infrastructure at York University’s Schulich School of Business, said the low price and lack of land transfer tax isn’t surprising.

He said determining a value for the property, in a traditional sense, is difficult because of the fact its zoning and planning legislation do not allow it to be developed.

On top of that, the buyer is taking on costs associated with restoring the site.

“It can’t be built on,” McKeller said. “It has a negative value. I’m not sure there is a basis for a land transfer tax, because there is no value.”

He said its only value is as a link within the Cootes to Escarpment Eco Park, and the transfer was about reaching a settlement between the city and previous owner.

“It isn’t really about the value of that parcel,” McKeller said. “It isn’t really a land deal, as such. It’s simply a legal settlement for the city’s error.”

He said, in the end, it’s good an important piece of land in an important area ends up in public hands.

When a buyer does not want the purchase price of a property disclosed, their lawyer can file transfer and tax documents in person at the Ministry of Finance tax office in Oshawa with the actual sale price, while registering the transfer and the province’s land registry for a nominal amount.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson Scott Blodget said that is not the case with the City of Hamilton’s purchase of 10 Newman Rd.

Although a tax statement was filed by the city, according to Blodget, it apparently noted the same total price paid as the transfer document filed with the registry office.

“Based on the land transfer tax statement, the property was transferred for nominal consideration and no land transfer tax was applicable or paid,” Blodgett said. “Land transfer tax was not paid to the ministry separately,”

He said no special exemption was applied to permit the nominal consideration and nonpayment of tax, but he said the transfer is permitted.

Peter Monastyrsky and Kim Finley, managers in the ministry’s Oshawa land transfer taxes office did not respond to requests for any public documents available from the 10 Newman Rd. sale.

Christine Upton, manager of business operations in the Oshawa office, directed all questions to the ministry’s media relations office in Toronto.

City of Hamilton lawyer Paul Lawson said all information on the property sale should come from the city’s communications department.

Randy Hooke of Aird Berlis in Toronto represented Zwaan and Voorberg in the sale.

“Unfortunately we are not in a position to provide any comments or direction given that the terms of the settlement are confidential,” Hooke said.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We’ve been awaiting the transfer of 10 Newman Rd. to see if sheds any light on the confidential settlement agreement between the City of Hamilton and its former owner, and the city’s plans for the property.