Owner calls on province to buy Pleasantview land

News Jul 15, 2010 Dundas Star News

A Pleasantview property owner says the province should buy land it is adding to the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area.

Joe Mattiaci of Bella Court Developments, owner of nearly 100 acres of land in the rural northeast corner of Dundas, was part of a group of property owners who applied for amendments to permit a 760-unit residential development in Pleasantview.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs rejected the Parkway Belt West Plan amendment application last month, but Mattiaci was particularly disappointed with the announcement of a Ministry of Natural Resources order to place the properties surrounding York and Valley Roads into the development restrictive planning area overseen by the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

In a written statement released last week, Mattiaci described the announcement as “a major shift in provincial policy affecting our lands” and suggested the government failed to consult the property owners affected.

“If indeed it appears the province wishes to now remove development rights that we were aware of when we bought the property and have determined that there is overwhelming public interest in our lands, we would fully expect this interest be reflected in a commitment from the government toward purchase and/or compensation which reflects the level of interest they have in the property,” Mattiaci states.

He also states the affected landowners “will of course be consulting professionals and legal counsel to determine (our) next step in the process.”

When local Member of Provincial Parliament Ted McMeekin received a copy of the statement form Mattiaci, he responded by cancelling a meeting with the property owner and planning consultant Ed Fothergill.

McMeekin said the statement appeared to include a threat of possible legal action against the government, and as a member of that government, has a responsibility not to “arm the opponent” and therefore will not meet with Mattiaci.

“I understand he’s frustrated,” McMeekin said. “He has time and money invested.”

But the politician questioned parts of the property owner’s statement, regarding consultation and development rights.

McMeekin pointed out the proposal to add Pleasantview to the NEC planning area was made in May 2007, followed by a monthlong commenting period. He also noted that the long process of making the proposal law attracted attention from the public and media.

He referred to a 1995 Ontario Municipal Board decision which limits development in the area to one unit per 25 acres –or roughly eight units within the area previously proposed for 760. McMeekin said the property owners applied for several amendments –at the municipal and provincial levels –to make their proposal possible, but did not get support for the required changes.

“He didn’t have permissions in place for this development,” McMeekin said. “There is a process. Every time you apply for something that can’t go there, you’re not compensated for it.”

When asked about the idea of the province buying the land from owners facing new development controls after the NEC formalizes land use designations for the properties, McMeekin said nothing is off the table but suggested legal action was not a good way to start.

In a telephone interview following release of his written statement, Mattiaci stressed he felt he was only asking for a fair deal for the owners of property where development opportunities have changed significantly since purchasing it over 20 years ago.

Mattiaci claims there was no opportunity to sit down and talk with government representatives in advance of the decision to add Pleasantview to the NEC planning area, and the Pleasantview land owners felt the OMB decision could always be revisited.

“If someone wants to step up and buy the property, they should," Mattiaci said. “That’s the bottom line.

“The onus is on (the province). They should come out and buy it, then everybody will be happy. If I can get the right dollars for the property and keep everybody happy, why wouldn’t I?”

Mattiaci said he doesn’t feel it’s unreasonable for the affected property owners to request a frank discussion with the province on how they will be affected by the changes, and potentially selling the land.

“Let’s resolve this so we don’t go to the grave with this property,” Mattiaci said.

Ken Whitbread, manager of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, said proposed land use designations are ready for three of five properties the ministry ordered included in the planning area –including the Cootes Paradise Link, a corridor stretching between established NEC land and the Royal Botanical Gardens.

The controversial Pleasantview area, surrounding York and Valley roads, is one of the two not quite ready.

“It’s being worked on,” Whitbread said. “It’s going to take longer because it’s a bigger area.”

He said he anticipates whatever land use designation is proposed for Pleasantview will be appealed by land owners there who want to see it developed.

Owner calls on province to buy Pleasantview land

News Jul 15, 2010 Dundas Star News

A Pleasantview property owner says the province should buy land it is adding to the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area.

Joe Mattiaci of Bella Court Developments, owner of nearly 100 acres of land in the rural northeast corner of Dundas, was part of a group of property owners who applied for amendments to permit a 760-unit residential development in Pleasantview.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs rejected the Parkway Belt West Plan amendment application last month, but Mattiaci was particularly disappointed with the announcement of a Ministry of Natural Resources order to place the properties surrounding York and Valley Roads into the development restrictive planning area overseen by the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

In a written statement released last week, Mattiaci described the announcement as “a major shift in provincial policy affecting our lands” and suggested the government failed to consult the property owners affected.

“If indeed it appears the province wishes to now remove development rights that we were aware of when we bought the property and have determined that there is overwhelming public interest in our lands, we would fully expect this interest be reflected in a commitment from the government toward purchase and/or compensation which reflects the level of interest they have in the property,” Mattiaci states.

He also states the affected landowners “will of course be consulting professionals and legal counsel to determine (our) next step in the process.”

When local Member of Provincial Parliament Ted McMeekin received a copy of the statement form Mattiaci, he responded by cancelling a meeting with the property owner and planning consultant Ed Fothergill.

McMeekin said the statement appeared to include a threat of possible legal action against the government, and as a member of that government, has a responsibility not to “arm the opponent” and therefore will not meet with Mattiaci.

“I understand he’s frustrated,” McMeekin said. “He has time and money invested.”

But the politician questioned parts of the property owner’s statement, regarding consultation and development rights.

McMeekin pointed out the proposal to add Pleasantview to the NEC planning area was made in May 2007, followed by a monthlong commenting period. He also noted that the long process of making the proposal law attracted attention from the public and media.

He referred to a 1995 Ontario Municipal Board decision which limits development in the area to one unit per 25 acres –or roughly eight units within the area previously proposed for 760. McMeekin said the property owners applied for several amendments –at the municipal and provincial levels –to make their proposal possible, but did not get support for the required changes.

“He didn’t have permissions in place for this development,” McMeekin said. “There is a process. Every time you apply for something that can’t go there, you’re not compensated for it.”

When asked about the idea of the province buying the land from owners facing new development controls after the NEC formalizes land use designations for the properties, McMeekin said nothing is off the table but suggested legal action was not a good way to start.

In a telephone interview following release of his written statement, Mattiaci stressed he felt he was only asking for a fair deal for the owners of property where development opportunities have changed significantly since purchasing it over 20 years ago.

Mattiaci claims there was no opportunity to sit down and talk with government representatives in advance of the decision to add Pleasantview to the NEC planning area, and the Pleasantview land owners felt the OMB decision could always be revisited.

“If someone wants to step up and buy the property, they should," Mattiaci said. “That’s the bottom line.

“The onus is on (the province). They should come out and buy it, then everybody will be happy. If I can get the right dollars for the property and keep everybody happy, why wouldn’t I?”

Mattiaci said he doesn’t feel it’s unreasonable for the affected property owners to request a frank discussion with the province on how they will be affected by the changes, and potentially selling the land.

“Let’s resolve this so we don’t go to the grave with this property,” Mattiaci said.

Ken Whitbread, manager of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, said proposed land use designations are ready for three of five properties the ministry ordered included in the planning area –including the Cootes Paradise Link, a corridor stretching between established NEC land and the Royal Botanical Gardens.

The controversial Pleasantview area, surrounding York and Valley roads, is one of the two not quite ready.

“It’s being worked on,” Whitbread said. “It’s going to take longer because it’s a bigger area.”

He said he anticipates whatever land use designation is proposed for Pleasantview will be appealed by land owners there who want to see it developed.

Owner calls on province to buy Pleasantview land

News Jul 15, 2010 Dundas Star News

A Pleasantview property owner says the province should buy land it is adding to the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area.

Joe Mattiaci of Bella Court Developments, owner of nearly 100 acres of land in the rural northeast corner of Dundas, was part of a group of property owners who applied for amendments to permit a 760-unit residential development in Pleasantview.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs rejected the Parkway Belt West Plan amendment application last month, but Mattiaci was particularly disappointed with the announcement of a Ministry of Natural Resources order to place the properties surrounding York and Valley Roads into the development restrictive planning area overseen by the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

In a written statement released last week, Mattiaci described the announcement as “a major shift in provincial policy affecting our lands” and suggested the government failed to consult the property owners affected.

“If indeed it appears the province wishes to now remove development rights that we were aware of when we bought the property and have determined that there is overwhelming public interest in our lands, we would fully expect this interest be reflected in a commitment from the government toward purchase and/or compensation which reflects the level of interest they have in the property,” Mattiaci states.

He also states the affected landowners “will of course be consulting professionals and legal counsel to determine (our) next step in the process.”

When local Member of Provincial Parliament Ted McMeekin received a copy of the statement form Mattiaci, he responded by cancelling a meeting with the property owner and planning consultant Ed Fothergill.

McMeekin said the statement appeared to include a threat of possible legal action against the government, and as a member of that government, has a responsibility not to “arm the opponent” and therefore will not meet with Mattiaci.

“I understand he’s frustrated,” McMeekin said. “He has time and money invested.”

But the politician questioned parts of the property owner’s statement, regarding consultation and development rights.

McMeekin pointed out the proposal to add Pleasantview to the NEC planning area was made in May 2007, followed by a monthlong commenting period. He also noted that the long process of making the proposal law attracted attention from the public and media.

He referred to a 1995 Ontario Municipal Board decision which limits development in the area to one unit per 25 acres –or roughly eight units within the area previously proposed for 760. McMeekin said the property owners applied for several amendments –at the municipal and provincial levels –to make their proposal possible, but did not get support for the required changes.

“He didn’t have permissions in place for this development,” McMeekin said. “There is a process. Every time you apply for something that can’t go there, you’re not compensated for it.”

When asked about the idea of the province buying the land from owners facing new development controls after the NEC formalizes land use designations for the properties, McMeekin said nothing is off the table but suggested legal action was not a good way to start.

In a telephone interview following release of his written statement, Mattiaci stressed he felt he was only asking for a fair deal for the owners of property where development opportunities have changed significantly since purchasing it over 20 years ago.

Mattiaci claims there was no opportunity to sit down and talk with government representatives in advance of the decision to add Pleasantview to the NEC planning area, and the Pleasantview land owners felt the OMB decision could always be revisited.

“If someone wants to step up and buy the property, they should," Mattiaci said. “That’s the bottom line.

“The onus is on (the province). They should come out and buy it, then everybody will be happy. If I can get the right dollars for the property and keep everybody happy, why wouldn’t I?”

Mattiaci said he doesn’t feel it’s unreasonable for the affected property owners to request a frank discussion with the province on how they will be affected by the changes, and potentially selling the land.

“Let’s resolve this so we don’t go to the grave with this property,” Mattiaci said.

Ken Whitbread, manager of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, said proposed land use designations are ready for three of five properties the ministry ordered included in the planning area –including the Cootes Paradise Link, a corridor stretching between established NEC land and the Royal Botanical Gardens.

The controversial Pleasantview area, surrounding York and Valley roads, is one of the two not quite ready.

“It’s being worked on,” Whitbread said. “It’s going to take longer because it’s a bigger area.”

He said he anticipates whatever land use designation is proposed for Pleasantview will be appealed by land owners there who want to see it developed.