Dundas Pleasant View variances denied

News Aug 16, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

City of Hamilton staff have been given confidential direction regarding a possible lawsuit after the committee of adjustment upheld Pleasant View planning regulations and denied a minor variance that could have allowed construction that started under a building permit incorrectly issued by the city.

The partially completed house at 10 Newman Rd. now has no building permit and contravenes the property’s zoning and the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Senior building and planning staff did not respond to questions Aug. 16 about potential litigation and whether they will pursue a possible settlement with the property owner, or the process for removing the building.

City councillors went in camera twice in one week to discuss confidential reports and receive legal advice on potential litigation over the building permit issued by the city in April, then revoked in July when staff say they realized the property’s rural zoning requires a minimum 25-acre (10-hectare) lot and 135-metre frontage, while the single family home was being built on a 10-acre (four-hectare) lot with 50-metre frontage.

City council gave confidential direction to staff Aug. 16, but also passed several public amendments including direction to planning staff to forward all Pleasant View development applications to the Niagara Escarpment Commission for review.

Site plan and building permit applications were approved for 10 Newman by city staff without submitting them to the NEC, which has ultimate planning authority in Pleasant View.

After 45 minutes of discussion on Thursday, Aug. 15, the committee of adjustment agreed the variances requested, shrinking the minimum lot requirements under the municipal zoning bylaw and Niagara Escarpment Plan by at least 60 per cent, were not minor in nature and denied the application.

It puts the property and partially finished house in limbo -- at least for now,

Arlene Beaumont, planning consultant to 10 Newman owner Marco Zwaan, originally planned to request deferral of the variances but decided to move ahead with the hearing and get a decision.

Beaumont argued Zwaan took reasonable steps to confirm he was allowed to build a house on the property and was the victim of a series of mistakes.

She said city staff incorrectly informed him he was permitted to build on the property prior to purchase and subsequently approved a site plan application and building permit.

“My client, however, did nothing wrong,” Beaumont said. “He’s the one suffering the consequences. He’s built a house he can’t live in and he can’t sell.”

Dundas city councillor Arlene VanderBeek summarized the long history and multiple layers of planning regulations in the Pleasant View area that affect 10 Newman Rd.

“This is a mess,” she said. “It’s so unfortunate.”

She said there’s been a clear plan for the area since the mid-1970s, and layers of regulation have been built with hard work by local residents to preserve the area.

More recently, she noted, several partner organizations including the city and Royal Botanical Gardens are working to build the Cootes to Escarpment Ecopark, which includes this area.

“A mistake doesn’t warrant jeopardizing 40 years of protection,” VanderBeek said.

“It bothers me to say these constituents can’t be supported, but I can’t support them when they’re not in conformity in such a drastic way.

“We can’t jeopardize the work that’s been done, and a mistake can’t change that.”

She noted the Niagara Escarpment Commission has final authority in the area, and all city bylaws and official plan there must conform to the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Escarpment commission staff said they would appeal approval of the variances because they would violate the NEP.

Committee member Bob Charters noted the NEC’s ability to appeal and said it could drag the issue on at great cost.

“This is not in our league, to be honest with you,” Charters said. “I’m sick that this is actually before us. Someone has made some serious mistakes. I feel awkward … I feel for (the Zwaans).”

Several other members agreed the variance requested was not minor and did not meet the tests to be approved by them.

“It’s not that we ever tried to go around the existing regulation,” Zwaan said.

Alex Ciccone, an environmental and planning lawyer representing one of the property’s neighbours, said the construction contravenes three layers of planning instruments.

“It’s clearly in breach of the Niagara Escarpment Plan. It’s not a grey area,” Ciccone said. “You should not decide to approve it and you should not decide to defer it.”

City planning staff also recommended denying the variances, noting they are “in direct conflict with the Niagara Escarpment Plan.”

Jim Avram, senior planner at the NEC, wrote two separate letters expressing significant concerns about the building permit issued in error, and the minor variance application. He acknowledged the city issued the permit, and a partially built dwelling remains at 10 Newman Rd.

“However, the NEC does not support attempts to recognize the development that would conflict with provincial and municipal land use policy,” Avram stated.

Dundas Pleasant View variances denied

Council gives confidential direction on potential lawsuit over incorrect building permit

News Aug 16, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

City of Hamilton staff have been given confidential direction regarding a possible lawsuit after the committee of adjustment upheld Pleasant View planning regulations and denied a minor variance that could have allowed construction that started under a building permit incorrectly issued by the city.

The partially completed house at 10 Newman Rd. now has no building permit and contravenes the property’s zoning and the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Senior building and planning staff did not respond to questions Aug. 16 about potential litigation and whether they will pursue a possible settlement with the property owner, or the process for removing the building.

City councillors went in camera twice in one week to discuss confidential reports and receive legal advice on potential litigation over the building permit issued by the city in April, then revoked in July when staff say they realized the property’s rural zoning requires a minimum 25-acre (10-hectare) lot and 135-metre frontage, while the single family home was being built on a 10-acre (four-hectare) lot with 50-metre frontage.

Related Content

City council gave confidential direction to staff Aug. 16, but also passed several public amendments including direction to planning staff to forward all Pleasant View development applications to the Niagara Escarpment Commission for review.

Site plan and building permit applications were approved for 10 Newman by city staff without submitting them to the NEC, which has ultimate planning authority in Pleasant View.

After 45 minutes of discussion on Thursday, Aug. 15, the committee of adjustment agreed the variances requested, shrinking the minimum lot requirements under the municipal zoning bylaw and Niagara Escarpment Plan by at least 60 per cent, were not minor in nature and denied the application.

It puts the property and partially finished house in limbo -- at least for now,

Arlene Beaumont, planning consultant to 10 Newman owner Marco Zwaan, originally planned to request deferral of the variances but decided to move ahead with the hearing and get a decision.

Beaumont argued Zwaan took reasonable steps to confirm he was allowed to build a house on the property and was the victim of a series of mistakes.

She said city staff incorrectly informed him he was permitted to build on the property prior to purchase and subsequently approved a site plan application and building permit.

“My client, however, did nothing wrong,” Beaumont said. “He’s the one suffering the consequences. He’s built a house he can’t live in and he can’t sell.”

Dundas city councillor Arlene VanderBeek summarized the long history and multiple layers of planning regulations in the Pleasant View area that affect 10 Newman Rd.

“This is a mess,” she said. “It’s so unfortunate.”

She said there’s been a clear plan for the area since the mid-1970s, and layers of regulation have been built with hard work by local residents to preserve the area.

More recently, she noted, several partner organizations including the city and Royal Botanical Gardens are working to build the Cootes to Escarpment Ecopark, which includes this area.

“A mistake doesn’t warrant jeopardizing 40 years of protection,” VanderBeek said.

“It bothers me to say these constituents can’t be supported, but I can’t support them when they’re not in conformity in such a drastic way.

“We can’t jeopardize the work that’s been done, and a mistake can’t change that.”

She noted the Niagara Escarpment Commission has final authority in the area, and all city bylaws and official plan there must conform to the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Escarpment commission staff said they would appeal approval of the variances because they would violate the NEP.

Committee member Bob Charters noted the NEC’s ability to appeal and said it could drag the issue on at great cost.

“This is not in our league, to be honest with you,” Charters said. “I’m sick that this is actually before us. Someone has made some serious mistakes. I feel awkward … I feel for (the Zwaans).”

Several other members agreed the variance requested was not minor and did not meet the tests to be approved by them.

“It’s not that we ever tried to go around the existing regulation,” Zwaan said.

Alex Ciccone, an environmental and planning lawyer representing one of the property’s neighbours, said the construction contravenes three layers of planning instruments.

“It’s clearly in breach of the Niagara Escarpment Plan. It’s not a grey area,” Ciccone said. “You should not decide to approve it and you should not decide to defer it.”

City planning staff also recommended denying the variances, noting they are “in direct conflict with the Niagara Escarpment Plan.”

Jim Avram, senior planner at the NEC, wrote two separate letters expressing significant concerns about the building permit issued in error, and the minor variance application. He acknowledged the city issued the permit, and a partially built dwelling remains at 10 Newman Rd.

“However, the NEC does not support attempts to recognize the development that would conflict with provincial and municipal land use policy,” Avram stated.

Dundas Pleasant View variances denied

Council gives confidential direction on potential lawsuit over incorrect building permit

News Aug 16, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

City of Hamilton staff have been given confidential direction regarding a possible lawsuit after the committee of adjustment upheld Pleasant View planning regulations and denied a minor variance that could have allowed construction that started under a building permit incorrectly issued by the city.

The partially completed house at 10 Newman Rd. now has no building permit and contravenes the property’s zoning and the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Senior building and planning staff did not respond to questions Aug. 16 about potential litigation and whether they will pursue a possible settlement with the property owner, or the process for removing the building.

City councillors went in camera twice in one week to discuss confidential reports and receive legal advice on potential litigation over the building permit issued by the city in April, then revoked in July when staff say they realized the property’s rural zoning requires a minimum 25-acre (10-hectare) lot and 135-metre frontage, while the single family home was being built on a 10-acre (four-hectare) lot with 50-metre frontage.

Related Content

City council gave confidential direction to staff Aug. 16, but also passed several public amendments including direction to planning staff to forward all Pleasant View development applications to the Niagara Escarpment Commission for review.

Site plan and building permit applications were approved for 10 Newman by city staff without submitting them to the NEC, which has ultimate planning authority in Pleasant View.

After 45 minutes of discussion on Thursday, Aug. 15, the committee of adjustment agreed the variances requested, shrinking the minimum lot requirements under the municipal zoning bylaw and Niagara Escarpment Plan by at least 60 per cent, were not minor in nature and denied the application.

It puts the property and partially finished house in limbo -- at least for now,

Arlene Beaumont, planning consultant to 10 Newman owner Marco Zwaan, originally planned to request deferral of the variances but decided to move ahead with the hearing and get a decision.

Beaumont argued Zwaan took reasonable steps to confirm he was allowed to build a house on the property and was the victim of a series of mistakes.

She said city staff incorrectly informed him he was permitted to build on the property prior to purchase and subsequently approved a site plan application and building permit.

“My client, however, did nothing wrong,” Beaumont said. “He’s the one suffering the consequences. He’s built a house he can’t live in and he can’t sell.”

Dundas city councillor Arlene VanderBeek summarized the long history and multiple layers of planning regulations in the Pleasant View area that affect 10 Newman Rd.

“This is a mess,” she said. “It’s so unfortunate.”

She said there’s been a clear plan for the area since the mid-1970s, and layers of regulation have been built with hard work by local residents to preserve the area.

More recently, she noted, several partner organizations including the city and Royal Botanical Gardens are working to build the Cootes to Escarpment Ecopark, which includes this area.

“A mistake doesn’t warrant jeopardizing 40 years of protection,” VanderBeek said.

“It bothers me to say these constituents can’t be supported, but I can’t support them when they’re not in conformity in such a drastic way.

“We can’t jeopardize the work that’s been done, and a mistake can’t change that.”

She noted the Niagara Escarpment Commission has final authority in the area, and all city bylaws and official plan there must conform to the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Escarpment commission staff said they would appeal approval of the variances because they would violate the NEP.

Committee member Bob Charters noted the NEC’s ability to appeal and said it could drag the issue on at great cost.

“This is not in our league, to be honest with you,” Charters said. “I’m sick that this is actually before us. Someone has made some serious mistakes. I feel awkward … I feel for (the Zwaans).”

Several other members agreed the variance requested was not minor and did not meet the tests to be approved by them.

“It’s not that we ever tried to go around the existing regulation,” Zwaan said.

Alex Ciccone, an environmental and planning lawyer representing one of the property’s neighbours, said the construction contravenes three layers of planning instruments.

“It’s clearly in breach of the Niagara Escarpment Plan. It’s not a grey area,” Ciccone said. “You should not decide to approve it and you should not decide to defer it.”

City planning staff also recommended denying the variances, noting they are “in direct conflict with the Niagara Escarpment Plan.”

Jim Avram, senior planner at the NEC, wrote two separate letters expressing significant concerns about the building permit issued in error, and the minor variance application. He acknowledged the city issued the permit, and a partially built dwelling remains at 10 Newman Rd.

“However, the NEC does not support attempts to recognize the development that would conflict with provincial and municipal land use policy,” Avram stated.