Dundas Pleasant View building permit error result of incorrect exemption

News Aug 26, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

A temporary City of Hamilton zoning examiner used an exemption that did not apply to 10 Newman Rd. — which led to the accidental approval of a building permit that should never have been issued, according to documents in the project’s planning files.

Senior managers and several other staff circulated on paperwork related to site plan and building permit applications either missed, or did not check, the incorrect assumption that the temporary zoning examiner made to approve a single-family home on a 4.07-hectare lot when the zoning, official plan and Niagara Escarpment Plan all require a minimum 10-hectare property.

The report, dated Nov. 12, 2018, and circulated by June Christy, senior project manager for development planning rural team, states the proposed building “conforms as per section 6.7.”

That section of the Dundas zoning bylaw states a property in a residential zone having less frontage and area than required, but that was held under distinct ownership from any adjoining lot on the date the bylaw was passed, can have a single-family home built.

That exemption does not apply to any properties, including 10 Newman Rd., within the Pleasant Valley Survey Lands. The property is also zoned rural, not residential. The section 6.7 exemption refers specifically to residential zones.

City spokesperson Allison Jones could not get confirmation or comment from senior staff by deadline.

“Unfortunately, I’m not getting anything at this point, likely because the file is in process,” Jones said.

Niagara Escarpment Plan special planning policy for the area states “only single dwellings that existed on or before Aug. 14, 1998” are allowed. There was previously no building on the forested property and the current owner has had it for less than three years.

According to staff comments on a minor variance application, the NEP stipulates existing lots of record — the section 6.7 exemption — are not recognized in the Pleasant View area. The city’s zoning and official plan must conform to the NEP.

Site plan was approved on Jan. 18, 2019, and the building permit was issued April 16 and subsequently revoked on July 10.

According to emails included in planning file for 10 Newman Rd., Niagara Escarpment Commission senior planner Jim Avram alerted the applicant, builder Jordan Hart, and city staff, to potential development limitations on the site — but the file includes no record of city staff responding to the warnings.

“I believe the lands fall under the Pleasant View Survey area where the Niagara Escarpment Plan policies and the city’s Official Plan policies are quite restrictive,” Avram stated in an Oct. 1, 2018 email.

He also asked for detail on what was proposed to be built and Hart’s contact in the city’s planning office. Hart responded with that information within 30 minutes. There was no subsequent reference by city staff to Avram’s comments. Avram did not respond to a request for comment.

Current owners Marco Zwaan and Eva Voorberg bought 10 Newman Rd. in April 2017 for $380,000 from a group of four individuals — Rosslyn Armstrong, Randy Wozney, Judith Edwards and Linda Wybraniak, according to transfer documents filed at the Land Registry Office.

Zwaan said it was too early for him to comment on his next steps.

Planning files indicate 11 city staff members were involved in the application — including at least five senior managers.

But it was junior staff, including the temporary zoning reviewer, who exercised the most authority on the file and signed all site plan and building permit approvals on behalf of senior managers. It’s not clear whether any department managers actually reviewed the application or zoning and special Pleasant Valley development regulations before the permit was issued.

According to the zoning reviewer’s LinkedIn page, the staff member previously worked as a zoning examiner for two years between 2011 and 2013, as a development planner and planning technician between 2008 and 2016, then as a recreation planner between 2016 and 2018 before serving as a zoning examiner again for one year and returning to recreation planning in May 2019.

City council gave confidential direction to staff on Aug. 16 regarding potential litigation related to the building permit being issued in error.

Planning and economic development spokesperson Allison Jones said specific details could not yet be shared about the city’s plans to deal with any potential lawsuit by the owner of 10 Newman Rd., but “the city is always open to discussions that might lead to a reasonable resolution.”

Jones said it is too early to know what those remedies might be.

On Aug. 16, council also directed staff to ensure future zoning verification and building applications in Pleasant View are forwarded to the Niagara Escarpment Commission for comment.

Dundas Pleasant View building permit error result of incorrect exemption

City not yet commenting on controversial zoning review

News Aug 26, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

A temporary City of Hamilton zoning examiner used an exemption that did not apply to 10 Newman Rd. — which led to the accidental approval of a building permit that should never have been issued, according to documents in the project’s planning files.

Senior managers and several other staff circulated on paperwork related to site plan and building permit applications either missed, or did not check, the incorrect assumption that the temporary zoning examiner made to approve a single-family home on a 4.07-hectare lot when the zoning, official plan and Niagara Escarpment Plan all require a minimum 10-hectare property.

The report, dated Nov. 12, 2018, and circulated by June Christy, senior project manager for development planning rural team, states the proposed building “conforms as per section 6.7.”

That section of the Dundas zoning bylaw states a property in a residential zone having less frontage and area than required, but that was held under distinct ownership from any adjoining lot on the date the bylaw was passed, can have a single-family home built.

Related Content

That exemption does not apply to any properties, including 10 Newman Rd., within the Pleasant Valley Survey Lands. The property is also zoned rural, not residential. The section 6.7 exemption refers specifically to residential zones.

City spokesperson Allison Jones could not get confirmation or comment from senior staff by deadline.

“Unfortunately, I’m not getting anything at this point, likely because the file is in process,” Jones said.

Niagara Escarpment Plan special planning policy for the area states “only single dwellings that existed on or before Aug. 14, 1998” are allowed. There was previously no building on the forested property and the current owner has had it for less than three years.

According to staff comments on a minor variance application, the NEP stipulates existing lots of record — the section 6.7 exemption — are not recognized in the Pleasant View area. The city’s zoning and official plan must conform to the NEP.

Site plan was approved on Jan. 18, 2019, and the building permit was issued April 16 and subsequently revoked on July 10.

According to emails included in planning file for 10 Newman Rd., Niagara Escarpment Commission senior planner Jim Avram alerted the applicant, builder Jordan Hart, and city staff, to potential development limitations on the site — but the file includes no record of city staff responding to the warnings.

“I believe the lands fall under the Pleasant View Survey area where the Niagara Escarpment Plan policies and the city’s Official Plan policies are quite restrictive,” Avram stated in an Oct. 1, 2018 email.

He also asked for detail on what was proposed to be built and Hart’s contact in the city’s planning office. Hart responded with that information within 30 minutes. There was no subsequent reference by city staff to Avram’s comments. Avram did not respond to a request for comment.

Current owners Marco Zwaan and Eva Voorberg bought 10 Newman Rd. in April 2017 for $380,000 from a group of four individuals — Rosslyn Armstrong, Randy Wozney, Judith Edwards and Linda Wybraniak, according to transfer documents filed at the Land Registry Office.

Zwaan said it was too early for him to comment on his next steps.

Planning files indicate 11 city staff members were involved in the application — including at least five senior managers.

But it was junior staff, including the temporary zoning reviewer, who exercised the most authority on the file and signed all site plan and building permit approvals on behalf of senior managers. It’s not clear whether any department managers actually reviewed the application or zoning and special Pleasant Valley development regulations before the permit was issued.

According to the zoning reviewer’s LinkedIn page, the staff member previously worked as a zoning examiner for two years between 2011 and 2013, as a development planner and planning technician between 2008 and 2016, then as a recreation planner between 2016 and 2018 before serving as a zoning examiner again for one year and returning to recreation planning in May 2019.

City council gave confidential direction to staff on Aug. 16 regarding potential litigation related to the building permit being issued in error.

Planning and economic development spokesperson Allison Jones said specific details could not yet be shared about the city’s plans to deal with any potential lawsuit by the owner of 10 Newman Rd., but “the city is always open to discussions that might lead to a reasonable resolution.”

Jones said it is too early to know what those remedies might be.

On Aug. 16, council also directed staff to ensure future zoning verification and building applications in Pleasant View are forwarded to the Niagara Escarpment Commission for comment.

Dundas Pleasant View building permit error result of incorrect exemption

City not yet commenting on controversial zoning review

News Aug 26, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

A temporary City of Hamilton zoning examiner used an exemption that did not apply to 10 Newman Rd. — which led to the accidental approval of a building permit that should never have been issued, according to documents in the project’s planning files.

Senior managers and several other staff circulated on paperwork related to site plan and building permit applications either missed, or did not check, the incorrect assumption that the temporary zoning examiner made to approve a single-family home on a 4.07-hectare lot when the zoning, official plan and Niagara Escarpment Plan all require a minimum 10-hectare property.

The report, dated Nov. 12, 2018, and circulated by June Christy, senior project manager for development planning rural team, states the proposed building “conforms as per section 6.7.”

That section of the Dundas zoning bylaw states a property in a residential zone having less frontage and area than required, but that was held under distinct ownership from any adjoining lot on the date the bylaw was passed, can have a single-family home built.

Related Content

That exemption does not apply to any properties, including 10 Newman Rd., within the Pleasant Valley Survey Lands. The property is also zoned rural, not residential. The section 6.7 exemption refers specifically to residential zones.

City spokesperson Allison Jones could not get confirmation or comment from senior staff by deadline.

“Unfortunately, I’m not getting anything at this point, likely because the file is in process,” Jones said.

Niagara Escarpment Plan special planning policy for the area states “only single dwellings that existed on or before Aug. 14, 1998” are allowed. There was previously no building on the forested property and the current owner has had it for less than three years.

According to staff comments on a minor variance application, the NEP stipulates existing lots of record — the section 6.7 exemption — are not recognized in the Pleasant View area. The city’s zoning and official plan must conform to the NEP.

Site plan was approved on Jan. 18, 2019, and the building permit was issued April 16 and subsequently revoked on July 10.

According to emails included in planning file for 10 Newman Rd., Niagara Escarpment Commission senior planner Jim Avram alerted the applicant, builder Jordan Hart, and city staff, to potential development limitations on the site — but the file includes no record of city staff responding to the warnings.

“I believe the lands fall under the Pleasant View Survey area where the Niagara Escarpment Plan policies and the city’s Official Plan policies are quite restrictive,” Avram stated in an Oct. 1, 2018 email.

He also asked for detail on what was proposed to be built and Hart’s contact in the city’s planning office. Hart responded with that information within 30 minutes. There was no subsequent reference by city staff to Avram’s comments. Avram did not respond to a request for comment.

Current owners Marco Zwaan and Eva Voorberg bought 10 Newman Rd. in April 2017 for $380,000 from a group of four individuals — Rosslyn Armstrong, Randy Wozney, Judith Edwards and Linda Wybraniak, according to transfer documents filed at the Land Registry Office.

Zwaan said it was too early for him to comment on his next steps.

Planning files indicate 11 city staff members were involved in the application — including at least five senior managers.

But it was junior staff, including the temporary zoning reviewer, who exercised the most authority on the file and signed all site plan and building permit approvals on behalf of senior managers. It’s not clear whether any department managers actually reviewed the application or zoning and special Pleasant Valley development regulations before the permit was issued.

According to the zoning reviewer’s LinkedIn page, the staff member previously worked as a zoning examiner for two years between 2011 and 2013, as a development planner and planning technician between 2008 and 2016, then as a recreation planner between 2016 and 2018 before serving as a zoning examiner again for one year and returning to recreation planning in May 2019.

City council gave confidential direction to staff on Aug. 16 regarding potential litigation related to the building permit being issued in error.

Planning and economic development spokesperson Allison Jones said specific details could not yet be shared about the city’s plans to deal with any potential lawsuit by the owner of 10 Newman Rd., but “the city is always open to discussions that might lead to a reasonable resolution.”

Jones said it is too early to know what those remedies might be.

On Aug. 16, council also directed staff to ensure future zoning verification and building applications in Pleasant View are forwarded to the Niagara Escarpment Commission for comment.