Dundas Pleasant View planning under increasing scrutiny

News Mar 20, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

The Niagara Escarpment Commission expressed concerns to the City of Hamilton and offered to meet with the city's planning staff about provincial planning policy in Pleasant View two weeks ago, but has not heard back from the municipality.

Among the commission’s issues with Hamilton are approval of tree cutting for a right-of-way at 711 York Rd., approval of a bylaw exemption to permit development on a 1.4-hectare lot there, and approval of a building permit for a home at 10 Newman Rd. The commission is also concerned about city planning staff’s interpretation that the Niagara Escarpment Plan — and a 1995 Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) decision — that limited development to minimum 10-hectare lots in Pleasant View, do not apply to some city planning decisions.

“Given the complexity of the situation, the (commission) has offered to meet with the relevant city departments to discuss these issues and identify potential solutions,” said commission spokesperson Danielle D’Silva.

Now City of Hamilton bylaw enforcement staff say local tree bylaws do not apply to the Pleasant View properties, and that is why it did not charge the owner of 711 York Rd. for cutting down trees without a permit or providing notice.

Tamara Reid, supervisor of operations and enforcement in the City of Hamilton bylaw enforcement office, said property owner MMSA Marketing did not file a “notice of intent to cut” application required under the city’s woodland conservation bylaw.

“Sorry, no paperwork as (it) did not fall under the bylaw,” Reid said.

Reid, and Hamilton communications staff, did not answer any further questions and did not explain why they believe the area is exempt from the bylaws.

Tribunals Ontario — which operated the board, now the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal — would not comment on Hamilton planning decisions and whether they contravene the 1995 OMB order regulating development in Pleasant View.

“Decisions of the (LPAT) and the (OMB) speak for themselves,” said Tribunals Ontario spokesperson Sarah Copeland. “As such, the tribunal does not provide interpretations of decisions.”

Copeland said these decisions are enforceable the same way as any court decision. She said any party to the board decision can initiate enforcement action against the city.

Several representatives of the Conserver Society of Hamilton, a party to that 1995 decision, declined to comment on whether the organization is taking, or planning, enforcement action against the City of Hamilton.

D’Silva said the Niagara Escarpment Commission continued to examine Niagara Escarpment Plan policies after the city ended its own investigation into tree cutting on 711 York Rd., and determined development is indeed restricted to vacant properties over 10 hectares in size.

Residents familiar with 30 years of community effort and planning policy put in place to protect Pleasant View are increasingly frustrated with the city.

“I find it appalling that the EcoPark and the natural wildlife corridors are being abused and irresponsibly slashed and cut with fences erected,” said Pleasant View resident Caroline Thomson. “Where are the EcoPark planners during this mess, why doesn’t conservation get involved, who cares about animal welfare?”

She wondered why the community is being left in the dark about decisions at 711 and 715 York Rd., allowing destruction of the environmentally sensitive area.

“Why do residents and taxpayers not get any explanation, but instead watch the horrific destruction and the suffering of our gorgeous wildlife?” Thomson asked.

City planning staff confusion around planning and tree protection policy in Pleasant View may partially result from amalgamation, and what policies were believed to be in effect when certain approvals or bylaws were passed.

George McKibbon, adjunct professor at the University of Guelph’s school of environmental design and rural development, said Pleasant View is a “planning context prone to mistakes” because it has transferred between political entities — including the region and the former Town of Dundas as well as a variety of planning staff with varied experience and knowledge, and several planning policies — during the past 20 years.

“In my experience, in these sort of transitions important files get lost and new administrations may interpret things differently,” McKibbon said. “Often files go missing, or new staff don’t know where to look for relevant information necessary to properly line up their recommendations with approved policy. New managers may not know where to look either.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We are investigating planning issues in Pleasant View and were recently told tree bylaws do not apply to properties where trees were recently removed.

Dundas Pleasant View planning under increasing scrutiny

City says tree bylaws do not apply to Pleasant View property

News Mar 20, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

The Niagara Escarpment Commission expressed concerns to the City of Hamilton and offered to meet with the city's planning staff about provincial planning policy in Pleasant View two weeks ago, but has not heard back from the municipality.

Among the commission’s issues with Hamilton are approval of tree cutting for a right-of-way at 711 York Rd., approval of a bylaw exemption to permit development on a 1.4-hectare lot there, and approval of a building permit for a home at 10 Newman Rd. The commission is also concerned about city planning staff’s interpretation that the Niagara Escarpment Plan — and a 1995 Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) decision — that limited development to minimum 10-hectare lots in Pleasant View, do not apply to some city planning decisions.

“Given the complexity of the situation, the (commission) has offered to meet with the relevant city departments to discuss these issues and identify potential solutions,” said commission spokesperson Danielle D’Silva.

Now City of Hamilton bylaw enforcement staff say local tree bylaws do not apply to the Pleasant View properties, and that is why it did not charge the owner of 711 York Rd. for cutting down trees without a permit or providing notice.

Related Content

Tamara Reid, supervisor of operations and enforcement in the City of Hamilton bylaw enforcement office, said property owner MMSA Marketing did not file a “notice of intent to cut” application required under the city’s woodland conservation bylaw.

“Sorry, no paperwork as (it) did not fall under the bylaw,” Reid said.

Reid, and Hamilton communications staff, did not answer any further questions and did not explain why they believe the area is exempt from the bylaws.

Tribunals Ontario — which operated the board, now the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal — would not comment on Hamilton planning decisions and whether they contravene the 1995 OMB order regulating development in Pleasant View.

“Decisions of the (LPAT) and the (OMB) speak for themselves,” said Tribunals Ontario spokesperson Sarah Copeland. “As such, the tribunal does not provide interpretations of decisions.”

Copeland said these decisions are enforceable the same way as any court decision. She said any party to the board decision can initiate enforcement action against the city.

Several representatives of the Conserver Society of Hamilton, a party to that 1995 decision, declined to comment on whether the organization is taking, or planning, enforcement action against the City of Hamilton.

D’Silva said the Niagara Escarpment Commission continued to examine Niagara Escarpment Plan policies after the city ended its own investigation into tree cutting on 711 York Rd., and determined development is indeed restricted to vacant properties over 10 hectares in size.

Residents familiar with 30 years of community effort and planning policy put in place to protect Pleasant View are increasingly frustrated with the city.

“I find it appalling that the EcoPark and the natural wildlife corridors are being abused and irresponsibly slashed and cut with fences erected,” said Pleasant View resident Caroline Thomson. “Where are the EcoPark planners during this mess, why doesn’t conservation get involved, who cares about animal welfare?”

She wondered why the community is being left in the dark about decisions at 711 and 715 York Rd., allowing destruction of the environmentally sensitive area.

“Why do residents and taxpayers not get any explanation, but instead watch the horrific destruction and the suffering of our gorgeous wildlife?” Thomson asked.

City planning staff confusion around planning and tree protection policy in Pleasant View may partially result from amalgamation, and what policies were believed to be in effect when certain approvals or bylaws were passed.

George McKibbon, adjunct professor at the University of Guelph’s school of environmental design and rural development, said Pleasant View is a “planning context prone to mistakes” because it has transferred between political entities — including the region and the former Town of Dundas as well as a variety of planning staff with varied experience and knowledge, and several planning policies — during the past 20 years.

“In my experience, in these sort of transitions important files get lost and new administrations may interpret things differently,” McKibbon said. “Often files go missing, or new staff don’t know where to look for relevant information necessary to properly line up their recommendations with approved policy. New managers may not know where to look either.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We are investigating planning issues in Pleasant View and were recently told tree bylaws do not apply to properties where trees were recently removed.

Dundas Pleasant View planning under increasing scrutiny

City says tree bylaws do not apply to Pleasant View property

News Mar 20, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

The Niagara Escarpment Commission expressed concerns to the City of Hamilton and offered to meet with the city's planning staff about provincial planning policy in Pleasant View two weeks ago, but has not heard back from the municipality.

Among the commission’s issues with Hamilton are approval of tree cutting for a right-of-way at 711 York Rd., approval of a bylaw exemption to permit development on a 1.4-hectare lot there, and approval of a building permit for a home at 10 Newman Rd. The commission is also concerned about city planning staff’s interpretation that the Niagara Escarpment Plan — and a 1995 Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) decision — that limited development to minimum 10-hectare lots in Pleasant View, do not apply to some city planning decisions.

“Given the complexity of the situation, the (commission) has offered to meet with the relevant city departments to discuss these issues and identify potential solutions,” said commission spokesperson Danielle D’Silva.

Now City of Hamilton bylaw enforcement staff say local tree bylaws do not apply to the Pleasant View properties, and that is why it did not charge the owner of 711 York Rd. for cutting down trees without a permit or providing notice.

Related Content

Tamara Reid, supervisor of operations and enforcement in the City of Hamilton bylaw enforcement office, said property owner MMSA Marketing did not file a “notice of intent to cut” application required under the city’s woodland conservation bylaw.

“Sorry, no paperwork as (it) did not fall under the bylaw,” Reid said.

Reid, and Hamilton communications staff, did not answer any further questions and did not explain why they believe the area is exempt from the bylaws.

Tribunals Ontario — which operated the board, now the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal — would not comment on Hamilton planning decisions and whether they contravene the 1995 OMB order regulating development in Pleasant View.

“Decisions of the (LPAT) and the (OMB) speak for themselves,” said Tribunals Ontario spokesperson Sarah Copeland. “As such, the tribunal does not provide interpretations of decisions.”

Copeland said these decisions are enforceable the same way as any court decision. She said any party to the board decision can initiate enforcement action against the city.

Several representatives of the Conserver Society of Hamilton, a party to that 1995 decision, declined to comment on whether the organization is taking, or planning, enforcement action against the City of Hamilton.

D’Silva said the Niagara Escarpment Commission continued to examine Niagara Escarpment Plan policies after the city ended its own investigation into tree cutting on 711 York Rd., and determined development is indeed restricted to vacant properties over 10 hectares in size.

Residents familiar with 30 years of community effort and planning policy put in place to protect Pleasant View are increasingly frustrated with the city.

“I find it appalling that the EcoPark and the natural wildlife corridors are being abused and irresponsibly slashed and cut with fences erected,” said Pleasant View resident Caroline Thomson. “Where are the EcoPark planners during this mess, why doesn’t conservation get involved, who cares about animal welfare?”

She wondered why the community is being left in the dark about decisions at 711 and 715 York Rd., allowing destruction of the environmentally sensitive area.

“Why do residents and taxpayers not get any explanation, but instead watch the horrific destruction and the suffering of our gorgeous wildlife?” Thomson asked.

City planning staff confusion around planning and tree protection policy in Pleasant View may partially result from amalgamation, and what policies were believed to be in effect when certain approvals or bylaws were passed.

George McKibbon, adjunct professor at the University of Guelph’s school of environmental design and rural development, said Pleasant View is a “planning context prone to mistakes” because it has transferred between political entities — including the region and the former Town of Dundas as well as a variety of planning staff with varied experience and knowledge, and several planning policies — during the past 20 years.

“In my experience, in these sort of transitions important files get lost and new administrations may interpret things differently,” McKibbon said. “Often files go missing, or new staff don’t know where to look for relevant information necessary to properly line up their recommendations with approved policy. New managers may not know where to look either.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We are investigating planning issues in Pleasant View and were recently told tree bylaws do not apply to properties where trees were recently removed.