August 29, 2018 - Cramahe Council Approval of CR-21 Severances Rescinded

Introduction

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) is a tribunal that hears cases in relation to a range of municipal planning, financial and land matters. These include matters such as official plans, zoning by-laws, subdivision plans, consents and minor variances, land compensations, development charges, electoral ward boundaries, municipal finances, aggregate resources and other issues assigned by numerous Ontario statutes.

LPAT was formerly known as the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The OMB was an independent tribunal that conducted hearings and made decisions on land use planning issues and other matters.

County Road 21 Severances

Following the approval of three contentious severances on County Road 21, Cramahe resident Stephen Cohrs filed an appeal (PL180576) with LPAT. The severances were to be on a parcel of land owned by Gary Waite. Tim Williams was acting on behalf of Waite to request the severances.  The hearing was scheduled for August 29, 2018 in the Cramahe Town Hall.

As it turns out no formal LPAT hearing took place on August 29, 2018.  Cramahe Township legal counsel stated that the Township “HAS NO DEFENCE TO THE APPEAL”.  The severance applications were then formally withdrawn.

Details of the proceedings were recorded by Gritt Koehl and are provided below.  Her overall observation was that neighbours ended up pitted against one another, because of a decision of the LDAC (Cramahe Land Division Advisory Committee) and subsequently Council. The severance application was brought forward in good faith and with profitable intentions.  While there is nothing wrong with this, it is up to the Township to stop applications that should not proceed. The residents involved were let down throughout this process. Extra work and money were unnecessarily spent.

Summary of LPAT Proceeding

10:30 am Chair Thomas Hodgins calls for introductions of parties participating in the Hearing under the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal rules.

Cramahe Counsel: W. Fairbrother

Appellant Counsel: Maggie Chewing-Madar; G. Perhar

Following is a summary of the points discussed leading to the LPAT Hearing not taking place, and the Severance Applications being formally withdrawn.

Chair Hodgins reported that the LPAT board received an email from the applicant (Waite/Williams) stating that he would not be participating in the hearing.

Mr. Williams then indicated he was present in the room, and spoke to the Chair requesting an adjournment due to confusion around whether he needed his own representation at the hearing. He also wanted time to explore other options. If adjournment is not possible, he would withdraw the severance application.

Counsel Fairbrother stated that Cramahe would support an adjournment and offered the following background information.

  • Nov 2017 - application for three severances creating four lots filed by Mr. Williams on behalf of Gary Waite. Cramahe advertises Public Meeting.
  • Dec 2017 - LDAC (Land Division Advisory Committee for Cramahe) defers application, to allow for Hydrogeologic Study.
  • May 2018 - LDAC approves Severances without Hydrogeologic study, and Application is sent to Council.  Cramahe Staff's recommendation to Council was to defer a decision until the Hydro G Study was completed. Council approved the Severance Application.
  • Post Decision - Cramahe Township retained Planner Ken Hurford and Legal Counsel Fairbrother.
  • Feb 2018 - Provincial Natural Heritage and Agricultural Mapping designations came into effect for all municipalities in Ontario, and this mapping applies to the parcel of land in question.
  • Counsel Fairbrother, after consulting with Planner Hurford, came to the conclusion that this severance application could not be defended. It would not conform to current Provincial Official Growth Plan due to mapping.

He had no defence to offer on behalf of Cramahe Township. He advocated for adjournment, or complete withdrawal of the Severance Application. His instructions were not to defend the application.

Counsel Perhar spoke next on behalf of Mr. Cohrs and offered the following information.

  • July 2017 was when the Provincial Growth Plan came into effect. The Natural Heritage and Agricultural Mapping was in effect as of Feb 2018.
  • Both the County and the Township of Cramahe need to update their Official Plans to be consistent with the Provincial OP.
  • Counsel Perhar did not support adjournment as Regulation 102/18 of the Planning Act states that appeals under the LPAT must be done within 6 months of the decision date by Council. The adjournment request by Counsel and Mr. Williams did not meet the LPAT requirements, due to time required by County and Cramahe to update their OPs.

CHAIR HODGINS RULING

  • Ruled that Adjournment will not be Granted
  • Stated that the Township made its decision after the Growth Plan and Natural Heritage and Agricultural Mapping were already in effect
  • Ruled to Clear the Deck of the Severance Application
  • Ordered the applicant to send formal written withdrawal of the Severance Application to relevant parties.

Chair Hodgins then ended the proceedings.

May 31, 2018

On May 22, 2018 Cramahe Council voted to approve three contentious severances on County Road 21.  Approval was given despite a delegation by local residents and a petition signed by 40 local residents.  Gritt Koehl attended the meetings described below and met with both parties involved in the severance application.  She has posted her views of the proceedings on our Facebook page titled an “Inconvenient Truth”. Excerpts of her post are reproduced below.  The complete post is available here Facebook Post On Severances

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH (by Gritt Koehl)

May 22, 2018 - Cramahe Township Official Plan Update & Council-in-Committee Meeting 2:30 to 6:00pm

I attended the review and information session of Cramahe's Draft Official Plan (OP) last week, which was presented by Planners Peter Josephs and Ken Hurford of EcoVue Consulting. It was most informative.

The overview of the NEW and updated Provincial and County policy documents was a real eye opener. The Provincial Policy Statement and Official Plan (OP) apply to all municipalities, and their OPs must reflect the Provincial OP.

  1. Northumberland County updated their OP in 2016, and therefore do not have up-to-date maps showing the new 2018 Provincial Natural Heritage and Agricultural Systems Mapping. It would be inconvenient to have to go through the process of updating the County’s OP again.
  2. Cramahe Township approved severances last Tuesday evening on a parcel of land, completely ignoring the Inconvenient Truth about the designations of that particular parcel of land under the new 2018 Provincial Natural Heritage and Agricultural Systems Mapping.

NEW - 2018 PROVINCIAL MAPPING - NATURAL HERITAGE AND AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS

The province undertook to map the Natural Heritage and Agricultural systems for every municipality. The purpose is to protect rural, natural heritage and agricultural areas - provide mapping and guidelines to enable consistency and good planning decisions across the province. The mapping was approved on February 9, 2018 and is in full force and effect as of that date.

In addition to the mapping, provincial guidelines are provided to municipalities to assist in good planning decisions:

  1. 2016 PPS Rural Policy Guideline
  2. 2016 PPS Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Prime Agricultural Areas

The 2018 mapping and 2016 guidelines will impact the planning decisions of councils everywhere. It will also provide citizens with ammunition when appealing bad planning decisions by councils.

The following photographs are attached below

  • CRAMAHE TOWNSHIP - SCHEDULE A - LAND USE PLAN

The Legend shows the Natural Heritage and Agricultural systems of the township.

  • COUNTY ROAD 21 SEVERANCES

The second photo is an enlargement of the section of Schedule A where Council approved severances. The parcel of land is designated both Natural Heritage and Agricultural, and that should have been taken into consideration by Council, but they ignored it.

  • PHOTO OF PARCEL OF LAND

The third photo is an aerial shot of the parcel of land showing the severances.

MAY 7, 2018 - LDAC MEETING

I was contacted by residents at the beginning of May who are opposed to the severances. I attended the Land Division Advisory Committee (LDAC) Meeting on May 7, 2018 to hear the decision. Numerous residents were in attendance to oppose the severances, and despite overwhelming evidence provided to the LDAC showing why the severances should NOT be approved, the committee went ahead and approved the severances and recommended bringing them before Council.  A disturbing thing happened at this particular meeting. One of the committee members was downright rude to the residents, saying he wasn't going to listen anymore. The residents had done thorough research, were well prepared and acted professionally in their opposition. They did not deserve the bullying tactics of the committee member.

MAY 22, 2018 - COUNCIL MEETINGS

Following the afternoon meeting on the Official Plan, I attended the evening Council Meetings.  A delegation of residents opposed to the severances made a presentation to Council. In addition to their thorough research, they presented a petition signed by 40 residents in opposition.  I fully expected Council to defer a decision on the severances, particularly in light of the mapping designation information presented to Council in the afternoon. In fact, Mayor Coombs stated in the afternoon meeting that this could affect "Fidelity's, I mean Tim Williams" severances that were coming before Council later that evening.  I was dismayed when Council went ahead and approved the severances. It was as if the delegation never existed. Deputy Mayor Arthur took the time to look at all sides of the severances issue, and had prepared written comments. However, those comments did not address the natural heritage and agricultural designations of the NEW mapping that came into effect on February 9, 2018.

I believe Council erred in approving the severances without having looked into the new mapping designations first.  Now they will have an appeal on their hands, due to a bad planning decision - in my opinion.  Not being a planner, I reached out to EcoVue Consulting to ask for a professional opinion on this matter, and I was prepared to pay for it. Here is the thread of emails.

EMAIL #1 (Koehl to Hurford)

Good afternoon Ken,

The question I have is as follows:

There is one parcel of land, in a rural area (not hamlet or village), that is designated both “Natural Heritage and Agricultural”, according to the Provincial Mapping that came into full force and effect on February 9, 2018.

The parcel in question is fraught with problems, and is not a desirable location for development.

Is it “good planning” to permit three severances, thereby creating four lots, on such a parcel?

I would send you the documentation and would be prepared to pay for a professional opinion on this matter. Obviously, I would need to know what I would have to pay.

Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

Kind regards,

Gritt Koehl

P.S. I thoroughly appreciated the presentation of the Draft Cramahe OP you made at last week’s Council Meeting. I learned a lot.

 

EMAIL #2 (Koehl to Hurford)

Good morning,

I have not heard back, and I need to move on this.

If you are not able to comment on this, please let me know by the end of today – Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

Thank you,

Gritt Koehl

 

EMAIL #3 (Hurford to Koehl)

EcoVue Consulting Services is unable to assist you with your review and consideration of this matter as we provide planning services to the Township of Cramahe. For this reason we do not take on private clients in the Township.

Regards,

Ken

Ken J. Hurford, MCIP, RPP, AMCT

Senior Planner

EcoVue Consulting Services Inc.

SUMMARY

So, there you have it! It will be interesting to see what the outcome will be of the appeal.

Gritt Koehl

Township of Cramahe Official Plan (draft)

County Road 21 East End Zoning 01

Proposed Lot Configuration

Background Infomation 

A consent application was filed on November 15, 2017 to sever three lots for residential development.  The application was assigned File Numbers B-18-17, B-19-17, and B-20-17.  Details of the application are available here in the May 7, 2018 LDAC report LDAC Report on Severances

The application came before the Land Division Advisory Committee on December 11, 2017.  It was attended by residents who opposed the applications.  A decision was deferred at this meeting pending a County Traffic study and the results of a Hydrogeological study.  Minutes of the December 11, 2017 meeting are available here December 11, 2017 LDAC Meeting Minutes .

A followup meeting of the LDAC was held May 7, 2018.  At this meeting there was a sense that the objections being raised by local residents were being ignored by the LDAC.  Here is a Peer Review of the Hydrogeological study that was done in support of the severances Hydrogeological Study Peer Review

Steven Cohrs and Glen Parsneau made a delegation to Council-in- Committee (Committee of the Whole) on May 22, 2018 opposing the severances.  The delegation can be read here Cohrs-Parsneau Delegation.  They also presented copies of a petition objecting to the severances signed by 40 local residents.

In an interesting development, Council had just listened to a presentation on the Township of Cramahe Official Plan Review and Update.  The presentation was made by Peter Josephs and Ken Hurford of EcoVue Consulting Services along with Himanshu Katyal the Cramahe Planner.  The presenters reviewed the overall structure, provincial updates, policies and mapping of the proposed update.  A transmittal letter from EcoVue is available here EcoVue Letter and a copy of the draft Official Plan can be read here Cramahe Official Plan (Draft).  Of particular note are the planning maps at the end of the Official Plan document.

When it came time to consider the consent application Council had a report from the Cramahe Planning Department Cramahe Planning Department Report and the LDAC report (see link above).  Then with little regard for the delegation, Council dismissed the need for a proper Hydrogeological survey and voted to approve the severances.  This despite the fact that the LDAC had recommended deferring a decision until the hydrogeological report was available (see LDAC Minutes of May 7 Meeting).