Mika landowner files OMB appeals
By Chris Simon Innisfil Scope October 13 2010
A battle is brewing between the owners of the proposed Mika development, the Town of Innisfil and the County of Simcoe.
Meridian Planning Consultants, working on behalf of the owners of the proposed Mika subdivision lands, has filed appeals with the Ontario Municipal Board regarding the East and West sections of the large-scale development. The county, which has approval authority over subdivisions in the region, has failed to make a decision regarding the development in a timely manner, said Meridian partner Nick McDonald.
“Given that the lands are currently designated for development in the town’s Official Plan, the principle of development on the lands has been established,” he said, in a letter to the OMB. “The landowner has waited patiently for the town to process the applications and provide the county with recommended conditions of approval. The applicant has waited over three years for a decision. The landowner has no choice but to appeal both (East and West) plans for a more speedy resolution.”
In response, town council has granted permission for municipal staff, lawyers and consultants to attend hearings related to the appeal. Staff have also been instructed to take the necessary steps to defend the town’s ‘interests’ in the matter.
“Because of the changes proposed to the Mika East draft plan, including the provision of an additional connection to Lockhart Road, the county instructed the town that a second public meeting for Mika East was required,” said planning, safety and community services director Kerry Columbus. “The town set a date to discuss the changes and allow a second forum for public input. At the developer’s request, the meeting was cancelled. The developer has now appealed both applications.”
The proposed development is located within the Sandy Cove settlement area, near the Lockhart Road and 25th Sideroad intersection. If completed as planned, the large-scale development would include hundreds of residential units, a retirement campus and commercial business space.
Neighbours have expressed concerns over about the potential impact on the area’s water system, stemming from an incident that occurred at the site nearly eight years ago. During the construction of underground services on the site at that time, a major disruption to nearby privately owned wells occurred, causing many to dry up. The town was forced to ship bottled water to affected residents, while the subdivision owner was encouraged to drill new wells and design construction techniques aimed at minimizing water table disturbances.
The disruption caused construction on the site to be shelved until now.
“There will be a lot of public interest in this,” said councillor Lynn Dollin. “I suggest we put somewhere on the town’s website when the dates are set for pre-hearings and hearings, and where they’re scheduled.”
McDonald says the landowner is willing to work with the town and county to resolve outstanding issues.
“The time it has taken for the approval authority to make a decision on the application is not acceptable, and clearly not in keeping with the provisions of the Planning Act,” he said. “It is expected that a satisfactory resolution of the appeal is possible, with a concerted effort made by all parties.”