Council approves milestone agreements for Midhurst
It’s unanimous: Members of Springwater council cast their vote to let first phase of MSP begin
By Kate Harries AWARE News Network
In a momentous decision last week, Springwater Township Council authorized execution of an agreement to allow the Micks subdivision to proceed as well as an agreement requiring developers to pay for external infrastructure for all of the Midhurst Secondary Plan.
The 30-year Master External Infrastructure Agreement covers all eight plans of subdivision, totalling about 5,000 residential units, that received conditional approval from the Ontario Municipal Board in 2014.
The Micks subdivision east of Wilson Rd. and south of Rainbow Valley Rd. provides for 342 residential units in the first phase of development within the MSP area.
The vote was unanimous, with Councillor Jack Hanna, as previously announced, departing from his long-held stance – and the widely held expectation in Midhurst – that all OMB conditions must be satisfied before approvals could be granted and work begin on expansion of the village.
The June 17 2020 council meeting provided the public its first glimpse of agreements that have been the subject of negotiations with MSP developers and in camera meetings since a new council was elected in October 2018.
Reception of the milestone package of documents, listed on the agenda as item 8.2 under action reports, was muted. It was not pulled for discussion by any member of council. Mayor Don Allen provided no comment himself but asked Planning Director Brent Spagnol to do so.
Spagnol said the Micks agreement is “the first stage of a number of stage agreements to facilitate the implementation of the draft plan approvals that were established in 2014.” It reflects the fact that “the conditions for site alteration have been satisfied to staff’s satisfaction,” he said.
Spagnol called on lawyer Bruce Engell of Weir Foulds, “the main point person working on township’s behalf from a legal standpoint,” to elaborate.
Engell explained that the approach arising from the OMB’s 2014 draft approval does not reflect a conventional approach in which a subdivision agreement comes forward near the end of the process and just before registration of the plan and final approval.
“Because of the way the conditions were structured here, that isn’t the way it was designed,” Engell said.
The difference is that “the basic concept in approvals for all the (eight) plans was that the external infrastructure required to support those plans was going to be provided and paid for by the developers,” Engell said. “Staff felt that was important to have that agreement in place before we got the ball rolling on any of the subdivisions.”
Engell added that the developer also wanted approval for stage 2 but staff felt there are items that need further negotiation that can take place while site alteration proceeds. A stage 3 agreement, when it comes, would cover the building of the sewage treatment and water treatment plants.
The master infrastructure agreement is between the Corporation of the Township of Springwater and two groups of companies:
The “Carson Owners” of lands to the west of Highway 27, consisting of 1757688 Ontario Inc., 1757689 Ontario Inc., 1757690 Ontario Inc., 1757699 Ontario Inc., and1757704 Ontario Inc. and
The “Doran Owners” of lands to the east of 27, consisting of Midhurst Rose Alliance Inc., Midhurst Rose Alliance Clooney Inc., Midhurst Rose Alliance O’Brien Inc., Midhurst Development Doran Road Inc., 1754865 Ontario Inc., 1754866 Ontario Inc., and 1755571 Ontario Inc.
It requires the developers to construct the water, wastewater, transportation and other infrastructure required for the subdivisions in a “timely and cost-effective manner,” at no cost to the township.
There is provision to allow the developers to seek cost sharing from other landowners who may benefit from the infrastructure.
In a staff report to council, Spagnol states that the public interest has been protected through the completion of:
-the Midhurst Environmental Assessment process,
-a long-range financial plan,
-a comprehensive storm water management plan,
-a draft subdivision agreement,
-a draft external works agreement,
-detailed engineering design and
-an updated development charge by-law.
Spagnol states that the Micks agreement consists of 152 conditions “which are made up of overarching MSP conditions that are intended to protect the public interest on a community wide basis.” Other conditions reflect specific design requirements such as architectural controls and mailbox locations.
Securities in the amount of $883,408.04 are required for this stage of the agreement. That’s a portion of $2,560,603.00 required in site alteration security, an amount that may be reduced by the municipality on request from the developer.
“Once all three stages of the Subdivision Agreement have been executed and any outstanding final clearances obtained from review agencies and utility providers, the subdivision may be registered and the lots sold to individual owners,” Spagnol’s report states.
Council approval means that earth work and grading – but not servicing – will start for the Micks area, and continue for the next two or three months, Joe Mullen of Ainley and Associates, the township’s consultant for the project, told council. Equipment will access the site through a farm laneway off Carson Rd., he said.