Thursday, December 8, 2022
Politics2019-Jun-26 Public Planning - Phase 2 Shining Hill Development

2019-Jun-26 Public Planning – Phase 2 Shining Hill Development

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Planning Application: PDS19-060 – Application for Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment and Draft Plan of Subdivision Shining Hill Estate Collections Inc., 306, 370, 434 and 488 St. John’s Sideroad West, File Number: OPA-2018-01, ZBA-2018-02 and SUB-2018-02

Documents: Public Planning Report No. PDS19-060 (PDF) | Public Planning Meeting Minutes (PDF)

Mayor Mrakas in the Chair

Council Members: Cllr Gaertner, Cllr Gilliland, Cllr Humfryes, Cllr Kim, Cllr Thompson (departed 8:45 p.m.)
Members Absent: Cllr Gallo

Watch full meeting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzb6BtWKmi0

Presentation by the Town Planner

“Mr. Sean Lapenna, Planner, presented an overview of the application and staff report respecting the proposal: to amend the Official Plan designations of OPA 37 that apply to the subject properties from the Suburban Residential (SR), Suburban Residential (SR-1), Core Area Open Space, and Supporting Area Open Space designations to Suburban Residential (SR-2) and Core Area Open Space; and to rezone the subject lands from Oak Ridges Moraine Rural General (RU-ORM) to Detached Third Density Residential Exception Zone, Oak Ridges Moraine Environmental Protection (EP-ORM) and Public Open Space (O1); to accommodate a future residential development block consisting of 92 single-family dwelling lots fronting a private condominium road, two landscaped buffers, road widening, open space block, stormwater management pond, and natural heritage system.”

Watch presentation by the Town Planner here (starts at 00:06:42): https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=402

At 00:06:42 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=402 Town Planner, “Thank you for attending tonight’s scheduled statutory public meeting for Official Plan Amendment Application OPA-2018-01, Zoning By-law Amendment ZBA-2018-02 and Plan of Subdivision Application SUB-2018-02, otherwise known by its project name Shining Hill Estates Collection Incorporated.

The purpose of this presentation is to provide Council and residents with information as it relates to aforementioned application submitted for development proposal at 306, 370, 434 and 488 St. John’s Sideroad West, the subject lands. The proposed Official Plan amendment, Zoning By-law amendment and Draft Plan of subdivision applications have been submitted in order to accommodate the following: a future residential development consisting of 92-single family dwelling lots with 50 to 60 foot wide lots each along a private condominium road, two landscape buffers, a road widening, an open space block, a storm water management pond and a Natural Heritage System.

The subject lands are comprised of four separate parcels as mentioned municipally recognized as 306, 370, 434 and 488 St. John’s Sideroad West. The properties are located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Yonge Street and St. John’s Sideroad West. The subject lands currently have a combined lot area of of 31.30 hectares which is roughly 77.34 acres with a combined lot frontage of 185 m and average lot depth of 402 m. The proposed applications will be reviewed against the following provincial, regional and municipal policies: the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, the York Region Official Plan, the Town of Aurora Official Plan, the Town of Aurora Zoning By-law, and other applicable municipal plans and by-laws. The existing Official Plan designations that apply to the subject properties under OPA 37 are suburban residential, suburban residential one, core area open space and supporting area open space. The subject lands are currently zoned Oak Ridges Moraine Rural General. The owner has applied to amend the Official Plan designations that apply to the subject properties under OPA 37 from the suburban residential, suburban residential SR-1, core area open space and supporting area open space designations to suburban residential SR-2 and core area open space. Suburban residential SR-2 is a newly proposed site specific designation requested by the applicant within the site-specific policy area intended to be comprised of fully serviced single detached residential lots with frontages generally greater than 15 meters in areas generally grater than 500 square meters. This designation would still be subject to the applicable policies of OPA 37. Accessory uses in home occupations which are accessory and subsidiary to the residential use incompatible with the residential environment may also be permitted. The core area open space designation within OPA 37 allow states that these lands shall be comprised of open space, approved storm water management outlets, and approved road, and municipal service crossings. Other passive recreation uses may also be permitted. Development in proximity to these core area open space lands shall protect and respect the existing natural edges, provides slope stabilization and if desirable and necessary provide trails and open space management programs. Lands designated core area open space are comprised of two interrelated ecological elements, the riparian corridor and the highest quality vegetation communities. The applicant has applied to rezone the subject lands from Oak Ridges Moraine Rural General to detached third density residential exception zone and Oak Ridges Moraine environmental protection as well as public open space. Detached third density residential zoning primarily allows for detached dwellings, second suites and home occupations with a minimum lot area of 460 meters square per single detached dwelling lot. A site specific zoning has been proposed with site specific standards. A portion of the site is proposed to be rezoned to detached third density residential exception zone to accommodate residential component of the development proposal that being 92 single detached dwelling lots. As referenced earlier the proposal in its current form is a follows: Block 1: A future residential development consisting 92 single-family dwellings along a private condominium road; Block 2: A Landscape Buffer; Block 3: A Landscape Buffer, Block 4: A Road Widening, Block 5: Open Space, Block 6: Storm water Management pond and Block 7: A Natural Heritage System. This is the proposed lot pattern to accommodate the aforementioned 92 single detached dwelling lots along a private condominium road.

A first submission has been circulated and reviewed. The following items require further discussion: overall suitability and appropriateness of proposed development, the zoning provisions proposed, conformity to the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, conformity to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, compatibility in comparison to character of existing area, considerations with respect to any existing environmental features, and storm water management. Planning staff summarized comments from the public are as follows: the entrance leading to the site is on a steep grade portion of St. John’s and is potentially unsafe; safety (traffic along St. John’s Sideroad West); active transportation in the way of bicycle lanes, trails and sidewalks need to be considered as part of this development, and preservation of green space. Staff will undertake a technical review of the subject applications addressing the outlined matters as well as the comments received at this evening’s Public Planning meeting.

A comprehensive report with recommendations and options will be presented for consideration and direction at a future General Committee meeting. The applicant is is attendance this evening and will be making their own presentation. They’ll also be available to answer any questions anybody may have.”

Aerial View – Google Maps

Shining Hill Estate Collections Inc., Presentation by Don Given

“Consultant Mr. Don Given, President of Malone Given Parsons Ltd., presented an overview of the application including original and revised submission plans, site attributes, land ownership, trail connections, and requested amendments.”

Watch presentation by the applicant here (starts at 00:14:43): https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=883

At 00:14:43 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=883 “The proposal that the staff have explained to you, I think it is going to be a very attractive addition to the Town.”

“This property that you see outlined in yellow is part of a larger property that is owned by the same owner. It extends into Newmarket. As you can see it’s a combination of wooded areas and fields. What we’re proposing in this phase is what we’re calling Phase 2, because there’s already a site that has been developed or is being developed in the north end of the green area that you see there.”

At 00:15:54 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=954 “This is a plan that we originally submitted. It’s not dramatically different from the one that we’re asking you to consider. But when we submitted and it was circulated we had two entrances coming in off St. John’s. When the Region reviewed it, they’ve asked us to reduce that to one entrance. And I know you have a record of a concern by a resident about the steep grade and the danger […]. I think by moving the entrance way to a single entrance we’ve already addressed that concern because we’re putting the entrance now where there is a visibility to take care of the concern that we heard from that resident. But the plan itself is condominium form, 50 and 60 foot lots. All intended to be a part of the complex that allows for people in this community and Newmarket to stay in the Town but buy something that they can lock up and leave and go down to their place in Florida or something like that. It’s a type of housing that we’ve heard is desired. It’s a kind of location that suits that desire with a wonderful backdrop of the wooded area. We think that it’s going to be a very attractive place to live.”

At 00:17:06 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=1026 “The work that we’ve done has shown us where the development features are. The Conservation Authority has walked this property and staked it. You can see that there are some fields north of what we’re showing in yellow, those are fields that are below what we’d consider to be a develop-able limit. And we have respected that and all of that land that you see to the north, which is private today will come into public ownership. And I know there’s an interest in your staff, probably yourselves and seeing how we’d deal with trails. We would be looking at your input to provide guidance on how to locate trails through this area. It’s a very attractive wooded area and it will extend to the north up to Newmarket, tie-in to the trail system that is being planned for that area.”

At 00:17:49 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=1069 “Just to summarize some of the thinking. We’ve got 92 single-family lots, we are proposing 50 and 60 foot lots, could accommodate bungalow type housing or 2-story housing. There is interest in the market for some downsizing. We think that this type of property would be excellent for that. One of the things I want to point out when I was talking about the fields is that you can see in your existing Official Plan in that green area that’s shown with the roads running through it north of our red line. All that in your Official Plan was anticipated to be developed. We won’t be developing it. Those lands are below what we consider to be a develop-able limit. They will come into the ownership of the municipality. Your Official Plan re-designation that we’re asking for is just for the purple area to change the limitation that we could only have 70 foots. We’d like to go down to 50 foots and we are having a balance of 50 and 60 foot lots.”

At 00:18:57 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=1137The zoning is pretty straightforward. Your staff already identified that. What we’re asking you to consider here is the amendment to allow for those lots to be reduced to 50 or 60 feet and the size of the lots to be 5000 meters square. I think that’s still a very large lot in today’s market. I think it’s going to be a nice addition to the quality of the housing that’s already in this area and the zoning is pretty straightforward. It’s a type of zoning you’ve used before elsewhere in this municipality. Nothing unusual being requested to there.”

Source: Public Planning Report No. PDS19-060, Page 18/38

Public Comments (First Round)

Public comments by Aurora residents: Joseph Avolio, Amy Babak, Martin Bressel, Pierre Geoffroy, Gordon Logan, Joe Lourelro, Marie Lourelro, Nella Mauceri, Bill Reynolds, Jintao Shen, and Sydney Singroy.

At 00:19:44 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=1184 resident, “I’d very much like to know what the impact will be for traffic on St. John’s. I’d like to know if there’s an intention to have a light where that entrance would be. We already have tremendous difficulty turning left from our side of the street which is opposite to where the proposed building is. We see traffic now all the time. It’s also my impression that St. John’s has been over built from Leslie to Bathurst and now we’re going to see additional buildings popping up. There’s virtually no more green space so for people like myself who moved to Aurora for the green space we’ve simply ran out and we’re just going to run out further. The other thing is we know that there are a lot of animals there because we live right across the street from there and we know, because we hear the wolves and the coyotes howling at night. I want to know how this building is going to affect that as well as all the other animals that we see, wild turkeys for instance etc etc all the things that we normally see around here. I think those are a few of my questions but I have great concern that ware over building and that St. John’s which is already congested, very noisy for all of us, is just going to be more congested more dangerous and more noisy. Thank you.”

At 00:20:01 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=1201 resident, “Back of our property is directly across the street from the development. So in addition to what was just stated I will say that I’ve been a resident of Aurora now for 30 years and I’ve lived in our existing property for 20 of those years. At that time St. John’s Sideroad was a rough type of road. There was no heavy commercial vehicles, transport trucks allowed along the road. It was posted and signed for that. And I believe back in sometime around 2007-2008 a project was undertaken to widen the road and then Brentwood Estates was built as well as some other homes in that area. During that time frame we actually, because our property is directly onto St. John’s, the noise level increased probably about three to fourfold just due to the construction equipment. But the dust was incredible along the area and that I’m talking about the Brentwood Estate development area. They also required sewage work to be done that ran underneath a walkway adjacent to our home. And you know there was tremendous smells coming from the sewer. After all of this was done and the whole walkway has now cracked in half and nothing has been done for probably 13 or 14 years. So these are just antidotal type of experiences that we’ve had. We also have noticed the amount of congestion on the road now. If any morning 7:30 8 o’clock you choose to drive eastbound on St. John’s and approach Yonge Street, you will have a very difficult time trying to get through the lights. Likewise if you try to westbound on St. John’s now, traffic will be backed up way up and over top of the crest of the hill down to where we’re talking about having an entrance. So I think that although that is a steep grade I am sure mitigation plans can be put in place to accommodate the traffic but it is going to entail a widening of the road and we would not be in support of doing that. I think the other thing to consider is that people always talk about property values and you know one would argue that it would enhance the property value because of nice condominiums going across the street, but I know from experience with MPAC it actually causes us to now have to pay more money in our municipal taxes and I would say that the property value will diminish as a result of having expansion across the way. So I can also speak about the animals. The floor of the fauna and you know everything that we experience and we certainly have heard the coyotes and the wolves, we actually enjoy that at night in October night when you have the windows open and you can hear the yipping of the coyotes. Since Brentwood has gone in we don’t hear that anymore. We used have deer actually in our backyard. We haven’t seen a deer in probably 15 years now. So those are just some of the issues I know that there’s river that runs through this property and there’s pond down there. I don’t know what’s going to happen to all of that but I think that’s an essential attribute of the property. I would also say that the amount of forest coverage is going to be a significant issue and I believe that York Region has a lofty goals of 25 to 35 percent coverage in the York Region. Aurora is probably just coming close to meeting that scale and if we’re going to dinu this property to build that’s going to affect negatively the overall plan for green space coverage. So I think the green space we’re hearing more and more about it with environmental concerns and global warming and how important it is, I think that you know those are issues that need to be considered in this development. I know that I’ve talked to people on our street and no one is actually happy about this development. No one is looking forward to spending the next two or three years with construction equipment and it starts at 7 or 7:30 in the morning with stuff being dropped off of large transport trucks and people don’t use cranes anymore, they just tilt the bed and drop it and when it go slamming down everybody in the neighbourhood hears. I would say that the dust, the noise and everything else we can no longer sit out in our backyards and have a barbecue or do anything in the evenings because the amount of traffic that’s going by it’s just a constant buzz of noise. So I think all of these things you know go to the fact that this is part of the green space development, the Oak Ridges Moraine. I think when Dalton McGuinty was elected in 2003 it was on the basis that he was going to get rid of development on Oak Ridges Moraine. This appears not to be the case and even in Aurora. I’ve seen development occur on properties within the green spaces that should never have been built on and this is one that I would like to see not built on. Not to this degree. I’m not against development but I certainly don’t want to see it to this degree and especially with the frontage, no trees. It’s gonna look stark.”

At 00:27:28 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=1648 resident, “My main concern like the other two people, is the traffic on St. John’s Sideroad. I disagree respectfully with Mr. Given that having one entrance to St. John’s will be a solution. The solution is having no entrance to St. John’s. The road is extremely congested. It is impossible for me to make a left-hand turn in the morning. I take my life into my hands. Every time our children cross St. John’s to access the south side of St. John’s I’m constantly worried that someone is going to die. As a former coroner for York Region I have investigated many motor vehicle fatalities and I’m going to tell you empirically it’s only a matter of time before somebody dies on St. John’s. It is a very dangerous road and adding another 96 homes is not the solution. It’s going to make the problem ten times worse. Two years ago the residents of Brentwood petition the Town of Aurora to put a crosswalk at Woodland Hills so that our residents can have access to the south part of St. John’s and access the riding trails. For some reason the town refused to do that and that would be another thing I’m going to bring up with the Town because now having these homes here is just gonna make the problem a million times worse. I want my son to be able to cross St. John’s safely on his bike. I don’t want to have to worry every time he crosses that road that he’s going to get killed. The other issue and I’m assuming there’s no representative from the region of York here, unfortunately the St. John’s Sideroad as you know is under municipality of York Region. The posted speed limit is 60 and cars are whipping by at 80-100 km/h. That’s another huge issue, is the speed on that road. People are not respecting the speed limits which is maybe not the issue for today to discuss it. But it’s part of the issue and the problem that we’re dealing with on St. John’s Sideroad. So I’m not sure if the plan is to have a traffic light there. To be honest I’d prefer that because if there’s a traffic light at the entrance to the subdivision at least it can stop some of the traffic that’s coming west. But if there is no traffic light it’s just gonna make the issue even harder and it will be a safety issue not for the existing residents that live off the St. John’s but for the people that are buying in that subdivision as well. I’m hoping the town will look at this and consider it and also consider the safety and thinking about putting some crosswalks so that our children can be safe. As you understand the town has a duty and a responsibility for the safety of its residents. Thank you.”

At 00:30:46 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=1846 resident, “Not to repeat of what a lot of predecessors have said. Maybe I’m just not clear but the lot sizes on this proposed property I think you had said from a town perspective supposed to mirror and reflect the area. I don’t know anywhere in that area there are 50 or 60 foot lots. Certainly not on St. John’s, certainly not on Brentwood, certainly not behind south. So I just challenge the proposal even from the beginning that there should be 50 60 and at least reduced a number of houses if anything in that area because that property values that they talked about is not that property value that we have in that area.”

At 00:31:43 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=1903 resident, “I agree with everybody’s comments regarding the wildlife protection, and because of the noise we wanted to understand is there considerations for giving us some kind of buffer or something that will protect those residents like someone said you can’t even have a BBQ in your backyard now days. It’s pretty bad. I moved here 6 years ago thinking it was a beautiful country road now it’s a major highway. So I think this will definitely add to the noise factor, safety I echo that and certainly seen situations or people coming down the hill you can’t even turn into our road. People will cut you ff and almost crash right into you because you’re turning. So it’s definitely a consideration, 92 more houses it going to be a problem and I echo of course the conservation about the area. Can we keep some of the natural setting like the trees on St. John’s Sideroad and are we going to just level everything like we did by Leslie. There’s no trees left. If there’s anyway to protect some of that even on the road itself to keep that feel of it’s a country road. Maybe that’s a consideration as well.”

At 00:33:18 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=1998 resident, “What I would like to raise is my concern, eluded in the presentation, is St. John’s Sideroad and the slope of the street going eastbound, specifically eastbound. I take that road on the regular basis. We’ve lived in the area over 15 years now and between the various weather conditions that we experienced over the course of the winter between icy roads and snow roads we’ve seen, I’ve seen multiple cars in the ditch as we descend on that slope heading eastbound and well we recognized there’s been an effort to try and reduce the entrance way from two to one, there still is a significant danger and we’re just gonna be increasing the danger by having more vehicles coming in and out of the nighbourhood as they’re heading out of this new development. So my concern is we’re significantly increasing the risk of accidents happening in this area due to that. I allude to myself just driving down there in the morning. We’ve had a lot of mornings with freezing rain and I can’t even drive on the road, I have to have one tire on the soft shoulder to make it safely down the street. So my concern is that this is going to create more issues on that front. When I head out anytime between 6:30 and 8:30 in the morning as we turn left from Cliff Trail on St. John’s Sideroad there’s also a significant amount of traffic and we’ve really seen a significant increase over the last 3 years, specifically in this area. So I’m waiting there sometimes for 3 or 4 minutes just to try and get out of my neighbourhood and by increasing more of the houses taking place here in this new development my concern is that it’s just kind of increased significantly as well. So I’d like to raise that as well. Our children have also been taking buses that have come along St. John’s Sideroad and as they come westbound and over crest over the top of the hill and the buses are stopping for that we’ve also seen issues with the cars driving right through the buses with the lights flashing and with very many close calls that cars are screeching with their wheels as they come over the crest of the hill with cars just stopped right away and as you come over the hill that speed we know cars are driving past, they’re at 70, 80, 90 km/hr very very quickly as they cross across that hillside. So we have to even be careful when we’re coming out of our neighbourhood and even sometimes heading westbound I’ve even headed westbound to turn around to make a safe turn on that front. So by adding these extra 92 homes with the vehicles coming out, my concern is that is going to be even more dangerous for the people in the area. So it’s a safety for the many people that are living at existing homes in the area but many people travelling along. I think this development will pose a significant risk to our local town. So that’s my concern with this development.

At 00:36.58 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=2218 resident, “I would just like to echo the comments made by the other members of the public. Firstly, I would like to talk about the safety of the increased traffic that’s running on St. John’s Sideroad I’ve actually seen. I’ve only been here for one year and I’ve seen teenagers and young people crossing the road and going through my property which just tells me that what kind of hindsight for these kids going to be when there’s going to be proposed road widening and increased traffic to the area. So I would like to know more details on how you’re going to develop the area and if you’re going to provide a safe place for people wanting to go south or north on St. John’s Sideroad. Also I’d like to know the impact on the road widening has on the existing trees because my property backs right up on the St. John’s Sideroad. I know there is some area of the property that’s already being allotted for the road widening but I would like to know specific details on the amount that you’re going to widen the road and the design. So if there’s going to be any flattening of the road or if there’s going to be any sidewalk put down or if there’s going to be any more traffic lights. And I would like to know if the trees are going to be affected as cutting down the trees right next to my property will decrease the privacy and increase the noise and pollution to the properties that backup onto St. John’s Sideroad. And also just finally I’d like to say that in the morning if there’s an increased amount of traffic coming they’ll all be going towards the highway or going to try and access Bathurst, so it would be very difficult for me to turn left onto St. John’s Sideroad in the morning as I need to access Yonge Street. I would like that to be part of the considerations of development.”

At 00:39:54 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=2394 resident, “I would like to echo my residential colleagues and well said about safety but one thing I would like to point out is the issue of safety they’ve already been raised are only going to be exacerbated by 91 other homes. And if you think of where the current residents are the only way we can get to services walking in Aurora is to cross St. John’s Sideroad. It’s a 60 km/hr road. So we take our lives in our hands to use the trails, we take our lives in our hands to walk across the street to use the services on a bike or a walk. There’s nothing in this plan as far as I can make at the moment that those the residents who will be in the 91 homes to cross the road in a way that’s safe unless they’re very fast at 60 km/hr and it’s not going to get any easier. So I’d like to know, there’s no pathway on St. John’s Sideroad as you know, it’s an open road. The only way I can get to any of the shops for instance in Aurora is to go down the trails which are great but the problem is I’ve to get across that road and if you’ve got children it’s very difficult. It’s already very difficult. So I think with 91 homes, unless there’s a way guaranteeing some safe way of us crossing that road it’s gonna be very difficult already. It’s already very difficult. I think it’s gonna be even worse in time to come.”

Public Comments (First Round) – Answers

At 00:41:47 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=2507 Mayor Mrakas, “Traffic lights, road widening, crosswalk, those are all regional matters. It’s a regional road. As your Regional representative I will ensure that I go and I speak to our Commissioner at the region and look at what they are looking at doing. I can tell you from being there that it is not in any future plans at the moment, but I will definitely. I can see that there needs to be some kind of crosswalk or some way for residents to get from one side to the other. I definitely see that. As your Regional representative I will bring that to the regional table and I will ensure that we can try to get something from that perspective to make sure that the residents can cross safely. Unfortunately, we have no say on those matters at this table.”

Mr. Waters on traffic impacts: “Traffic impacts will be addressed through the transportation study that has been submitted by the applicant so such factors as whether there’s a light required, you know active transportation in terms of bike paths, pedestrian crossings will be all addressed through the transportation study which will be reviewed by the region of York.”

At 00:43:00 Mayor Mrakas, “how will this impact wildlife in the area?” Mr. Water’s responds https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=2580: “There is a Natural Heritage Study that’s been submitted with the application that will be reviewed by the Region and also by the Conservation Authority and it’s intended to protect the natural heritage that’s there today.”

Mayor Mrakas, “Any buffer for the residents being supplied?” Mr. Given answers: “On the west side, there was the last lady that spoke was concerned about the trees. We have intended to protect those trees. The lots are deep enough that we would have lots of room for a house sighting and not touch the trees. It was very deliberate way in which we organized the plan and the trees along the north side of St. John’s will be protected by a six meter wide strip of land that goes beyond the road widening to protect those trees. With respect to the widening of the road we’re thinking it’s about a five meter to six meter widening on the north side that’s necessary, that will go to the Region. The Region still have to confirm that but I would expect that because my client owns all the land that’s before you today plus land all the way up to Yonge Street. We have the capability to deliver a sidewalk on the north side through that process and with respect to a signal as you’ve pointed out correctly it is a regional issue. We are expecting that kind of question will be taken up with the region through their review whether we can expect a signal in this location to break up the flow of traffic. If that happens it would help with people’s safe crossing of the roadway but is also gives you a break in the traffic flow so that you can be able to make a safe exit from some of the other roadways. It starts to give you gaps in the traffic then because you’re breaking up the traffic.”

Continues at 00:44:45 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=2685: “You have asked about the Natural Heritage System and the protection of the animals. We are not touching any of the natural heritage, just if anything we are growing it, because we cannot touch the actual feature which is the trees and the wetlands but we also have to add a 30 meter buffer to that and that 30 meter buffer will be vegetated and restored so that it expands on the Natural Heritage System. And in talking with the conservation authority they are supportive of that. They have made it very clear that from their perspective that if we protect the Natural Heritage System there are no natural heritage issues that they would be concerned about.”

At 00:45:27 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=2727 Mr. Given, “Just on the wildlife, I live on 200 acres, I have deer, I have coyotes. I love them too. They are not an urban type of animal though and even though some of them are getting quite bold and coming down driveways, we would not be changing that habitat, we would still have all of that intact.

About lot sizes and how they compare to the surrounding area: “Well there got to be a context for this. We are working in what is called the within the built boundary. So I will get to your question but I want to give you the context. Within built boundary we’re supposed to be doing intensification. So we have opportunities if we wanted to take them to do something quite denser. Here we’ve chosen not to.”

“We’ve tried to find a balance between doing something that would comply with that direction from the province and something that would fit within what I know to be the mood of your Council and the residents. And we’ve ended up with these larger lots 50 and 60 foot lots today. They are estate lots. They are selling just as a lot for a million bucks or more. So we’re trying to find a point of price that fits within the market. I don’t think when we see the planting that we’re going to do, the fencing that we’re going to do, because we have to do some acoustic fencing along the north side. Those houses will even not be seen from the street. But with respect to the sizes I think we do fit in. I’ve never had to match from one side of a regional road to another side of a regional road with lot size. The only ones I would be worry about would be on the west side where we kept a big tree buffer.”

Public Comments (Second Round)

At 00:47:22 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=2842: resident, “Respectfully I think that the amount of building has taken place on St. John’s Sideroad from one end to other has dramatically impacted us all who live there. There is traffic, traffic, traffic. When I leave my windows open at night I hear traffic all the time. It never used to be like that, 92 homes plus the years of building and the dirt that we’ve had to endure at end of St. John’s and at Leslie it’s not acceptable Mr. Mayor. We can’t do this again, and again, and again. We’ve been here for 12 years. We’ve lived through Davis Drive construction, we lived through Yonge Street, we lived through Leslie, we lived through St. John’s. Enough I say! We’ve had enough construction. No more I say. This is impacting us who have been here for a great number of years. I’ve been here for 15 years and all I’ve seen is construction, construction, construction. All I’ve seen is destroying the beautiful fields. There are no more cows, there are no more horses. The hills have been taken away from Leslie Street. It’s a disaster, it’s a nightmare and now what is being proposed is more houses, more destruction, more traffic, more noise. Enough I say. Stop this project! No more! Thank you.”

Mayor Mrakas, “No applause please.”

At 00:49:08 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=2948: resident, “I thank you Mr. Mayor for taking our cause towards crosswalks because to me that’s my main issue and my concern is the safety. And I just want to add, I forgot to mention that when the Town approved the development of St. John’s further east all those homes have access to a safe way to get onto St. John’s. We are the only stretch between Bathurst and Yonge that have no way to safely to get on to St. John’s sideroad. We’re basically are locked in, so I really feel that’s an important issue and not just for Shining Hill development but for us even before this development takes place. We need to be able to safely cross that road. Thank you.”

At 00:50:06 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=3006: resident, “Just two comments. So the north side because there is a lot of noise and acoustic barrier would really be helpful because they’ve done that in a lot of locations. I’ve seen it in Markham and it helps the local residents. And the other issue, so we’ve talked about the traffic light for the entrance but if you think about it all that’s going to back up the traffic that’s already free-flowing. So they’re gonna be waiting and then you’re gonna have local residents leaving the neighbourhood, when that light turns you got what a huge mess of traffic coming after that. So bottom line the two lanes that are there now can’t accommodate the existing traffic and if you add all of these other homes we’re just gonna add to the problem. I’m not against the development. I’m just look at the existing situation and I think it’s not gonna make it better. Thank you.”

At 00:51:21 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=3081: resident, “I think there’s been a lot of attention about traffic and that’s understandable. I think there are so many other issues involved here too. We talked about noise. We’ve lived through all of that noise for 20 years so I think I’m a fairly good advocate to be able to talk about that level of noise. I know the construction is a dirty and filthy process. Very noisy in its own and it will carry on for at least two years given the magnitude of what you’re trying to do. You know the admirable comment that there will be, what is it, a six meter buffer of trees. That actually is just a little less than halfway between or probably a little more than halfway between myself and you. So to me that is not a buffer, that’s you know, somebody trying to placate someone. And we’ve talked about you know putting up noise barriers on the north side and no one has talked about the south side. And you know, I think that there’s a great number of people who would benefit from some form of reduction in the noise. As I say my quality of life has diminished tremendously, you know, probably in the last 10 to 13 years based on development that’s already occurred and when we talk about, you know, the animal situation and the comment that there won’t be any disruption, I’ll just give you a story. I used to have come home from work along Leslie to St. John’s at night time and when all of that deforestation occurred to develop the homes I remember seeing raccoons walking across the street in a total quandary, not really understanding where their home just went. I remember another night driving home and there was a deer standing at the side of the road. It looked like it was lost because this whole forest had been just taken apart. So I’m going to disagree that this will not have any impact on wildlife. That is a major thoroughfare for animals travelling from the west of Aurora, through, you know, to the Nokiidaa Trail area is, you know, populated. So I do believe that there is a fair amount of wildlife. You can’t see them in the day when you walk through there, but we see them at night time. We have foxes running through our neighbourhood as well. I think there’s a lot of development discussion going on here and typically when developers come into town they don’t even live near here. They develop, they sell, then make huge profit and then they’re gone. And the township will probably pick up the cost of everything from sewers and everything else that goes with it. And that affects my tax base and as I mentioned earlier I think this property is going to affect my tax base in the future because of impact and it will also affect negatively the value of my home because of the increase in density population. So I don’t agree that a 50-foot lot is commensurate with our environment. One of the reasons we bought where we did had an opportunity in our lives to do that and we chose to. And the property is much bigger. These will be small homes and I think it’s all based on profit someone developing the area. So those are my comments and I thank you.”

At 00:54:53 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=3293 resident, “My house has an odd configuration where the front of the house actually faces the St. John’s Sideroad. This spring I had plant 150 cedar trees try to help to minimize the noise. It is a serious problem. My neighbours echoed that issue and I think something needs to be done about it. And I’m not against development but how much and at what cost to the people who already living there. I have been living there from inception of Brentwood estates and I have seen the traffic just become so congested. In the morning I have to take my granddaughter to school and it takes about five minutes to make a left turn and sometimes I have to run the gauntlet or else I don’t get to take her on time. That’s all. I don’t know what you are going to do about the widening of the road. Currently the trees next to my property are both tow feet or three feet from the ditch. And these are big old oak trees, not oak, maple trees. They are old. I don’t know what you will do, take them apart and that would not be nice. That’s all.”

At 00:56:49 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=3409 resident, “Just a follow up for this discussion. I appreciate hearing the background from the Town and from Mr. Given as well. There was a reference that the region is responsible for the traffic study. And if you could just give some contacts that we could understand when will that study take place. When will the results be available and will this be followed up with in a future Town meeting so we can understand what the implications of this would be. Thank you.”

At 00:57:41 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=3461 resident, “Yes, I moved to Aurora three years ago from China. We spend lots of money and energy because China has lot of pollution, lots of the construction. When we moved here somebody told me that Aurora is a beautiful Town but now when I drive on the Wellington and Leslie, lots of construction, lots of dust, lots of them and noisy. So why do we do the kind of same thing as China? Just my question.”

At 00:58:38 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=3518 resident, “About the traffic study. I petition the municipality of York two years ago. […]. They did do a traffic assessment and they claimed that everything was fine. I also had complained about the speed limit on St. John’s because the posted speed limit is 60. When I complained to the Town they said it’s a York Region issue. So I went to the York Region and for a while they put that radar that tells you how fast you’re going. I am like oh great they are taking this seriously. But then all of sudden nothing happened. The speed limit on St. John’s is more than on Yonge Street, maybe I’m wrong about that, but I think people can go faster on a street where we’re crossing and our kids are crossing then they can go on Yonge Street. So that was done two years ago. I think it needs to be done again but particularly pending this development plan. I also had petition the York Region police to try to catch speeders on St. John’s and they said they don’t have a safe area where they can pull cars over. So if you ever want to speed do it on a street where there is no little side area where they can pull you over. So the bottom line is the police really don’t have a lot to help us with speeding and people tailgating you. And I am turning right on St. John’s somebody’s right on my butt almost gonna rear-end me. It happened many times. Maybe the good thing part of this development plan is to get another traffic assessment on St. John’s. Thank you.”

Public Comments (Second Round) – Answers

At 01:00:44 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=3644 Mayor Mrakas, “When will the traffic study be complete and will it be coming back in a future report with the results?” Mr. Waters, “the applicant has submitted the traffic study. It is now under review. Any revisions or any comments that our issue will be sent back to the applicant for to be addressed and then when we come back with a report we’ll have a summary of the results of the traffic impact study and any comments that have been issued by the agencies.”

Mayor Mrakas, “and as far your question once again I’ll speak to staff at the regional level and look at possibly speed that’s there, the warrants that would look at possibly putting in traffic lights or crosswalks and we can look at it. See what we can do it at that level ensure that we can try to get a safe passage for our residents.” “I will now close the public section of the meeting.”

Council Questions to the Applicant

At 01:01:56 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=3716 Cllr Humfryes, “Couple of things, you have mentioned that the proposal is to have one exit out of this new development onto St. John’s. Is there an alternative where you have no exits and use Yonge Street or you know, to get out. If we have none, because this street is incredibly congested and I’m worried not matter what we do it’s just gonna get really worse. Is there any alternative design that you could use, maybe a Yonge Street exit.

Mr. Given responds, “We have looked at that. The lands to the east are as I said earlier are own by the same applicant and the problem is that we would have to cross through provincially significant wetland areas to get to this property from the east and we’ve always been told that if you can find another way to get to a property you do that instead of going through a wetland. That’s the provincial policy.”

Cllr Humfryes, “That’s fair. Is there any other great solution to avoid getting onto St. John’s would be really, really appreciated. The other thing is the lots going to be 50-60 foot lots. I hear what you’re saying, I mean it could be a lot worse, but I know that area and the larger lots would be in my opinion more suitable. I know you’re saying you have never done this crossing a regional road but just in terms of the area itself, it’s a beautiful area and you know we heard about a lot about the green space being lost unfortunately, it’s just a shame. But if there’s any way that your owner would consider larger lots, premium lots and really sell it as an exquisite estate environment. I think would help the area very much, it suits, it is a beautiful piece of land and I think my personal opinion they would do very well in that case. But I just thought I’d leave it with you. I don’t know if they consider that or not.

“If we do have to use St. John’s, you mentioning about the sidewalk. That you’re willing to put a sidewalk along the north side of the St. John’s? Is that what you were mentioning earlier. Mr. Given, “We are expecting a road widening as required. The region’s Official Plan shows us that this is a future 36 meter right away, I think it’s a 30 today. And when they do take a right away like that, it gives you the flexibility to do, want more traffic lanes, which I think is what the region’s headed towards, but it also give you the ability to do something above the curb that can be landscaped, and can be a sidewalk. So that’s what we’ve anticipated. We are still waiting for regional comments on it though.”

Cllr Humfryes, “Thank you, I mean anything you can do from that perspective and enhancement. Also I know it could be probably a regional issue but noise buffer wall, anything of that nature to help the residents. Anything that your owner would want to do to make it better for the existing neighbourhood would be much appreciated and I know you can get it done because you are good at what you do.”

“Tree protection? There’s a lot of existing trees we mentioned, a neighbour that’s got some old trees in the area and I know you’re good at doing that as well. Is there any way that we can do our best to build these homes with the existing tree line or trees around the area without as much disruption as possible? You see what happened on this side of town and I’m no offence but it’s hard to look at that, so if there’s anything you can do to keep the existing trees while building those homes. Again it’s just the type of area and you’ve seen the south of where you are where this property is. They built in apple orchards and those trees are still surviving, is like hundred-year-old trees and a backyard at where I used to live on Whispering Pine trail. So it can be done. It’s not easy but just wondering if you could, if you were willing to do that in terms of tree protection in the existing area.”

Mr. Given, “We certainly are protecting all of the edge conditions that we are aware of that can be protected. The problem we have as we sort of get into the details of this that you’ll see at a point of when we can apply in a condominium in that is that there’s a significant amount of grading required to make this work and the impacts are ability to protect some of the vegetation.”

At 01:06:34 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=3994 Cllr Humfryes, “No, I understand. I do know though that you’re good at what you do and you could come up with some good plans.”

At 01:06:47 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=4007 Cllr Kim, “The residents spoke about buffer and how realistic is it that you could create a larger buffer between now and General Committee should we go that route? Mr. Given, “Are you taking about the one on the north side, a deeper than the six meters that I mentioned. Cllr Kim, “north and the south.”

Mr. Given, “I am talking about the north side of St. John’s which can be the south side of the property. I think we are talking about the same thing. We can look at that. I had thought that we were protecting all the root zones with the buffer that we had proposed. That’s normally what you use the drip line to identify where the root zone is and you work that as a protection area. We can look at it again but I think we may have and I can show you in detail at some future time how we would do that. With respect to the west side. I was pretty clear I thought that we intended to protect that vegetation. It’s quite attractive. It creates a visual separation between the existing community and what we are proposing so I will look at that again to see if it’s sufficient.”

At 01:08:23 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=4103 Mayor Mrakas, “Was there any thought given to looking possibly at 70-80 foot lots? Mr. Given, “Well there was and the reason that we moved away from that is we felt that the price point for those would be so high that there’s been on market for them. But we didn’t want to go down to 40 foot lots or something else so we thought we’d hit the happy sweet spot in between.”

Council Discussion

At 01:09:11 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=4151 Cllr Gaertner, “There are no alternatives suggested in this report, but it seems to me and I know we haven’t spoken to this yet, but it seems to me because of all of the concerns that we’ve heard tonight and the very great environmental significance of this land because it is on the Oak Ridges Moraine that this should come back to another Public Planning meeting. If someone would like to second that?”

Cllr Humfryes secondes that.

Cllr Gaertner, “First of all I would like to thank you all for coming out tonight. It’s important that we know what our residents think about our planning process and our planning applications. And we’ve certainly heard tonight about the noise and the dust. Now, this is a development area, so we have to expect the noise and dust. I’m sorry but the homes you’re living in cause noise and dust. But this is a much bigger issue, because now you are left with a traffic and the noise from the traffic and that’s not something that’s going to go away like the construction noise and dust will. Undoubtedly the wildlife will be affected. It’s not possible for not to be affected as Mr. Given has said. He’ll do his best with the trees, but trees and development don’t seem to mix very well. And we do have a lot of very old trees here and trees are very important for the environment and to clean the air that you will breath, that we all breath. And so it’s I think on the one hand it comes down to a quality of life issue for you and your reality on the ground. And certainly expressed that to your Council.”

At 01:11:32 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=4292 “Looking at the Official Plan policies and the zoning by-laws that are in place for this area. It’s clear that this area was not intended for intensification of this kind. We have the SR designation, it is two homes per acre and the S1 is 78 foot frontage and the S2 is 49 foot frontage. So our planning policies and our zoning by-laws have not envisioned this kind of development and so you’re speaking to us about the quality of life and now I’m going to speak about the environment.”

“Reading directly from page four going back to the SR designation. It’s talking about land shall be compatible with the existing estate and suburban residents on the south side which we’ve heard. The SR1 talking about those smaller frontages of 78 and the supporting area open space is talking about, this is not an area that’s meant for intensification. So for those of you are interested this is Oak Ridges Moraine land. The Oak Ridges Moraine land is a very important and very sensitive environmental feature. It does a lot of things including filtering our water and the Oak Ridges Moraine Act plan have been put in place to protect this land. And one of the reasons that we don’t want this intensification in this land is because we want those larger lots and less impact on the moraine. I think I am gonna stop for now and hear what my fellow Councillors will say but anything that happens on this land is not only going to affect you and your immediate quality of life, it’s also going to affect the environment and quality of life for all of us and I think we need to be very careful about how we develop the land that you’re living in.”

At 01:14:11 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=4451 Cllr Humfryes, “Two things, for me most important is if there’s anything we can do, if staff can investigate to make the lots a little bit more out of an executive estate lots. To Cllr Gaertner’s point, I think it’s more suitable for the area. I know you look at if from the provincial perspective and happy medium but for me this area is just so special and we’re getting less and less green space where we are in Aurora. And it would be wonderful if the developer would consider having more of an estate type lots, less homes and I’m sure they’ll do very well. It’s a lovely area. That’s something for staff to perhaps take back. The other thing is I am really concerned with the traffic on St. John’s. I know it’s regional issue. Mayor will represent us. I’m happy about that and we will have strong representative representation because of that I’m not worried about that at all. I hopefully come up some great things including some other traffic calming measures. I hate to say the word speed bumps but you know if this is something we need to do there along with crosswalks or stoplights. I hate to do that to the residents because they probably won’t like that either. But there’s some real safety concerns, you and I Mr. Mayor know about that, we’re using St. John’s right?”

“I have talked about other things earlier but I think really if we can get some of the finalized if possible I really appreciate seeing that in the next report.”

At 01:15:54 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=4554 Cllr Kim, “All the concerns and comments that residents have made this evening they’re all valid concerns and I certainly appreciate them. Those are very similar concerns that we hear most months in Public Planning because these are the common issues that all neighbourhoods share. The only difference is the size of homes and density differs but the concerns are similar and I certainly and my fellow Councillors appreciate all concerns expressed and again they are valid. I just want to provide some context just so that everyone knows in terms of what we can and cannot do as a Council. In the report as some of you may have read the over arching policy that guides planning is the provincial policy statement which allows sufficient latitude and flexibility that allow this type of build and then following after that you have the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and that deems this area as a settlement area which is build-able. The York Region Official Plan designates this as an urban area. And then comes down to our Official Plan which designates as a suburban residential and that’s where they’re trying to do an Official Plan Amendment to change it to suburban residential SR2, which Cllr Gaertner reiterated. And then we go to the zoning change. So essentially what it means is that we cannot stop the development from happening. It’s not within our purview. I know a couple of resident have mentioned that and recommended that, but that’s something that is out of our hands. We just can’t stop the development because the province and the other hierarchies within the province has deemed it that we cannot do that. The main thing that really that I see here is whether we’re gonna do third residential whether will you bring it down to 50-60 or estate homes. That’s the area that is in our purview.”

At 01:18:24 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=4704 Cllr Kim to Mr. Waters: “Developer stated that they are willing to build a sidewalk on the north side. How likely is it that when they do so that is it within our control that we can continue that sidewalk so that it extends all the way to the Brantwood community?” Mr. Waters, “St. John’s is a regional road and it is under their jurisdiction. We would have to essentially have conversations with them beyond the boundaries of the subject lands to extend that sidewalk and there were have to be budget implications as well as that whether there was sufficient money available to do that and property as well.”

At 01:19:08 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=4750 Cllr Kim, “We’ve budgeted within our budget three years ago to have sidewalks built on Industrial Parkway North, and so I think this would be a prime area where it would make sense to extend that sidewalk because you don’t want to stop just at the edge of that neighbourhood. So number one concern that I’ve heard today is traffic and so certainly having a walk-able sidewalk for children and all pedestrians would be a common sense plan in the future. And so I think that you know in terms of the density of the homes and safety and traffic are the two main concerns. I know the strong reputation that our Mayor has in the Regional Council so I have confidence that he’ll be able to push this forward. I know that we’ve had, familiar with the couple of residents who drove the traffic management plan a couple of years ago and you know I am in full support of pursuing this to ensure that traffic and safety is foremost on our minds.”

At 01:20:19 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=4819 Cllr Thompson, “Mr. Waters, roughly what would be the estate lot size in that area as it exists now?” Mr. Waters, “My understanding is they could be anywhere from a half acre up, the permissions on subject lands are for half acre lots, and for 70 foot wide lots. Those are existing development permissions in the Official Plan.” Cllr Thompson.”So if Council were to push in that direction how many homes essentially could the builder build, we are talking 50?” Mr. Waters, “I don’t have the number on my finger tips but I suspect it would be less than half. Perhaps Mr. Given has that information available, I’m not sure.” Cllr Thompson, “Because I was just thinking I mean even if we were to double all the lot sizes as they are there now, I mean that’s essentially 50 homes. While I’m comfortable supporting the recommendation and bringing back to a Public Planning meeting and having further dialogue and continuing the conversation about addressing the needs I am not convinced that a revised plan of 50 homes would satisfy the concerns brought forward by the residents. Or that what was mentioned by members of Council here and so we have legal obligation under the Planning Act to make a decision upon this application. It’s well overdue and so I think either you give a specific direction of what you’d like to see from the applicant or we bring it to the committee meeting and either accept it or rejected outright rather than bring it forward. Typically when we bring it back to a second Public Planning meeting is because we think we can close the gap that there’s a way to address the resident’s concerns as well as there were concerns of staff and there could be some tweaking. I think that from what I’m hearing there’s much more than tweaking needed with regards to this application and so I think Council has a responsibility to make a decision on this application and not drag it out. It’s not in the best interest of the residents to drag it out. It’s not in the best interest of the applicant to drag it out. If you think it’s close great let’s bring it back to a Public Planning meeting but if you think it needs significant changes then bring it to a GC meeting and let’s make a decision on this application.”

At 01:22:48 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=4968 Cllr Humfryes, “Apologies for this. Actually Cllr Thompson makes a good point that perhaps we should go to GC from here. I don’t know, what’s on the table, do we vote this forward or do we change because I do appreciate what Cllr Thompson just said.” Deputy Clerk, “If the mover and seconder in agreement then you can make a friendly amendment. If not, someone could make a motion to amend the main motion so that it would go to a General Committee meeting as opposed to a Public Planning meeting.”

Mayor Mrakas, “Cllr Gaertner are you willing to make that friendly amendment or not?” Cllr Gaertner, “What Cllr Thompson has said, how long has this application been before us and how much time do we have left to decide, this particular application?” Town Planner, “I am not sure I understand the question?” Mayor Mrakas, “How long has this file been open and how much time is left?” Town Planner, “This is a 2018 application, so in terms of how much time is left?” Cllr Gaertner, “We have to make a decision within a certain amount of time.” Mayor Mrakas, “Is it already past the appeal period?” Town Planner, “It has. Yes.” Mayor Mrakas, “It’s in the report. The applicant could appeal it at this period if they felt they needed to.” Cllr Gaertner, “So what help does it do to go to GC?” Mayor Mrakas, “If you want my comments I would suggest that if we were to move forward to a GC it would show the applicant that we’re at least willing to move forward and work with them and get to that GC point and maybe they will not move forward with an appeal whereas if we went to the Public Planning they might just say well you know what forget it we’re just going to appeal it at this point.” Cllr Gaertner, “And what happens if it’s refused to the Public Planning meeting?” Mayor Mrakas, “I would assume that the applicant would appeal it at that point but at least we’ve probably made a decision and I think that’s what Cllr Thompson is getting at, is that we have a legal obligation to make a decision on this application.”

At 01:25:18 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=5118 Cllr Gaertner, “Perhaps everybody spoken I can speak for the second time and then we could decide.” Mayor Mrakas, “I thought you were speaking for the second time right now so you can continue.” Cllr Gaertner, “No I’m trying to answer the question how much time do we have.” Mayor Mrakas, “Sure. Did you want to make that friendly amendment?” Cllr Gaertner, “No.” Mayor Mrakas, “Do you want to leave as is?” Cllr Gaertner, “Until I get my second chance to speak.” Mayor Mrakas, “Why, you might not because Cllr Humfryes might put an amendment to this. So if you would like to speak for the second time, I suggest you take that now.”

At 01:25:46 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=5146 Cllr Gaertner, “This is really more to Council than to the residents but I hope you’ll find it interesting as well. If you look at what we have in our Official Plan – our Official Plan is our main planning policy. It designates this suburban residential SR1 but the two important parts are core area open space and supporting area open space. And in the by-law there’s something else. So if we look in our report and what it says why we’ve called this core area open space? It say that the only thing that is allowed in core area open space is open space, approved storm water management, roads, municipal service crossings, and other than that everything else is to remain in it’s natural state, (excuse me I don’t appreciate that), and with only passive recreation. And development in proximity to these core areas shall protect and respect the existing natural edges etc etc etc. This is a very important land and the development is bordering on a very important land. With respect to supporting open space these lands that are designated supporting open space are compromised of two interrelated ecological elements supporting vegetation communities and valley land forms. This is a very important stuff. And going down to the zoning by-law it is Oak Ridges Moraine General Rural. Cllr Kim said settlement. But this is the true intention for this land. And it says here that no person shall use these lands including expanding, enlarging or otherwise altering an existing use building structure for any other than a use legally that existed as of November 16, 2001. So it’s very, very restrictive what can go on these lands and the vicinity of these lands. And you know, as I said, Mr. Given spoke about intensification in this area. This is not an area for intensification. This is the area to expect the estate residential and that other SR1 which is also larger lot sizes, and the reason that is because we have to respect the function of the Oak Ridges Moraine and we don’t want to put too many homes on it that’s going to perhaps interfere with the functioning of this land. So you know to me I would not suggest sending it to a General Committee. I think this should be denied outright at this Public Planning meeting and the reason is that… well listen this is exactly what this Council has bee fighting against. We’ve been fighting to protect our Official Plan policies. We’ve been fighting against Premier Ford and his ideas to allow development in environmentally sensitive land. So this is not something that we should be doing as a Council.”

At 01:29:50 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=5390 Cllr Gilliland, “I just had a couple of questions. I am looking at the existing Official Plan designation and what they proposed. And while I’m looking at where the developer wants to build it seems to me that he’s not even encroaching at all in the core open area and in fact what I understand from his presentation is that the land that’s on the north side he’s asking to actually designate to actually make it more strict and to protect the environment even more by making EP ORM. Could you clarify that?” Mr. Waters, “Cllr Gilliland is correct. The area identified as an EP zone is what’s currently is in the Official Plan now and the area to the south already has development rights and that is what’s being proposed for the residential development.” Cllr Gilliland, “Can you confirm just based on the maps that I have here that where the actual development area is versus what’s actually existing zoned is actually building on less of the land that is currently zoned for?” Mr. Waters, “I believe that Mr. Given did communicate that to Council that there is some additional land that’s been identified as an EP zone to the north.” Cllr Gilliland, “So just my comment to what Cllr Gaertner was saying, developing on open space, I don’t really see any development happening on there rather more protection on the land itself. So I’m not quite understanding the change in the development in that area other than a positive in the sense that we’re actually allowing more protection. I’m just throwing that out there. I personally would like to see the homes that are being built a little bit larger that the 50 60 foot lots. I feel that it is kind of small considering there’s a lot larger estate homes that are in and around that area and I believe that it was specifically zoned for that reason. In the future for seeing that if it was gonna be developed to be compatible with the neighbourhood hence why it is currently zoned so you can currently build homes that are larger so that would be what I’m more concerned about but as far as what the mapping is I don’t see any environmental invasion to the map from one to the other being proposed.”

At 01:32:33 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=5553 Cllr Humfryes, “I was going to offer an amendment because I’m worried about what Cllr Thompson said earlier and that this has already passed the appeal process and I want us to continue to move forward to work on this in a positive way rather… we’ve been there before where it slipped out of our hands, it’s gone to the appeal board and we’ve gotten worse or not and I don’t want to jeopardize that with the residents. I feel like we need to do that. I understand completely Cllr Gaertner where you’re coming from. I’m just really worried about it and I do know that I’d like to make this come to a GC. It doesn’t mean anything is decided this evening residents. There’s nothing been decided this evening. I just wanted to mention that.”

Amendment, come back to General Committee. Cllr Kim seconds Cllr Humfry’s amendment.

At 01:33:35 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=5615 Cllr Humfryes speaks to the amendment, “I totally agree with lot of Cllr Gaertner’s concerns. It is protected land although there was some clarification on what can be built in the area and of course the developer did mention they’re doing a little extra. Again, for me, if this shows that we’re going to be working together and I continue to work together and hopefully close the gaps and some of those concerns we talked about earlier, the concerns traffic on and safety issues on St. John’s. Some of the great work was discussed tonight. I know that may look after that and also to hopefully have these homes become more an executive type lot in what I see around the area which will also help with the environment in this land. I know that’s what one of Cllr Gaertner’s biggest concerns at the homes there will be a larger land that will help again with the environment in this area. So hopefully we can move forward to a GC and just for the residents if I can just mentioned again nothing’s been decided this evening. It just means that the next step is to go to general Council where we discuss again. We see where some of the progress being made, some of the asks tonight and then that isn’t even a decision, there is a further meeting after that where we will make the final decision. I just think it’s a safer way to go after hearing that we were past the appeal period.”

At 01:34:52 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=5693 Cllr Gaertner, “I am referring to the report that we received which has taken the trouble to talk about all of these areas which are all of these designations which are in the area. The applicant is taking it from SR and SR1 which are these large lots to SR2 which are much more dense. And they’re taking the core area open space and supporting area open space and just taking it to to core area open space and as you will know in the report the supporting area open space is given as a designation when there are two interrelated ecological elements supporting the vegetation communities and valley lands. So we are taking away one of the protections that we’ve put in our Official Plan. Perhaps, Mr. Waters, so if we are taking away the supporting area open space we’re decreasing the protection of this land? Am I right or wrong on that Mr. Waters?”

Mr. Waters, “In looking at the mapping at this point it doesn’t appear that there is a reduction. It may be just the translation of the Official Plan mapping that was done probably nine or ten years ago in terms of what there is today.”

Cllr Gaertner, “I don’t think that important ecological elements change over time. I think they’re probably still there today. I think that this is gonna go to a General Committee although I’ll vote against it. So certainly for that General Committee report I would like to know what these two interrelated ecological elements are and why we are not talking in this proposal to protect those two, I’m assuming, important elements or they wouldn’t have been included? The other thing is it’s the SR2 so much smaller lots. I think the intention of the report information was to show that this area is very sensitive and this area that is being developed is very sensitive because it is surrounded by these core features and the supporting core features so that is why it’s relevant. It’s whatever we do in this area we need to be very careful about the effects this is going to have on the environment and sometimes you don’t know what those effects are going to be right away. But we are in a time in the world where we have to be supper careful.”

At 01:38:06 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=5886 Cllr Thompson, “To my understanding, so the application was submitted in 2018. We reviewed complete in June of 2018 but it never came to a Public Planning meeting. I assume partially because of our municipal elections and that also prevented it from coming but I just want clarification that it never came before us last year.” Mr. Waters, “That’s my understanding.” Cllr Thompson, “So while I understand the intent of Cllr Gaertner’s view is to vote on this tonight and make a decision on the application one way or the other. Typically we’ve provided as a courtesy and an opportunity for the applicant to listen to the concerns of the residents, listen to the concerns of those around the table and amend their plans and find a solution that satisfies all and that’s typically how we’ve done it and so I certainly would like to afford the applicant that opportunity. Obviously I think that he heard loud and clear the concerns and that this Council has and if there were no changes I’m sure you can guess how this Council would probably vote but we would leave that for a General Committee meeting. I also think that should we not wait and make that decision now it may play out poorly with the local planning just because we didn’t give him an opportunity to address those concerns and so while they appreciate Cllr Gaertner’s view point and making the decision now I think that it’s in our best interest to move to GC and then make a decision at that time. Through your Mr. Waters any assumption of when I could come to a GC meeting?” Mr. Waters, “There still appears to be skimming amount of work required to get to that point in time and in addition from the comments you’ve heard today I could probably extend the time with that we return to GC with a report. I could say the end of the year but that may be somehow optimistic depending on the comments coming back and how we address the comments raised that at tonight’s meeting.” Cllr Thompson, “Simply for the residents you would all be notified the next time it would come to a meeting.”

At 01:40:18 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=6018 Cllr Gilliland, “I echo Cllr Thompson analysis of allowing us to have the chance or staff to have the chance to come back and assess what we’ve gone through with the Public Planning meeting today. I’m just looking at the page 8 of the report, the analysis and the department agency comments. There is quite a grand list of concerns that will be in Council consideration including much of what we have talked about today. And all your comments I’ve taken notes. We’ve all taken notes and they’re all going to be under consideration. We hear you loud and clear. We feel what you’re talking about. I think we need to allow us to move forward and go to GC and make some decisions to avoid that appeal. So I would be in favour of that.”

At 01:41:12 https://youtu.be/wzb6BtWKmi0?t=6072 Mayor Mrakas, “I’m hearing the comments around the table and the residents and what they’re saying and there’s a few concerns and I think that it is our duty to give the opportunity for the applicant to hear all those concerns and for us to have staff work with them and look at how we can address those concerns and move forward in a win-win situation. You know it was mentioned about the provincial government and some of the changes that they’re doing. This kind of speaks to it a little bit because the changes that the provincial government is made with the entire of municipal board, those changes came into effect, we had the authority at the time when we had the reform of the OMB now they’ve looked at taking back that authority and giving it back to another body that is un-elected and un-accountable; but you know these are some of the reasons I think that this government has decided to move that forward because sometimes Councils don’t work with the applicants and look at trying to come to a compromise at what’s best for the community and still allows the community to grow and evolve. So I think it is our duty to look at how we can do this properly, address the concerns of our residents. Ensure that our Town grows in an appropriate manner and it’s not over developed so we’ve heard loud and clear that if some of the changes and some of those concerns aren’t addressed it probably won’t pass at General Committee. So hopefully we can all work together and we can come to that compromise and we can find something that is suitable for our community and in the applicants themselves as well. So I’m in favour of moving forward to General Committee and as stated around the table just for the public notification that this does not mean that the application is being approved just means that we’re moving to the next stage to the General Committee and as I’ve said if those concerns aren’t addressed then that’s when we would be making a decision and you’ll all be notified at that time. So with that being said, I will call the vote on the amendment.”

Mayor Mrakas, “That carries.”

Mayor Mrakas, “Back to the main motion as amended.”

Deputy Clerk, “The motion on the floor was that it go to a future Public Planning meeting and the motion was amended to replace Public Planning with General Committee. So it is allowed, it’s not contrary.”

Mayor Mrakas, “Call the vote; and that carries.”

Anna Lozyk Romeohttps://www.livinginaurora.com
Anna Lozyk Romeo for Mayor of Aurora

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