The latest application and public meeting went before the Committee of Adjustment yesterday.
Short version: No decision was reached. The matter has been adjourned to a later date to allow committee members time to absorb all the material and answer some questions.
Longer version: The LWRA had responded in writing to the original notice. In our letter we noted some of the more obvious shortcomings of the application and indicated that we would be presenting a more complete and detailed analysis at the public meeting. This was so noted by staff during their brief to the committee.
Pieper's planner then took about 20 minutes to present his case, including responding to the concerns in our letter. One of our concerns was that a hydrogeological study should be conducted to prove their assertions that the septic (and other contaminants) would not flow into the lake. He told the committee that such a study was not required because the proposal is to create less than 5 lots (of course, we are also concerned that the applicant may come back again next year to subdivide the rest of the land). We had also noted the photos provided of the property in the proposal where deceiving. So one of the things that Lanny did was to go out and attempt to take some more photos. He appologised that he was unable to get a different angle, explaining that the ice was unsafe when he attempted to walk out on the lake.
This revelation actually supported our case, providing independent coroboration of photos we provided showing the open water around the shore in that area as part of our presentation. Our presentation took about 20 - 25 minutes and the handout included a thick appendix of supporting documents, ranging from selected portions of the Lake Plan, the Limnological Study, witness statements from various experts who testified before the OMB, the OMB and Divisional Court rulings, the weather log for the month of January from Muskoka Airport and, of course, some less deceptive photos. Our presentation (less all the attachments -- some of you are still stuck with dial-up) and photos are attached so I won't go into the details here.
Following our presentation, the chair (Councillor Beatty) remarked that if that was the short version, he hoped that those following would be presenting new material and not repeating what had already been said.Â
Next to speak was Tony Doob, neighbour of the Piepers. While a few of his points touched briefly on things we had mentioned, the focus of his address was to point out to the committee that there were 3 lines of reasoning to reject this proposal, and that any one of those 3 were sufficient reason in and of themselves to reject it.Â
1. Zoning. The Town just finished the new zoning by-law less than a year ago. To allow such a dramatic change would make a mockery of the process.Â
2. The particular property characteristics. The Pieper property presents significant technological challenges to development. The application itself is silent on the intended means to overcome the challenges.
3. Lake Plan.Â The Town recognizes the importance and encourages the development of lake plans. This proposal completely ignores the existence of the lake plan and undermines the process of creating lake plans.Â
Finally, Barney Dales spoke. Barney made a concerted effort to skip over items that were already covered in the previous presentations but expanded on some of the legal and technical issues surrounding this entire process. He called for the applicant to provide water testing data to corroborate their assertion that Waseosa's water quality had improved.Â
Following Barney's presentation, Councillor Beatty asked if there were any others. He was obviously relieved when no-one else came forward, as it was now well past 10 o'clock, the committee had 2 more issues to deal with and there was another committee meeting scheduled for chambers at 10:30.Â
Councillor Beatty then commented that he was probably the only one at the table that was there when the first attempt was made. He indicated that he voted in favour of the Pieper proposal that time, but this time he was not so sure it was a good idea.Â
Mayor Doughty then spoke, saying he was not around the first time and that there were obviously many complicated issues and questions to be answered. He suggested that the matter would need more time to be properly considered.Â
John Davis concurred with the Mayor's comments. The applicant's planner was asked if he had any objections to putting off the decision to a later date. He indicated that was acceptable (it's doubtfull he would have been successful had he demanded an immediate decision anyway)Â and that it would give him more time to prepare any further response to the issues we had raised.Â
We will keep you posted when we learn of the next date.Â
Update: We have received notice of "Reserve of Consent Decision" from the Town, indicating that the hearing "be adjourned and the decision of the committee be reserved. Reasons: further consideration of the application is required."