What or who is LPAT?
The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal is the replacement body for the old Ontario Municipal Board. This quasi-judicial body is the route of appeal for developers who dispute a municipal planning decision. As with a court of law, there are procedural rules, expert witnesses and evidence presented both for and against. The Tribunal has the power to override the municipal decision.
Are members of the LPAT paid and if so by whom?
LPAT members are remunerated by the Province in accordance with Schedule B.
Are members of the LPAT vetted by the LWRA?
We wish. They are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor (of Ontario) in Council.
Who is the "Committee"?
The Development Service Committee, this is a sub-committee of Huntsville Town Council. Among other things, they receive and review rezoning applications, but cannot approve them on their own. If the committee votes to recommend an application, it goes before the full council for approval. Or, in this case, rejection.
On Sept. 11, 2019 the committee was composed of
Councillor Nancy Alcock (Chair), Councillor Dan Armour, Councillor Jason FitzGerald, Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano, and Councillor Jonathan Wiebe.
What is "Party Status"? How is it different than being a "Participant"?
Being a Party to the hearing means that we can call and question witnesses as well as present our position -- just as if we were either the appellant or the Town. A participant is limited to making a presentation before the Tribunal but cannot present evidence or question witnesses.
Why is the LWRA hiring a planner?
Much of the evidence presented before LPAT consists of opinions. The developer's planner will state that in his expert opinion, the rezoning is "good planning" and "in character of the lake" and so forth. LPAT gives far greater weight to "experts" than to the opinions of the great unwashed ordinary citizens that have to live with their decisions and will consider "expert" opinions as uncontradicted unless another expert testifies otherwise.
Why is the LWRA hiring a lawyer?
Strictly speaking, we do not have to. We could represent ourselves. However, we are not learned in the minutae and nuances of LPAT procedures. The Board decided that we would be best served by hiring someone who is. "The person who represents themselves has a fool for a client", right?
Is it really that big of a deal to allow 2 houses on the island?
We have always believed that this is just the thin edge of the wedge -- that once any development is allowed, further subdivision applications are inevitable. The developers and their planner have strongly resisted any measures that would restrict further subdivision and their lawyer, before Council, stated that such restrictions would reduce the resale value of the property for just that very reason.
But even if the limit was really 2 homes, the steep slopes and shallow soils of the island make it not only a dominant feature of the lake, impacting the vista and character, but also unsuited to supporting development and the lake itself does not have the infrastructure for island residences. How will they service the septic? How can emergency services access the property? For that matter: how can the Town's enforcement officers access it to ensure compliance? Waseosa is already overcrowded and the LWRA has long taken the position that further development take the form of redevelopment of existing rather than new development. The island is the only virgin land remaining.
Why is the LWRA involving itself in this?
The Town is refusing to defend their own decision. They have left it up to us.
Who is "The Friends of Treasure Island" group?
Headed up by Doug Janes, the TFTI is passionately opposed to development on the island. They believe that a two-pronged approach has benefit and have launched their own application for Party status before LPAT independent of LWRA actions. Doug (and most of his members) are also members of the LWRA and both groups have similar aims, just different approaches. It is possible that LPAT will order both groups to merge at the Case Management Conference, in which case we will happily welcome Doug's participation with our own efforts.
Are there any historical restrictions on development of Treasure Island?
That is a bit complicated. There are actually 3 separate parcels: 100 Treasure Island was sold by Ernie Norton to the current owner's grandfather with a gentleman's agreement that it would never be developed. But so far as we know, there was nothing in writing.
200 Treasure Island passed through several owners over the years. It appears that development was contemplated by one previous owner, but abandoned and the proposed mainland access point itself was developed instead. Long before being purchased for tax arrears by the current owners, it was zoned Conservation.
Separating the two is a 66 foot wide public road allowance. Under the current OP, publicly owned waterfront property cannot be sold or developed.
From 1972 to 2008, island development required that the lake host a marina, which of course Waseosa has never had, so development was not allowed. In 2008 the entire island was zoned Conservation, so development was not allowed.