Council extends draft plan extension policy to cover two years
Essa councillors have determined that requests for draft plan approval
extensions should be granted over two years, rather than the previous
unofficial policy that went year to year.
The policy adjustment comes on the heals of a request from Paul Mondell
of Brookvalley Developments whose subdivision on Centre Street in Angus
was draft approved in 2007. They're currently coming off a two year
extension which would have expired on Nov. 7th.
"I know its
been your practice to do one year at a time, a previous one was two
years, but if you look at the volume of work that we have left to do
here in Essa in Angus, we have an existing development to the north
which is 358 lots," Mr. Mondell told council. "We had a really good run
when we first opened our
first phase and the market has changed rather significantly. We have
pretty much built out our first phase. We registered all of the lots.
We currently are sitting with about 192 unsold units, which is a
combination of singles, semis, and townhouses. And just to put a little
asterisk on that, all those units are registered."
He said they're currently carrying the costs of servicing property
taxes which are amounting to about $450 per year per lot.
"We've got almost all the land
serviced, we're also paying for our own snow clearing, and the
eletrical bill for the street lights that have been there. We've had
some real challenges up here. We had one sale in 2011. Change in some
sales folks. Sales picked up in 2012, hoping it improves, but the
housing market is soft right now," he said. "I don't really see the
benefit of going through the exercise of coming
back on an annual basis, the fees attached to it ($1000) and the work
of your staff. We've got a lot of units to absorb. I'm really hoping
you could see your way clear to giving us the extension for longer than
Mayor Terry Dowdall said the one year extensions were kept purposefully
short because "we kind of like to see things happen, that's our take on
Essa Planning Manager Colleen Healey explained that regardless of how
long the extension, the municipality would be covered.
She said the shorter term makes it possible for the township to stay
current on changing conditions.
"More often it gives
the municipality the chance to see that the current standards of the
day, or legislation is reviewed, so that if something happened within
two years, if they have to come back every one, two three years, we get
the chance to take a look and review some of the conditions to see if
they're appropriate. It's just protecting the municipality and making
sure the conditions are relevant," said Ms. Healey. "One has been the
flavour of council in the past few years, I think it
started when there was limited servicing capacity in Angus and we
certainly had a couple of plans that council reviewed where maybe one
year was appropriate."
Mr. Mondell said, "I certainly understand and appreciate that."
"I'm simply asking to colour
your decision by the amount of product we currently have registered and
in the pipeline, and like I said it's going to take us a little bit of
time to work through that and I'm really trying to keep things
relevant," he said. "We've got some new conditions I certainly have no
with. At the end of the day we're still going to need to come forward
with an engineering standard that is going to be current at the time
that plan goes through."
In the end, councillors agreed that a two-year extension would "be
consistent, make it a lot easier so we don't have to keep discussing it
as a one-off."