A recent revelation from Simcoe County’s planners and the Province that came from the lawyer that Midland Council retained to help navigate the modification to our Official Plan seems to indicate that any attempt to pass the proposed changes likely would face overturning by the Housing Ministry. Council and the Tiffin Homeowner Association’s current position would see secondary suites banned from new home builds until three years had passed and stems from what certainly appears to be a bungling of development planning, ambiguous language in the definitions of duplex and secondary unit and the loss of $140k in development charges to town’s purse.
In an open letter to Council, the Tiffin Homeowner’s Association re-iterated their support for the 3yr exclusion rule that has been proposed and forwarded to the County for approval, urging Council to carry on and let the Province push back.
This position of defiance could be a costly gamble for Midland taxpayers. By choosing to ignore the direct advice offered by the Province through the County planners and the town’s own lawyer, Midland Council (and the rest of us) will face ongoing and escalating legal fees and all the other costs associated with this venture. Some things are worth the cost and worth fighting for, but the question for you, dear reader, is do YOU support this stance of defiance AND are you willing to hear Council say they have no money for projects that are important to you when you see this willingness to spend on ventures that are ill-advised from the highest levels? It might be worth contacting the Mayor and your Councillors to let them know how you feel.
Allan Arlett, President, Tiffin Homeowners Association and George Dixon wrote:
We are writing concerning the letter from Leo Longo that is on your Council agenda for Monday evening. In his letter Mr. Longo seeks instructions concerning OPA #9 which is currently being considered by Simcoe County as the approval authority for Midland Official Plan amendments. We are asking Town Council to instruct Mr. Longo to continue discussions with Simcoe County in an effort to secure County approval for OPA #9. As Mr. Longo points out in his communication, Bill 7 (which did become law last week) authorizes the Minister to take steps to override local decisions if the Minister considers them contrary to the government’s policies on affordable housing.
We believe it makes eminent good sense for Town Council to allow the Minister to come to his own conclusions and take any steps he considers appropriate instead of trying to anticipate or guess what the Minister’s view might be. We note the Aberdeen duplexes are in no respect ‘affordable’ housing and it seems unlikely the government knowingly intends to mandate non-affordable duplexes everywhere in the province where local zoning bylaws now permit only single detached dwellings. If we are wrong however and that is indeed the government’s intent, then please allow the Minister and the government at Queen’s Park to take full responsibility for that decision. As voters and citizens, we want to know who to credit and who to blame for decisions that affect us and the communities where we live.
We believe Midland’s zoning and OP amendments on second units should satisfy even ardent advocates because they will allow every single house, semi and townhouse in Midland the right to have a second unit if desired while Council remains free at any time to zone for duplexes and other intensification. Our objective has never been to discourage affordable housing in Midland but only to discourage opportunistic developers from filling entire blocks with identical non-affordable duplexes – exactly what recently occurred here. We will be copying this communication to Simcoe County Councillors who also have an interest in the matter.