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Niagara Falls
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Letter: If projects can violate official plan, then there are no rules
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

A democracy is based on laws and rules being applied equally and equitably to all people, without favour.

In a municipality, the rules for land use are found in the official plan and in bylaws.

When people look at buying a house or land they inform themselves by verifying the official plan and respective bylaw for the property and surrounding neighbourhood.

When developers evaluate the purchase of land they do the same thing. The rules of the game must be transparent.

To evaluate the proposal for the three-storey apartment (condominium) building at 727/733 King St., the process should be straightforward. Does the proposal meet the existing legal official plan and bylaws – or not ?

If this proposal is to be considered then the criteria should include:

Why significant exemptions to the official plan and bylaws are so compelling and unique to warrant such a major change (without favour).

Does the proposal have a complete application with all the analyses as required by the official plan?

Even with the major change in zoning, does the proposal meet the requirements of the official plan and the new zoning?

This proposal fails all three.

One example: The building will be 16 feet and 25 feet respectively from single, detached homes on Meritage Lane, where I live.

The official plan requires the evaluation of impacts of a new building on surrounding low-density houses and the neighbourhood.

What will these impacts be and how will they be mitigated? What is the effect on privacy, oversight, light, noise?

We don’t know because the developer decided no analysis was necessary. Shadows will block sunlight for 15-plus homes around the building.

How long will each home have sunlight blocked and will it be blocked going into homes or in backyards and patios? We don’t know because no analysis was provided.

If this building is approved in contradiction to the legal official plan, then this town does not have an official plan.

Residents will not be able to have trust in the laws and rules set out and developers will be encouraged to ignore the official plann and submit any and all applications they choose.

Once the rules of the game can be different for different people, there really are no rules.

Patrick Gedge

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