I am pleased to share the following message from David Godley.
The attachments that are included in the message are the photo on the right and this file:
[Click on the above-noted link to access the 8-page attachment that is referenced in the text below.]
Review of Current Issues: Letter Sent February 19, 2016
Greetings from Long Branch,
We are addressing you Neil and Jill as the Director and Manager of Urban Planning for our area, Denise as being responsible for overall improvement to the Committee of Adjustment (COA) process and Barbara who is Deputy Secretary for the COA and in charge of training members.
Thank you very much for working with the Long Branch Community over the past few months.
Your contribution to planning here is much appreciated.
It is over 6 months since neighbourhood representatives had our productive meeting with the Planning Department.
The initiatives are acknowledged in the text of the attached report.
We are writing to bring your attention to some new and ongoing issues and circumstances with which the community is concerned.
With the increase in severance/variance applications (we have already had 4 this month) it seems time for review.
We realise you have your eye on some of these developing issues such as community meetings. More knowledge will be forthcoming from future community meetings.
We have included a rather long context section in the attached issues paper to remind everybody about the background and issues preying on the community’s mind.
Some may be easy to answer and perhaps others need a face to face discussion. Yet others may need further information.
All the issues seem to be integrated.
In particular we would like to go over the Committee of Adjustment’s way of dealing with deferrals and relating to the Official Plan.
Other issues are the difference between North and South Long Branch, how community meetings are best addressed and the information that arrives on the COA member’s plate.
Once again thank you for finding time in your busy schedules to achieve good planning in Long Branch.
And do not forget the offer of a tour of Long Branch is still open!
Once you are able to to absorb all of this please let us know how you wish to proceed.
A Message from Mark Davidson, Lawyer, Professor and Long Branch Resident:
A Complementary Way for Saving Long Branch Character
I’m involved with the LBNA and in addition to that group I’d like to put together a team that would buy, renovate, and where necessary, rebuild homes in LB. I support the work of the LBNA in fighting ‘development’ but I’m not sure it, by itself, will be enough to save our neighbourhoods. Ultimately we are dependent on the Committee of Adjustment and OMB.
The latter is a representative of the development industry and the former is a branch of the city that depends on tax income from rising housing costs. This creates a powerful disincentive to preserve neighbourhoods in a meaningful way when it would mean decreased revenues. In other words, it’s in the city’s financial interest to allow outrageous ‘development’ to continue.
I’d like to put together a development team that would create homes that respect the neighbourhood’s character as well as the planet. So we’d send as much material to Habitat for Humanity instead of the dump, and we wouldn’t tear down any trees. I have seen too many trees and too many beautiful homes go straight to the dump to wait for changes in government to save our neighbourhood. Ideally, I’d like to do this through the organisation itself, but my impression is that there isn’t support for this idea. So, I’m asking for people to come together to take this on with me. There are two parts to this project.
On the buying side, I’m going to explore financing options through different lending institutions. If this is successful, we could discuss handing the project over to the LBNA as a way of financing its future battles and it could advance a model for neighbourhood preservation that could be used elsewhere.
We’d also create homes that were as energy efficient as possible, including equipping the home with alternative energy sources and using reclaimed materials (again, Habitat). In this way we could gain an edge on existing developers since they’re creating monster homes that would cost a lot to run.
On the selling side, I need to get the word out to potential sellers that there is a way to sell one’s home at market value that doesn’t entail giving it up for landfill. Sellers could contact us first, before listing the home with an agent, and discuss selling directly to avoid the cost of agents’ fees. The closing date would be flexible, and there would be no conditions on the sale, since the plan is to renovate anyway. We’d guarantee as little waste as possible and no destruction of nature.
Our profit margins would be lower than those of current developers so I think this could be a viable way of saving some houses. It’s just a matter of putting together the right team of people who know what they’re doing and who can share the work equitably so that it’s not a huge addition of stress to any one individual’s life (I myself have a family and a demanding full time job so I really need others to work with me on this). I’m discussing a possible arrangement with someone I know who is both a real estate agent and an architect/contractor.
It would be extremely helpful if we had others join us, especially those with experience in finance, renovating, building, real estate law, etc. and whose hearts are in the right place.
– Mark Davidson
[End of text]
If you are willing to help Mark or know of someone who may be able to, please email me [David Godley is at <email@example.com> or call him at 416-255-0492 ]
This letter was sent to the Globe and Mail to complement an article submitted by Mark Davidson to counter Marcus Gee’s comments about the OMB:
Marcus Gee makes superficial comments on a complex subject.
He is right that an appeal body is needed to ensure good development can proceed over inflamed protests.
On the other hand he does not realise that the OMB has strangled itself through legal processes so that it is impossible for them to render rational decisions.
The powerful have become much more powerful in the last decade so that the OMB essentially acts as an arm of the development industry.
Fairness in both process and product is savaged by the OMB.
They do not comply with the Planning Act or their own mandate or mission statement.
Official Plans are routinely misunderstood or ignored.
Unqualified, unaccountable members of the OMB often demean the public.
Tomorrow – February 22, 2016
62 and 68 Long Branch Avenue and 28 Marina Avenue
Community Meeting February 22, 2016 on Rezoning
Monday 7 pm to 9 pm at The Assembly Hall
Staff report for action. Preliminary Report – 62 & 68 Long Branch Ave and 28 Marina Ave.
30 townhouses and stacked town houses on the G Hogle Funeral Home site.
New severance/variance application 50 36th on the corner of James.
Previous copies of updates are on Jaan’s website “preserved stories”. David