Employment Lands Zoning (Oak Ridges Moraine) What's with That?

On the agenda for the May 13th Council Meeting is a Member Motion by Regional & Local Councillor Perrelli requesting to transition Part Lots 1, 2, 3 and 5, Concession 3, Town of Richmond Hill (the "Lands") from the Oak Ridges Moraine and to request that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing issue a Minister’s Zoning Order for General Industrial uses over the lands citing section 15 of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act.


Justification? Because the Lands are strategically located by the 404 and are adjacent to the Gormley GO station. The motion also reasons that in the "post COVID-19 world" additional lands are required for manufacturing to encourage Canadian made products and supplies.

Why is it necessary to now convert Lands located on the Oak Ridges Moraine when there are already empty employment zoned lands at south-west corner of Major Mackenzie Drive and Highway 404? If you recall at the Sept. 18, 2019 Regional & Local Councillor Perrelli made a member motion to convert those employment lands to mixed used development. 

The Member Motion states that on October 30, 1987 development applications were filed with the Town of Richmond Hill to facilitate the establishment of general industrial uses with outdoor storage and open space on the Lands. As such, the Applications are transitioned pursuant to section 15 of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act.


Does section 15 apply in this case? Section 15 states that making a decision under the Planning Act a municipal council shall conform to the prescribed provisions of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan as if the Plan were in force on or before the date of the application, if the application commenced before November 17, 2001 and on November 17, 2001, no decision has been made in respect of the application, matter or proceeding.

According to the Motion a development application was filed on October 30, 1987 but was a decision made on the application by November 17, 2001? 14 years later? If a decision was made would there not have been a sign of industrial uses on the land per the development application? You can see clearly on the Google map below that the subject Lands are still being farmed.

On May 22, 2015 Evans Planning Inc. sent correspondence to Council on behalf of the "Lands" owners (Item 7.0. of the agenda) in response to comments requested for the 2015 Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.


An excerpt from the correspondence "the subject lands represent an appropriate location for future employment or mixed-use development".



If a decision had been made on the October 30,1987 development applications then why would Evans Planning Inc. be corresponding about converting the same Lands into future employment lands 28 years later?
So it seems that no decision was made in respect to the 1987 applications on or after November 17, 2001 therefore Section 15 of the Act should not applicable.

The Motion also requests that the Zoning Order, if granted, have a Hold symbol affixed to it that can be removed by the City at a future date.

Why is this Member Motion being brought forward now if a Hold will be put on the Zoning Order?  Is it to take advantage of the "COVID-19 world" that is on everyone's mind right now?

#yorkregion #myrichmondhill

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