Residents take opposition to Tawny Ridge to Ontario Land Tribunal

Residents who have been opposed to plans related to the Tawny Ridge subdivision in St. Davids are taking their fight to the next stage – an appeal with the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The submission was made this week by lawyers representing critics of the residential development, which has a potential of 86 units, on behalf of local residents, said Gienek Ksiazkiewicz, whose name is on the appeal.

He said opponents of the project are a “neighbourhood that’s not in favour of this development how it’s presented.”

The development is proposed to be built in the area of Hickory Avenue, and Tanbark and Warner roads.

Density and claims of a lack of appropriate road access are issues Ksiazkiewicz says will be argued during the appeal process.

“I think they need to rethink certain aspects of that development to make everyone happy,” he said in an interview with The Local.

Critics have also been vocal about alleged safety issues at the intersection of Tanbark Road and Hickory Avenue that they say will be caused by the development.

Last month, referring to the intersection, interim chief administrative officer Bruce Zvaniga said its layout was done on purpose as a traffic-calming measure.

“It’s a feature that would encourage drivers to drive more slowly,” he said.

Another bone of contention is the town amending its official plan, resulting in changes “that didn’t exist when people bought their homes.”

He said residents will pool together and fundraise to cover costs of the appeal, but noted he wishes not to speak further about that matter.

Late last month, voting on official plan and zoning bylaw amendment requests, council chose to only allow a portion of the project to move ahead – one that only involved 12 homes.

But at a meeting that followed about two weeks later, council met in closed session and reversed its decision – allowing the high-density plans to move ahead – backtracking on its previous decision to turn that part of the project down.

Council and staff met behind closed doors on Feb. 6 to receive legal advice related to decisions made on the development's applications, then in public gave direction to staff that included suspending requirements to its procedural bylaw to allow the amending bylaws to be re-introduced.

Will this be raised during the land tribunal hearing?

“That remains to be seen,” said Ksiazkiewicz.

He was unable to provide a timeline of when the appeal process will begin when he spoke with The Local on Friday.

The town also amended its zoning bylaw related to phase two and applied a holding provision on the property that restricts the land use until the requirements of the holding symbol have been met. In this case, the town has applied it to require a stormwater management strategy be addressed to the satisfaction of the town and prior to the final approval of the draft plan of subdivision.

The first phase involves 12 lots of single-family homes with access onto Tanbark Road.

The plan for the second phase is to develop 20 lots for detached dwellings, 24 on-street townhouses and a block of residential units on new streets, that would hold either a maximum of 20 block townhouses, or a maximum of 30 stacked townhouses.

The project is being brought forward by St. Davids Riverview Estates Inc. The total development area covers 3.73 hectares, or 9.2 acres, of land.

A land tribunal spokesperson could not provide a timeline and said it "may take a number of weeks" before the appeal is forwarded to the tribunal.

Kris Dube, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara-on-the-Lake Local