At their special meeting on Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. on Limerick Lake Estates, Limerick Township council decided to hold off on any roads construction until the development was registered, the shoreline road allowance purchase was finalized and other minor matters were rectified, a process that could take until the spring. The second option was to allow roads construction by the developer, Trident Members Inc. before the development was registered, with a pre servicing agreement in place to protect the township’s interests and to protect them from liability. After some discussion, council voted unanimously to proceed with the first option.
At their Dec. 20 meeting, Limerick Township council discussed the status of Limerick Lake Estates. At issue was the amending agreement to the subdivision and condo agreements, which was progressing more slowly than hoped, and the possibility of starting construction of the roads in the nascent development before the amending agreement was finalized. Council ultimately decided to hold off on any decisions about beginning roads construction until they had had a chance to confer with their legal counsel and discuss the issue more thoroughly at the special meeting on Jan. 5.
Limerick Lake Estates will eventually consist of 118 lots that will be up to an acre or more in area, with a total area of 320 acres. It will now consist of one phase of construction instead of the originally planned five phases of construction. The whole development boasts over 4,000 feet of shoreline and multiple recreational opportunities at the fingertips of potential buyers. It is owned by Trident Members Inc. and their legal counsel is Al Burton from Thomson Rogers LLP. Kirsten Musgrove from O’Flynn, Weese LLP is the township’s lawyer. Murray Davenport from M.J. Davenport and Associates, is Trident Members’ engineer, while Chris Bent from Jewell Engineering is the engineer for the township.
At the Jan. 5 special meeting on Limerick Lake Estates, Mayor Carl Stefanski initiated the discussion with the rest of council on whether to allow Trident Members Inc. to go ahead with the roads construction with a pre servicing agreement in place, an agreement suggested by Musgrove. A pre servicing agreement is entered into by municipalities with developers doing subdivisions in their townships to protect municipal interests and to restore the lands in the event that the development does not go forward.
In the Jan. 5 meeting agenda, Tisdale made reference to the last time the developer, with previous principal Alvin Moore, commenced construction on the roads, the township says they were in the wrong location and put in with standards different than those that had been approved. This necessitated redesigning the roads. Tisdale suggested that this time, the developer should provide a construction schedule and arrange for regular inspections by Jewell Engineering to ensure the work is proceeding according to plan, which would be set out in any pre servicing agreement.
The other alternative was to move ahead with getting the amending agreements to the subdivision and condominium agreements finished, having Trident Members Inc. proceed with purchasing the shoreline road allowance for the development so that potential buyers own and have access to a beach and docking facilities (which is part of what they’re purchasing when they buy a lot), and any other minor issues that need to be resolved to get the Limerick Lake Estates subdivision registered. This process was estimated to take several months, putting it sometime in the spring.
Both Councillor Jan MacKillican and Councillor Kim Carson brought up the fact that Trident Members Inc. had not even applied yet to purchase the shoreline road allowance and wondered why that was. Burton replied that he couldn’t see why the lack of progress on the shoreline road allowance purchase would preclude them from getting going on the roads construction.
“To the extent we’ll have to do a shoreline road allowance purchase, that has nothing to do with the construction we’re proposing, which is on land. The docks are infrastructure that’s going to come later on in the construction process,” he says.
MacKillican replied that she was concerned about the delays that have occurred all along and that delays could continue to occur with the shoreline road allowance purchase.
“That is where some of the common elements of the subdivision go. I do believe it is key to that be we’ve also gotten stalled on everything else so it makes me nervous to say let’s go ahead on the roads,” she says.
Burton reiterated that there is a subdivision and condominium agreement signed from 2010 and that they were amending them currently to bring them up to date and to recognize that the development would now occur in one phase instead of five phases.
“We also want to do the roads because it is a good winter project for my client to get done with their contractor [Drain Bros. Excavating Ltd.] The township rightly asked for a pre servicing agreement to be in place and we have no problem with that,” he says.
Carson brought up a point that in bigger municipalities, like Toronto, agreements usually need to be in place before any work starts.
“Otherwise, when it does finally get registered, the situation could be different than what was agreed to initially. So, it’s best to get the amending agreements done and registered before any work gets started,” she says.
Musgrove confirmed Carson’s interpretation of the situation, saying that they had the agreements from 2010 that had to be amended. She said that the engineering had been revised, and new engineered drawings had been submitted and approved by Jewell Engineering.
“So, the engineering is finalized, the Crowe Valley Conservation Authority has reviewed it and approved it. What we’re stuck with now in the amending agreements is that the shoreline road allowance purchase needs to be started and completed by Trident Members Inc. We don’t have the legal description of the lands and need to have that before anything can be registered,” she says.
Musgrove said that there was also a small risk that the shoreline road allowance may not be approved, as it needs to be circulated to the public and approved by council, which she says is never a given.
“A bylaw needs to be registered on title and this whole process can take several months. Again, the holdup primarily is that Trident Members Inc. has not moved ahead with the shoreline road allowance,” she says.
Carson wondered why Trident had not moved ahead with the shoreline road allowance and wondered what the point was in allowing them to do the roads construction when there was no guarantee that the development would get registered or that the shoreline road allowance would get approved.
MacKillican asked Musgrove how long the amending agreements would likely take to finalize. Musgrove replied that the forms were finalized and had been sent to Burton and Davenport, and if they are satisfied with the revisions and the shoreline road allowance purchase goes ahead as soon as possible, it could be done in several months, but thought it was most likely going be in the summer.
Burton said he’d not had a chance to look at the revised amending agreements Musgrove had sent him yet, as it has only been a few days since he had gotten them, but that he would do so as soon as possible. Davenport said he’d looked at them and was supportive of them.
Burton said they still needed to get a survey done of the shoreline area to proceed with the shoreline road allowance, thus the delay. However, Davenport said that he did have a survey and that the application for the shoreline road allowance could proceed soon as a result.
Carson was adamant that the shoreline road allowance needed to be started and completed as soon as possible.
“If people buy lots and they don’t have the shoreline and common elements like the dock that they were promised, we’ll get sued. It’s our job to ensure that the ratepayers that move here or already live here are protected. And if the survey is done that’s fantastic. Let’s get going and get the shoreline road allowance application in and let’s go,” she says.
MacKillican agreed, and said that given the survey’s done, the shoreline road allowance application could be put in soon and the amendments to the subdivision and condominium agreements seemed to be close to completion, they could do this without skipping any of the appropriate steps in the process.
“And as I’ve always said, I’m okay with this as long as we follow the steps. So, it sounds like we don’t need a special pre servicing agreement. It sounds like we can get in gear and get all the steps in order as required by the planning process,” she says.
Burton said that although he and his client would prefer to do the pre servicing agreement and get started on the roads construction right away, they would respect whatever council decided to do.
Stefanski still proposed going ahead with the roads construction and pre servicing agreement as there would be a lot of noise, dust, and truck traffic involved, which would be less inconvenient to residents should it be done in the winter versus the spring or summer.
While MacKillican, Carson, and Councillor Ingo Weise acknowledged there’d be the inconvenience, they thought it would be minimal, and would be worth it to have the development registered before any construction occurs.
However, Stefanski opted to put forth a motion to do the roads in the winter with the pre servicing agreement, as he still felt that residents would be inconvenienced and complain to the township if the roads construction happened in the spring or summer. In a recorded vote, the motion was defeated by a margin of three to two. Stefanski and Councillor Glenn Locke voted yes, while Weise, Carson and MacKillican voted against it.
After that, they proceeded with a vote on getting the amending agreements done, having the shoreline road allowance purchase be submitted and approved and taking take of any other minor issues within the next several months. This vote, also recorded, was passed unanimously.
According to Musgrove, once the Limerick Lake Estates development is registered and approved by the township, Hastings County approves it and the Land Registry Office approves the final plans, it will take a matter of weeks before it is ready to go and the construction can commence.
Limerick Township scheduled a planning meeting for Jan. 17 at 10:30 a.m. where Limerick Lake Estates was discussed again, and The Bancroft Times will provide any updates in next week’s edition of the paper.
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times