As most residents that live in the Brookside Canyon Hill and Yonge St area know, there have been ongoing Council, Community, and Stakeholder discussions to plan for the Key Development Area that straddles Yonge St. in this area. (To learn more about this issue please click here).
In fact, in 2017 a plan was approved by Council that included significant community and stakeholder input to provide a Secondary Plan for the area that would guide future intensification of the area.
In 2018 a motion was put forward by the current Council to direct staff to provide a new plan that would provide additional residential and commercial density to the original plan.
I remain opposed to this move as I am confident that the original plan, passed by Council in 2017, struck an acceptable balance of intensification for the area and was consistent with the current Richmond Hill Official Plan. Further, I still believe it is inappropriate and unnecessary to add additional density to the recently approved plan.
In any case, Richmond Hill Council will soon be presented with this new intensified KDA plan for their consideration.
When the 2017 KDA Plan was approved by the previous Council several land owners in the area appealed the plan to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). As such there is an LPAT hearing scheduled for the end of June and beginning of July of this year to hear these appeals. Council must make a decision on the KDA Plan before this hearing date in order to prepare for this LPAT Hearing. LPAT has adjourned all hearings up to June 30th in response to the COVID-19 situation, but has not confirmed if the KDA hearing, that straddles the adjournment time frame, will go ahead or be rescheduled.
It is quite problematic that Richmond Hill Council may need, at this time, to provide direction to our Planning staff in the form of a Council approved KDA plan in order to defend a Council position at the LPAT hearing. Under the Current COVID-19 situation if the hearing is to go ahead as planned, Richmond Hill would be forced to approve this plan at a time where our Council meetings are held remotely and the Public has relatively little opportunity to directly participate in these meetings due to the COVID-19 shutdown at the City.
I have reached out to both of Richmond Hill’s Members of Provincial Parliament to ask that they work to have this LPAT hearing deferred so that the Council’s consideration of this KDA plan may then also be deferred until the public has a better opportunity to provide input.
This delay is crucially important given that so many members of the public have worked hard over the years on this plan and that there is a great deal of public concern related to this issue. The public needs to be able to participate as fully as possible and this is not possible under these difficult circumstances.
I will do my best to keep the area residents informed about the dates for this plan to come to Council but at the present moment this item is tentatively scheduled to be considered at the Council meeting on April 22nd.
For full information on this KDA Plan please click here to view the dedicated page on the Richmond Hill website.