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Old Posted Nov 4, 2017, 2:59 PM
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Sonoma Homes’ proposed 12-storey development in Ancaster to be heard by Ontario Municipal Board under tight security

Nov 02, 2017 by Kevin Werner

A controversial 12-storey proposed development in Ancaster will have a five-day hearing next June before the Ontario Municipal Board.

It will be conduct under tight security after the lawyer representing the proponent, Sonoma Homes Limited, received a threatening phone call late this summer.

Denise Bakers of WeirFoulds told chair Scott Tousaw she has requested the board provide security after her law firm received a phone call she believed was an attempt to intimidate her.

“This is unacceptable in this public process. I will have to take the necessary action,” said Baker. “I did notify the board.”

She said later the firm received one phone call, but had yet to decide whether to inform the police about it. Baker said the decision to call the police was contingent on what happened at the board’s pre-hearing on Nov. 1 in Dundas.

The phone call was made in late summer after Sonoma Homes sent out notices about the pre-hearing.

City of Hamilton lawyer Patrick MacDonald said the city can arrange to provide the needed security.

Tousaw told the handful of people attending the pre-hearing that making a threatening phone call “is not only inappropriate, it is illegal.”

“The board won’t tolerate this level of behaviour,” said Tousaw, who added it has the authority to award costs to the injured party.

Sonoma Homes is appealing to the board over a nondecision by Hamilton councillors on a 12-storey, 92-unit residential development application that was made to the city in April 2016 at 1117 Garner Rd. E. The application is a “revised” document the developer made to the city for the same property.

Hamilton councillors approved initial rezoning and official plan amendments requested by Sonoma Homes Ltd. to allow for a three-storey, 36-unit mixed use development in May 2014. The original application was made by the company in 2012.

In a report to the planning committee in 2016, staff stated the 12-storey proposal was “out of character with (the) existing planned neighbourhood.” Staff stated they were “concerns” about the height and scale of the building.

The proposal also includes 198 parking spaces, with 114 below grade, while 46 will be surface parking.

The property is located along a stretch of Garner Road East that is currently under increased residential construction. North of the Sonoma Homes property is the Garner Road water reservoir and pumping station.

An automobile service station had previously been located on the property, but it was closed in the 1990s.

Donato Cascioli was granted participant status for the hearing. He owns property beside Sonoma Homes Ltd. development at 1157 and 1175 Garner Rd. E, where he has rental properties. Cascioli said he has plans to build either 29 townhouses or “multi-level homes in the future.”

Edward Hansen, a resident who lives across the street from the proposed Sonoma Homes development, said the 12-storey building “exceeded” current planning requirements. He also said the proposal would contribute to the existing traffic problems along Garner Road.

“Traffic is backed up from (Upper) Paradise (Road) every day during rush hour,” he said.

Hansen was granted participant status at the hearing.

Baker said Sonoma Homes appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board for a nondecision by council in November 2016, or 224 days since the company filed its application to the city. She said it has also taken 11 months for the board to hold a pre-hearing on the issue.

“It’s very unusual,” she said.

Granted party status in the hearing was Rosehaven Homes Ltd., which owns property north and west of the Sonoma Homes Ltd. lands.

Tousaw, who will not be overseeing the hearing, said it will take place from June 18 to 22 in Dundas, starting at 10 a.m.
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