The Niagara Escarpment Commission voted to refuse an application from McMaster University to build a 5,000 square foot institution building at 1105 Lower Lions Club Road (behind Harpers Garden Centre on Wilson) during their January hearings (page 44 of minutes).
The NEC staff report states City of Hamilton staff were not in favour of the proposal:
- The City of Hamilton has identified that a “Formal Consultation Application” was made to the City of Hamilton regarding this proposal. Through the review of that application, it was noted that an amendment to the NEP and RHOP would be required to permit the proposed use. As part of those applications, the applicant would need to demonstrate that the proposed use was small scale and serving the rural community.
- The City has identified that additional studies would be required, including a geotechnical study, to confirm the erosion hazard limit to the satisfaction of the Hamilton Conservation Authority, as the lands are within the Regulated area.
- Based on the above, City staff are of the opinion that insufficient information has been provided to date to determine if the use is appropriate in the rural area, and that this proposal should be reviewed through the regular NEP Amendment and Hamilton Official Plan Amendment processes, with the submission of the required studies.
McMaster University is now in Formal Consultation with the City of Hamilton the proposal, which will be reviewed by the staff Development Review Team in the coming week.
NEC staff comments were generally supportive of the project, and given liberal interpretations to NEC policies.
It appears likely the proposal will be approved once the studies requested are completed, the plan refined to better fit NEC policies.
McMaster had previously sought to have the property removed from the Greenbelt and Niagara Escarpment Commission control - had McMaster been successful, the property's value would have skyrocketed as it could eventually be subject to residential development if rezoned in a future application. In each case that McMaster made the request during the Greenbelt review, City Council voted to ask the Province to reject the request.