McMaster Appeals to OMB on Main West Student Rez Proposal Prior to LPAT Taking Over

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Joey Coleman/The Public Record

McMaster's proposed student residence as shown to the Design Review Panel in February 2018.

McMaster University has appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board for non-decision in their application to build a student residence at 1190 Main Street West, the appeal was filed just before the OMB was eliminated in favour of the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

McMaster’s appeal is one of over a dozen in Hamilton by development applicants seeking to protect their interests under the more developer friendly OMB rules rather than risk having to appeal under the new LPAT rules.

Hamilton’s Director of Planning and Chief Planner Steve Robichaud tells The Public Record that McMaster informed the City prior to filing the appeal. Robichaud says McMaster intends to treat their application as if they didn’t appeal and will go to Council for a full public hearing, including community consultations.

McMaster’s is proposing two twelve story buildings to house approximately 1500 students. If approved, the buildings will extend the campus further east on Main West to Dalewood Avenue, McMaster purchased numerous single family homes to secure the land for the development.

A key reason for McMaster to appeal for non-decision is that under the LPAT framework considerable weight will be given to the opinion of the city’s Design Review Panel.

DPR was very critical of the proposal for its design and massing, its choice of materials, and members stated that it will not fit within the neighbourhood and in its present form it represents poor planning.

In February, the panel advised McMaster to redesign the proposal, with many members stating that McMaster should look at a point tower on the western part that borders the present campus to achieve the number of units they are seeking while stepping down the building towards the east where it will abut single family residential zoning.

No date is yet been set for Council to consider the application, and no hearing dates have been set for the OMB appeal.

With McMaster’s OMB appeal, any decision of Council at a future Planning Committee public meeting would be considered a “settlement” offer and require OMB approval.

The Public Record registered with the OMB last week to receive updates on the appeal. Nearby residents can contact the Board to receive information.

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