TPR Email Edition for October 22, 2018: 155 Choices, Pick 34

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Election Day in Hamilton

Voting is underway as Hamiltonians go to the polls elect 1 Mayor, 15 Councillors, 11 Public School Board Trustees, and 7 Catholic School Board Trustees. There are 155 candidates combined across all the ballots, and The Public Record made it our mission to provide you with the ability to decide who you’ll vote for.

My election day thoughts on each race ward-by-ward is now on The Public Record as a Coleman’s Note: The Election Day Summary  

The Public Record did something that no other media outlet has done before – interview all candidates, asking them about their platforms, way they are running, and to decrease the three words they hope will describe their term as an elected official during the upcoming four years. 102 candidates agreed to be interviewed, and over seven weeks, I travelled across all parts of Hamilton to interview the candidates for The Public Record’s The 155 Podcast.

As of Friday, there had been over 100,000 downloads of The 155 episodes. It appears that another 50,000 downloads occurred over the weekend.

I wish to thank all the members of The Public Record’s Press Club who funded this project, without patrons, the project would’ve been impossible to complete. In the coming weeks, I’ll discuss this project further, and how I plan to improve the interviews for the next municipal election. Help ensure The Public Record remains a fixture in providing comphrensive coverage of Hamilton, join Press Club today.

Election Night – I’ll be covering LPAT hearings this week (more on that below), and will be working from home Monday night. I’ll provide a full overview, and review, of election results in Tuesday morning’s newsletter.

 


The Week Ahead – LPAT Hearings

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, formerly known as the Ontario Municipal Board, is conducting three hearings in Hamilton this week, and I’ll be covering all three. Pre-hearings are where the parties and participants are identified, the issues to be decided upon are outlined, the expected length of the full hearing is determined, and dates for the full hearings are decided.  

Monday is the pre-hearing for 195 Wellington Street South, where Medallion Properties is seeking LPAT approval to build a 20-storey residential building on the property which borders Corktown Park. Medallion’s appeal is for non-decision. and will be conducted under old OMB rules. The pre-hearing starts at 10am Monday at the renovated Wentworth County Courthouse at 50 Main Street East. The case number is PL171389

Tuesday the much politicized hearing into Sonoma homes planned mid-rise development at 1518, 1530, and 1540 Upper Sherman Avenue will be in front of LPAT for pre-hearing, Sonoma recently amended the project and is now asking LPAT to rule on a proposal for 321 units in four mid-rise buildings: two 11-storey buildings, a nine-story building, and a eight-storey building. The planning consultant for Sonoma Homes, Glen Wellings, told Hamilton Community News two weeks ago that the new plan conforms with the new Urban Hamilton Official Plan, and therefore the proposal no longer needs an official plan amendment, but only rezoning. It will be interesting to hear the City’s planning staff response to the changes.

This development is in the planned Rymal Road rapid transit corridor, at the intersection of two arterial roads, and it’s hard to see how – despite the promises of aspiring politicians running for the Ward 7 Council seat – the development will not be approved in some form by the LPAT. The appeal is for non-decision under the old OMB rules. The pre-hearing starts at 10am Tuesday at the renovated Wentworth County Courthouse at 50 Main Street East, case number is PL180175

Friday, the City’s new Downtown Secondary Plan is under indirect review as Brad Lamb’s Television City appeal for 163 Jackson Street West (the CHCH Studio site) is in front of LPAT for its pre-hearing. First thing the LPAT is likely to be asked to rule upon is if the appeal is for non-decision by Council, or if its an appeal of a denial by Council. Lamb filed his appeal prior to Council formally denying the application to build two towers – one of 40 storeys, the other of 30 storey -, but after it was known that Council would vote to deny.

Lamb’s proposal is more than 25% taller than the height limits of the new Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan, but the primary section of the DHSP that will be challenge is the tower separation requirements, under the design requirements of the DTSP, the site is appropriate for only one tower. The pre-hearing starts at 10am Friday at the renovated Wentworth County Courthouse at 50 Main Street East, case number is PL180255

(The appeals of the Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan will be subject to a Case Management Conference on November 22nd)


Update on LPAT Cases of Note

Hamilton’s New Commercial Mixed Use Zoning Appeal

The City of Hamilton’s legal team massively screwed up two weeks ago at the LPAT pre-hearing into the City’s new Commercial Mixed Use Zoning – the top LPAT priority for Council, and one of the top priorities of Hamilton’s development and real estate communities. 

The City failed to file basic zoning maps and documentation with the Tribunal, it was a devastatingly amateur error, and one which the hearing officer chastised the City for making such a amateur error that will cost thousands of dollars to the parties in delays.

The other parties asked for a quick rescheduling of the pre-hearing – there are dozens, if not hundreds of projects across Hamilton awaiting the implementation of the new zoning – and the hearing officer gave a one-day rescheduling for November 30, which the requirement that parties exchange positions and most of their arguments in writing prior to the hearing.  As for the City of Hamilton’s standing in front of the LPAT, the City lost a lot of good faith with the Tribunal for this error.

The Public Record has requested copies of all submissions and arguments in this hearing, and I’ll be there covering the pre-hearing on November 30th.

City Fails to File Required Documents to LPAT, LPAT Issues Order Against City

Adding to the major failing of the City’s legal team in the CMU appeal, LPAT issued a public ruling against the City of Hamilton ordering the City to obey the Planning Act and immediately file its documentation to the tribunal within a week of the order, and further documentation within 30 days of the first filing.

I can find no other example of a municipality being publicly ordered to obey the rules of the Tribunal.
The City’s failure to file will further delay the Green Organic Dutchman’s appeal of the Council – at the request of Ward 12 Councillor Lloyd Ferguson – to deny permission for a new greenhouse for growing and harvesting medical marijuana.

Development Charges on Laneway Housing

The LPAT hearing into a development charges levied against laneway housing will be held on February 11, 2019. This will determine the attractiveness of constructing laneway housing; which is seen as a means of adding to Hamilton’s housing stock, increasing housing affordability, and gently increasing density. The owners of Hamilton’s first laneway house are appealing what they say are unjustified development charges, the City is arguing that the development charges levied are necessary for the City to recover the costs of servicing new laneway homes, and providing services to new residents.


THE PUBLIC RECORD PRESS CLUB

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Join 85 fellow Hamiltonians as Press Club members and help both sustain and grow the future of local journalism right here in Hamilton.
Click here to learn more and sign up.


Hamilton News Briefs


City Loses to Christian Heritage Party in Divisional Court

In a case The Public Record has covered extensively, the Ontario Divisional Court has ruled against the City of Hamilton’s decision to remove a controversial bus shelter advertisement placed by the Christian Heritage Party against the City’s transgender policy.
In a unanimous three-judge panel decision of the Divisional Court, Justice Michael N. Varpio wrote that the City’s decision, and Council’s endorsement of the decision, was unreasonable because the City failed to do any of the balancing tests required by law when censoring speech.
“The fundamentally flawed procedure undertaken by the City was sufficiently barren so as to prevent meaningful judicial review.  There is no real record to consider.  It cannot be said that the passing of the Motion was therefore reasonable.”
The decision, which took four months to release, was surprisingly short for a legal decision. The Justices having carefully written their decision not to create a precedent that other courts will cite, yet in the legal language very clearly chastised the city for poor judgment, poor process, and poor arguments in front of the court.
While the Court ruled in favour of the Christian Heritage Party, it did not give the CHP to remedy that it sought – specifically, the Court made no order requiring the City to repost the advertisement, nor did the Court set any limitations (not already existing in law) for the City in re-reviewing the ad if CHP resubmits it for posting to the City.

Last Tuesday, City Council was to hold an emergency meeting to considering appealing to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Only eight of the 16 Council members showed up to work on Tuesday, and the meeting failed to make quorum.  City Solicitor Nicole Auty states the City will file an appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal “to preserve appeal rights”, and the next Council will need to decide if they’ll continue with the appeal, or withdraw.

This area of administrative law – advertising in public spaces controlled by government – is one that I’ve been following for over a decade. I covered the key case in this area, Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority v. Canadian Federation of Students — British Columbia Component, 2009 SCC 31, when I worked for Macleans and for The Globe and Mail, and have been following the case law since. I’ll be working on my review of the CHP v. City of Hamilton ruling in the coming week, while only 64 paragraphs, the Divisional Court case is a good starting point to discuss what the City of Hamilton did wrong, and what it needed to do to be legally correct.

SIU Investigating Fatal Hamilton Police Shooting

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit is investigating after Hamilton Police fatality shot a 30-year-old woman Saturday morning. The SIU says Hamilton Police responded to a 911 call stating a woman was armed with a knife at a residence on King Street East near Wellington Street North at approximately 1am. The SIU says they are investigating one officer as a subject officer – the one who discharged their firearm – and have designated two officers as witnesses. The SIU is assigning six investigators and three forensic investigators to the case.


Be Informed

The Greater Golden Horseshoe’s Housing Crunch

McMaster’s Dr. Jim Dunn was on TVO’s The Agenda last week discussing how Toronto’s housing overflow is impacting communities surrounding Toronto in the Greater Golden Horseshoe including Hamilton. Watch on TVO.org

Andrew Coyne on London’s Ranked Balloting 

When London Ontario residents go to the polls today, they are going to make history. Londoners will vote in Canada’s first ever ranked ballot election. Andrew Coyne discusses this landmark moment, and how it has changed campaigning in the mayoral race which has been focused on ideas as candidates cannot engage in wedge issue politics, needing to earn the second choice votes from those who will rank one of their opponents as their first choices.

Coyne writes:

But it’s at least as significant what else will happen on election day — indeed, what already has. The mayoral campaign, in particular, has been notably lacking in the usual name-calling and recriminations, even in the campaign’s last days: why risk alienating other candidates’ supporters, who might otherwise mark you second or third, especially in a close race?


Get Engaged

Thursday October 25
McMaster President’s Awards for Community Engaged Scholarship. McMaster is recognizing contributions of its scholars and projects to the Hamilton community, the awards event is open to the public, with tickets to the event free of charge. The awards reception runs from 3:15pm to 5:00pm at McMaster’s Downtown medical campus, 100 Main Street West.

Tuesday November 13
Our Future Hamilton Summit. The City of Hamilton says it wants your thoughts on public safety, and is holding a half-day summit on November 13 to gather your feedback on what should be the priorities for the City’s new public safety vision – including public health, emergency preparedness, and access to a healthy environment. Registration is open, and tickets are free, visit The City of Hamilton website for more information.

Tuesday November 13
Indwell Conversation on the Future of Jamesville. With the City of Hamilton’s ongoing plan to clear out the affordable housing on James Street North, known as Jamesville, and to put the land up for sale to private bidders, Indwell will discuss their ideas of the future of the site, and what a private-public partnership could be. The discussion is at the Dr. John M. Perkins Centre, 1429 Main Street East, from 7pm to 9pm.


Shout Outs

Zachary’s Paws. For provided pet-sitting for people in hospital, read TheSpec’s profile of the program.

The McMaster Students Union. For a great voter awareness campaign, check out their MSU Advocacy Facebook page to see how excellent their work has been, with great info on what we need to have to vote, and how to register at the polls.

 

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