Developers render of the proposed redevelopment of LiUNA's Winona Gardens property at 526 Winona Road in July 2022 Credit: HANDOUT

Two developments associated with LiUNA’s development arms are going to the Ontario Land Tribunal instead of City Council for a decision – 186 Hunter Street East and LiUNA Gardens in Stoney Creek.

Ontario’s Planning Act allows developers to appeal for “non-decision” by a municipal council 120 days after filing an Official Plan Amendment application.

LiUNA’s Wellington Hamilton Non-Profit Housing Inc. project at 186 Hunter Street proposes to build a 12-storey residential building with 104 residential units.

A percentage of the 104 units will be affordable using Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation definitions. The percentage is not yet set.

LiUNA’s Fengate Liuna Gardens Holdings LP project along Lake Ontario at 526 Winona Road proposes two 24-storey residential and two 15-storey buildings along with five townhouse blocks.

In total, the Winona Road project proposes to add 1212 units of residential housing.

Development applications were filed to the City of Hamilton in January. Both non-decision appeals were filed in June, days after the 120-day appeal thresholds were met.

The City of Hamilton states the applications were under review when the appeals were filed.

The City’s planning staff had not completed the work to provide comments to the developer.

Responding to questions regarding the appeal filed for the Winona Road project, City of Hamilton Chief Planner Steve Robichaud wrote, “at this point in time, the application is considered to be premature and the City would therefore be opposed to the application.”

“In accordance with standard practice, Legal staff will be seeking instructions from Council on the appeal,” Robichaud wrote.

Large applications, such as these, usually take months to complete initial reviews. In the past, LiUNA has not filed non-appeal decisions.

The Lakewood Beach Community Council says City Council needs to create a plan to better respond to non-decision appeals.

“With the changing environment and future outlook for what will likely be more appeals of this nature, now more than ever, residents need to elect local representatives who think and act differently,” the LBCC wrote in a statement.

“We can’t continue to be reactive. Council needs a proactive plan of action.”

LiUNA’s planning agent, Matt Johnston of Urban Solutions, states that LiUNA will be informing nearby residents of the appeals.

“Notice is anticipated to go to all residents within 120m and any others who made written submissions to the City,” he stated. “The OLT will prescribe how notice of the hearing is issued.”

The OLT has not yet issued instructions.

Residents will be able to file written statements to the OLT.

Recent changes to Ontario’s Planning Act will require municipalities to refund development application fees whenever they fail to meet statutory deadline deadlines.

Hamilton City Council will vote in August on reforms to the City’s planning policies in response to the changes to the Act.

Other developers are filing similar non-decision appeals.

The developer and City both state they plan to negotiate to see if a settlement can be reached before a full contested OLT hearing.

“It is anticipated that there may discussions with the applicant to determine if a negotiated settlement is possible,” Robichaud stated.

Council is expected to discuss the appeals in closed session in the coming weeks.

The OLT file numbers for the appeals are OLT-22-004063 for 186 Hunter Street East, and OLT-22-003989 for 526 Winona Road.

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Last edited: July 25, 2022
Author: Joey Coleman
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v. 1.0.1 CORRECTION: Matt Johnston not Johnson, from Urban Solutions

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