At their meeting on Tuesday, August 1, 2023, Municipality of Port Hope Council announced that a settlement has been reached regarding Phase 2 of OLT File OLT-22-003126 (also referred to as Phase 5B Lands) of the Penryn Mason Homes subdivision development. This area is commonly referred to in the community as “the woodlot”.
Proposed Minutes of Settlement were presented at a previous closed session of Council, which was a result of extensive negotiations by municipal staff and legal counsel at the direction of municipal Council.
At the closed session on August 1, 2023, Council gave municipal legal counsel direction to sign the final Minutes of Settlement and the final planning instruments. Legal counsel and municipal staff were also directed to attend the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) hearing date on September 7, 2023. At that time the proponents’ experts will be presenting evidence in support of the settlement to seek approval of the planning instruments by the OLT.
The details of the current proposal, as outlined in the proposed settlement, includes development on Phase 5B lands (the woodlot and a 120m buffer around the woodlot) for low/medium density residential units, with 58 singled detached residential lots and 43 townhouses. The settlement also includes:
• The transfer of a significant part of the privately owned Little Creek ravine lands to the Municipality. While this land was previously protected lands, it will now be under the care and control of the Municipality for public recreation use by all.
• $100k contribution to the Municipality of Port Hope to be used within the Municipality for tree plantings / canopy replacement.
• Installation of enhanced landscaping features along the front of dwellings along Victoria Street South.
• Agreement by the proponent to conduct a Heritage Impact Assessment, to the Municipality’s satisfaction, to address any development impacts on the cultural landscape and features identified in the LHC Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report and implement any recommendations of the Heritage Impact assessment on the lots within this plan of subdivision as identified in the assessment.
In their decision making, Council considered previous Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) decisions and consistent legal advice that the probability of a successful outcome for the Municipality was deemed very low, given the prior development approvals by the OMB. Further, significant costs, upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars associated with this matter, and the risk that the Municipality may not have gained any of the agreed upon concessions per the settlement agreement also weighed heavily into Council’s decision to pursue settlement negotiations.
“This matter is critically important to our community, and I want to assure our residents that Council arrived at this decision after a great deal of deliberation and due diligence from our staff and our legal representation over a number of months and multiple meetings, at the direction of Council,” states Mayor Olena Hankivsky.
“This was an exceedingly complex and challenging process. We take our responsibility to represent Port Hope residents very seriously and to make informed decisions that considers all of
the perspectives, information and legal advice provided to us to serve the interests of the community as a whole. While this decision may be disappointing news to some members of our community, Council is confident it represents the best outcome in this scenario.”
It is important to note that once a matter is appealed to the OLT, the final decision on any such matter rests with the OLT and not with the Council of the Municipality of Port Hope. As such, the Minutes of Settlement will need to be approved by the OLT before they are considered final.
Council has directed legal counsel and staff to make any appropriate technical and stylistic modifications to the plan instruments as may be required prior to the Hearing date on September 7, 2023.
The Minutes of Settlement will then be presented by staff and legal counsel for both parties to the OLT. The OLT will review and rule on the submission and provide next steps. The Municipality will share the OLT decision publicly when it is available.