OMB Decision on Country Lots and Villages (Oct – Nov 2011)

December 5, 2011

By the time the OMB hearing on country lot estates (CLEs) and villages got underway on October 24, the only appeal left to adjudicate was the matter of Council’s imposition of a 5-year moratorium on new country lot subdivisions. All other issues had been dropped or settled.

The Greenspace Alliance was admitted as a Party to this hearing, provided it would not put into question the very concept of country lot estates. Amy Kempster, assisted by Elina Elnione, made opening and closing statements and cross-examined witnesses. Amy’s Opening Statement came out in support of the moratorium and demonstrated that the Provincial Policy Statement, while not outright prohibiting CLEs, was clearly very averse to it.

Cavanagh, the only appellant participating, through the testimony of Murray Chown, argued that a 5-year moratorium is not permitted under the Planning Act. The Board, in its Decision issued on November 25, 2011, rejected that argument and instead found planning merit in Council’s decision.

(For background on CLEs, please refer elsewhere on this web site.)

Erwin Dreessen

December 8, 2011

Cavanagh seeks leave to appeal the OMB’s decision on CLEs
Thomas Cavanagh Construction Limited today filed leave to appeal the OMB’s decision concurring with the 5-year Moratorium on Country Lot Estates to the Divisional Court.

The Notice (388 KB) argues that such a Moratorium is illegal under the Planning Act.

July 16, 2012

CLE Moratorium: Leave to appeal granted
Divisional Court granted leave to appeal the OMB’s decision to uphold the moratorium on country lot estate applications. The 10-page decision, dated June 28, 2012, is attached (1.5 MB).

Formally, this decision only grants leave to appeal the OMB Decision of November 25, 2011. In doing so, however, it rather severely criticizes the Board’s basis for approving the moratorium, including it calling the measure a “pause”. “It is highly debatable”, the Judge says, “that a moratorium on land development for five years, particularly without assurances that future development will be permitted, would ordinarily be described as a ‘pause'”. And further: “It is not implausible to conclude that even if moratoriums could be imposed as measures to support the objectives in an official plan, a term of five years would be considered excessive, bearing in mind the specific limitations on similar measures contained in s. 38 [of the Planning Act]”. (Section 38 is about interim control by-laws, which can be in effect for a maximum of two years.)

The City had an articling intern represent its interests.

For the next stage in the fate of Country Lot Estates in Ottawa, please refer to the OPA 150 story elsewhere on this web site, and to the outcome on CLEs in particular.