Mayor and members of council,
Politically you have nothing to gain from approving the urban boundary expansion. Approving the expansion opens the door to an OMB appeal and allows your opponents and critics to blame you during the upcoming municple elections for approving urban sprawl on ecologically sensitive lands and adding to the city’s future congestion woes.
The Region and your own planning department have placed you in a predicament which in our view seems politically disadvantageous. Approving the expansion squarely places the responsibility on your shoulders, the Region and Planning Department shoulders no blame in the media and public conscious. Your vote approves urban sprawl and worse sets up an appeal where you will collectively look like the bad guy in the media. We don’t hear from citizens that they want an urban boundary expansion.
We suggest council go back to your consultants and planning department and review what Sustainable Vaughan believes, that the City’s Official Plan urban boundary expansion does not comply to the Places to Grow Act. Below are the sections that, in our opinion, fail to meet the criteria for an urban boundary expansion. Please test the points below internally. We are happy to meet with any or all of you to discuss these points in greater detail.
1) Not providing the six missing intensification numbers in the official plan results in non compliance to Places to Grow Act 126.96.36.199 a) (See Hemson, “Housing Analysis and Employment Land Needs, Final Report” Table 2).
Places to Grow Act 188.8.131.52 a) “a settlement area boundary expansion may only occur…where it has been demonstrated that, a) sufficient opportunities to accommodate forecasted growth …, are not available.”
2) By removing 70% of apartments from the greenfield lands the Official Plan is in non compliance to Places to Grow Act 184.108.40.206 b) & c) (See Hemson, “Housing Analysis and Employment Land Needs, Final Report” Table 6).
Places to Grow Act 220.127.116.11 b) “the expansion makes available sufficient lands for a time horizon not exceeding 20 yrs.”
Places to Grow Act 18.104.22.168 c) “the timing of the expansion and the phasing of development within the designated Greenfield area will not adversely affect the achievement of the intensification target and density targets, and other policies of this Plan”.
3) Removing apartments from the urban boundary expansion lands fails Places to Grow Act Section 2.1.
Places to Grow Act Section 2.1 “This plan is about building complete communities, whether urban or rural. These are communities that are well-designed, offer transportation choices, accommodate people at all stages of life and have the right mix of housing, a good range of jobs, and easy access to stores and services to meet daily needs”.
York Region has identified apartments in the expansion lands, the Vaughan Official Plan removed these and added more housing units then what the Region allocated. (See Hemson, “Housing Analysis and Employment Land Needs, Final Report” Table 8 & Table 5: York Region 2031 Whitebelt Area Unit Requirement by Structure Type and Local Municipality).
At the very least, understand what you are approving and the basis on what it is founded on. We’ve spent four months trying to offer an easy out, a five year moratorium on expansion, in my opinion, a very good political resolution.