Sunday, October 21, 2012

More Nimby

I’m getting rusty, I guess.

My plan was to read a city of Hamilton Planning report and provide an update to a story I’d done recently.

That was the plan but to my eyes the report is pretty much incomprehensible and that is saying something for a planning report.

As a recap the City of Hamilton denied the approval of a “Residential Care Facility” (their word) at 121 Augusta Street in Hamilton.  This would have allowed a mental health program for teenage girls to relocate to this address from the city owned building the non-profit operated.  This building requires   extensive renovations and costly repair. The denial was based this on the City’s Radial Distance Separation (RDS) Policy.

Many believe that   these RDS policies violate basic human rights and the city may be forced to address that matter in an Ontario Municipal Board hearing later this year.

But out the blue and I’ll quote from the planning report here:

staff’s attention was drawn to the difficulty the applicant had in securing alternative locations within the City limits that were conducive and appropriate for the proposed use.”

Not said here, but important to note, is that the city caused and continues to cause a lot of those to the staff report:

“On closer examination of the search parameters identified by the applicant, staff determined that the proposed function of the facility will not be that of a Residential Care Facility, and that the characterization of the proposed use as a Residential Care Facility by the applicant’s planning consultant is not representative of the intended use, having regard for how the By-law treats a Residential Care Facility.”

At a preliminary OMB hearing last week the city argued that they don’t want the RDS policy considered.  

That is the same policy, of course,  that they previously used to argue against approval before their “closer examination” produced another planning argument.  The hearing officer reserved judgement on this.

Councillor Brad Clark put it well, I think.

"It’s embarrassing to have the human rights commissioner intervene at the OMB when our vision is to be the best place to raise a child.”