As reported to our Annual General Meeting on July 9, 2016 and noted in the Fall 2016 edition of Current Connection, the Lake of Bays Association has appealed the reductions to back lot standards in the Township Official Plan from 10 to 7 acres to the Ontario Municipal Board (“OMB”). LOBA is represented on this appeal by Mary Flynn-Guglietti of McMillan LLP, a leading lawyer in municipal law, and Lorelei Jones of Macauley Shiomi Howson Ltd, a leading municipal planning firm.
The preliminary hearing for the appeal was heard on February 12, 2017 at the Township offices in Dwight. As expected, we learned from this hearing that the appeal will be a single issue appeal (on the issue of back lot standards) between LOBA, the Township of Lake of Bays and the District of Muskoka. The hearing for the appeal is now scheduled for September 12, 2017 in Dwight and is expected to last for up to two days.
Please mark September 12 and 13 on your calendars and attend some or all of the hearing if you are able and concerned about this issue.
As noted in previous communications, there are important reasons that LOBA has proceeded with this appeal (please see the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing letter dated May 16, 2016 and our letter to the District of Muskoka dated March 10, 2016). First, a large number of our members are very concerned about this issue and approximately 100 of you sent letters of objection to the Township of Lake of Bays when the matter was being considered. In sum, LOBA and almost all members we have heard from are concerned that the change in back lot standards could have unanticipated and unforeseeable impacts on the character and environment of our lake and constitute a very undesirable direction for planning policy. These changes have been advanced by the Township without planning support from Township planning staff or its planning consultant, without any evaluation of the consequences they might have and without support of planning professionals from the District of Muskoka or the Province. So, there are many good reasons why LOBA must proceed with this appeal.
We anticipate the overall costs of the appeal, once it will be finally completed will be in the $60k to $70k range. While these costs will be absorbed by our Action Fund (over $30k in donations to the Action Fund have been received during the Official Plan review process), we will welcome new donations from individual members to the Action Fund to support this appeal.
While there can be no guarantee of outcomes in litigious matters like this appeal, our lawyer considers our case to be excellent and supported by strong witnesses.