A settlement of a dispute between the City of Sarnia and the developer of a 10.6 hectare (26.4 acre) piece of land at Modeland Road and Michigan Avenue has been proposed.
The proposed settlement will now be considered by a representative of the Ontario Municipal Board, which had its first hearing on Monday at Sarnia City Hall.
A settlement in the dispute would put an end to a legal challenge to the entire Official Plan for the City of Sarnia, one that if the City lost, might have jeopardized more than just the Sifton development.
Sifton had wanted to build some 160 retirement apartment units as well as 64 single family homes. There would also be 39 townhouse units and some 2,415 square metres of commercial development.
When that proposal was nixed by Sarnia City Council, Sifton appealed to the OMB.
Under the proposed settlement, the developer says it is eliminating the retirement complex, which is described as medium density and increasing the number of single family lots to 75.
It has shrunk the size of the land devoted to commercial development while keeping the same square footage, which is 23,300 square feet.
The deal would also have Sifton withdrawing its appeal of the city’s new Official Plan.
On Monday, as part of a phase 1 hearing, OMB vice-chairperson Steve Stefanko said he would consider the submissions and deliver a decision, “as soon as I possibly can.”
Going forward, Sifton will be working with the City on details of a subdivision plan, independent of the OMB review process (it reportedly will take three-to-four weeks for a decision on the proposed settlement to be rendered).
Sifton spokesperson Jamie Sloan, who is a sales representative at Exit Realty Twin Bridges in Sarnia, called the deal a “great compromise . . . one that will see our vision complete with residential uses of single family and seniors living mixed with a commercial component . . . ”
Sloan said a green light from the OMB would result in development starting to take shape as early as spring 2017.
He also said there would be economic benefits to the immediate, surrounding neighhbourhoods and the City in the form of tax revenue.
The settlement is opposed by at least three residents, three of whom were at the hearing. Gerry Whitcombe, Debbie Krukowski and Elizabeth Wood McDonald all spoke against the Sifton proposal and the proposed settlement.