Wednesday, July 16, 2014

BREAKING NEWS

OK. It's not really "Breaking News."  It's BREAKING RUMOUR but that title doesn't look very good.  Here goes:

A very reliable source has revealed that the actual transcript of the cross examinations of Rick Shular, Stephen Passero and Doug Martin from the Conflict of Interest case against the four councillors (Bob Steckley, John Hill, Don Lubberts and Paul Collard) will soon be made public.  If that happens, the public can then read for themselves just how and why this suit was created.  It is rumoured to have explosive, under-oath testimony by at least one councillor who claimed that he was told what to do regarding the lawsuit by none other than the current EDTC and FELRC head, Jim Thibert.  This information may become available as soon as Monday.  This would make transparent just how far certain town officials went to destroy the reputations of four duly-elected councillors.  Stay tuned.

Before we go back to the Pettit Road Situation, I'd like to point out a recent example of what can happen if a dispute goes to the Ontario Municipal Board.


Dominion Road resident Shirley Belanger is expected to speak at Monday night's regular council meeting about an OMB ruling that has been ignored by the town.  Once again, good friend of and campaign donor to Lame Duck Mayor Doug Martin, developer Ed Lenchyshyn figures prominently in the scenario.

According to Ms. Belanger's Letter to the Editor that appeared in the Fort Erie Times on June 26, she and a dozen other neighbours in the area near the Old Fort on Dominion Road appeared at town council last September with a petition signed by 43 citizens protesting the proposed "variance to the town by-law which would allow Ed Lenchyshyn to change the frontage on a (72 foot) lot so he could squeeze two houses on the lot instead of one."

Ms. Belanger, being closest to the lot in question, appealed to the OMB in January with the decision coming down on March 25.  The "OMB ruled that the variance could be granted with the condition that a tree preservation plan be prepared by a certified arborist to the satisfaction of the Town to protect existing trees along the vacant lot," according to her letter.

She continued: "An arborist report was prepared, however, the town didn't require Mr. Lenchyshyn to abide by the requirements set out by the OMB, otherwise he would not have been allowed to build the second house on the property." She went on to recount her visit to the planning department "Abandon All Hope, Ye Regular Folks Who Enter Here," and the Lame Duck Mayor himself who said that Mr. Lenchyshyn would be fined for "not upholding the ruling" (BFD) Basically, the town did not feel itself responsible for upholding the OMB ruling against the mayor's good friend, campaign donor and braggart that he could "get anything he wanted in Fort Erie as long as he ...."

So, Ms. Belanger has now become aware of what many have reluctantly become aware of: the planning department only "listens" to developers - even when residents and neighbours in large numbers express their displeasure in the town's favouritism towards developers' whims.  Two houses now sit on the lot that was originally supposed to have only one - and the arborist's report was ignored.

Of course this all played out already over the past few years in the "plan-that-will-not-be-named" at a certain beach down the road. Mr. Lenchyshyn has a number of "questionable" development plans; plans that seem to ignore the neighbours or the ideals of good planning.  Why would he care anyway? He doesn't live in Fort Erie and he has made a lot of money in Fort Erie with the help of a very co-operative planning department.

PETTIT ROAD RESIDENTS UPSET WITH PLAN CHANGES:

In what seems like another case of the planning department not listening to the people, Monday night's Council in Committee Meeting of Fort Erie Town Council featured a report from the planning department about an amendment to a previously accepted site plan for Verona Homes'  Spears Gardens on the east side of Pettit Road, north of Garrison (Hwy. 3)  

The original plan called for 95 single, detached houses in the development.  The new request is for zoning changes to allow for 27 townhouse units that will bring the total residences up to 100.  It also calls for a large rainwater storage lagoon on the property. It would also include increased lot coverage in the four blocks of townhouses resulting in reduced lot frontage and side yard borders. According to Mr. Kernahan from the town planning department, the development would still adhere to the Spears-Highpoint Secondary Plan that dictates that the maximum density be 16 units per hectare. In addition, the townhouse heights would be raised to three stories, still within the parameters of the plan. 

Nearby residents weren't necessarily against those aspects of the zoning amendments, but they were upset that the developer wants to tear down a house he owns at 1220 Pettit Road to create an access/egress point for the development. This new road would form the main road into and out of the development and it would empty right onto Pettit Road which is currently heavily traveled and dangerous because of a blind hill near the proposed new road. 

Carmela Agro, speaking on behalf of the firm that planned the development, Upper Canada Consultants, explained the reasoning for the plan modification as "giving more options" in housing to potential buyers. She made rather vague references to possible "east-west road connections" in the plan, but failed to give specifics as to exactly where other roads might be placed other than a smaller road for emergency vehicles.  She did promise that a Traffic Study would be concluded in less than a month from that night and the results would be sent to council for further information.

Now, this is where the Statuary Public Meeting over the amendments to the site plan took a rather bizarre turn:

Dean Dimezio, former President of the Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce and insurance broker whose office is on the south side of Garrison at Daytona Drive, got up to speak IN FAVOUR OF THE PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE SITE PLAN.  Except he didn't.  He started out on the right note: "I'm in favour of development!" Then he went on a long-winded account of traffic problems at the corner of Pettit Road and Garrison Road and the other corner of the traffic light, his insurance office and Daytona Drive. He asked, "How will 100 homes help the situation?"  He went on to complain that the intersection was "too small right now as it is."  He hoped that council wouldn't just "push this through" as "this isn't going to get any better with 100 more houses."

He ended with the following warning: "If you approve this, please take a heavy look at the traffic. It's not all fun and games like they're making it out to be."

Whoa. That sure was an interesting take on the concept of speaking "in favour" of plan changes.  Remind me next time we need someone to speak "in favour" of some hare-brained idea from the planning department.


To show just how out-of-touch the planning department is about how things work in Fort Erie, a Pettit Road resident, who did speak against the road plan for 1220 Pettit, pointed out that at a public meeting on July 8, he talked to someone from the planning department about the already problematic situation for school buses dropping kids off along Pettit Road.  The planner suggested "moving the bus stop" not realizing that there are no bus stops along Pettit; kids are dropped off in front of their homes. Another resident asked that the Traffic Study be conducted once the kids are back to school to factor in the school buses into the busy traffic patterns on Pettit Road.

Bob Steckley came up with a suggestion that appears to have been way on the back burner for the development planners: extend planned cul de sacs to Florence, then Albion Road then ultimately to Benner Road to access Garrison. Also suggested is creating a north exit onto Bertie Road. The planner reluctantly said that those options could be considered.

So, the report was for information reasons only and will be re-visited at least once more before it is voted on. Unfortunately, Don Lubberts had to declare a pecuniary interest because the firm he works for, Riel Electric, has done work for the developer in the past.  He left council chambers while the discussion went on.  Lame Duck Mayor Martin was a late arrival to the proceedings as he was attending a United Way Event.

Stay tuned on this one.  Could end up at the OMB if council does not sort out the traffic problem to the residents' satisfaction.

23 comments:

  1. BITCH ..... BITCH ....... BITCH ..... about anything Sharon. What a miserable old soul you are.

    Oh, but wait ....... you always declared that you are for development ...... just not at Bay Beach.

    What's next ..... the Girl Scouts?

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    1. Carl: I reported on what actually happened in council. I included direct quotes. I have no problems with this development but many others certainly do. Do you not understand a report with commentary when you read it. Better yet, listen to the audio of the council meeting and get back to me. Or talk to the people on Pettit Road who signed the petition about the plan.

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  2. CorruptionFighterJuly 16, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    sounds like slander to me. Oh I am sorry Madam Editor as you are not some non elected un accountable public official with your hands on endless public moneys(with almost nothing to show for it)......you will just have to suck it up like the rest of us commoners.

    LONG LIVE KING JIMMIE, the useless figure head that he is

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  3. CF... WTH does JT have to do with this whatsoever? Some are trying to have intelligent dialogue on here and all you ever do is go on these ridiculous rants about something completely off topic

    The project does seem like it I going ot have a very large "bump in the road" for sure, but having lived in that very area, it is completely a traffic hazard and definitely should be addressed !

    SO this is likely now where CF tells us all that the reason there is too much traffic congestion is JT's fault also..drunken fool

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    1. CorruptionFighterJuly 16, 2014 at 10:12 PM

      to clarify, my post had nothing to do with the Petit Rd development and all to do with the slanderous remarks made at the editors expense. Like Rick Mercer, the rants fly out on occasion when the anger over the gross mismanagement of this town (mostly for greed, ego and power) get the better of people of conscience.

      Decades of Dirty Dougs makes one very angry.

      As to Petit Rd, maybe Jimmie dirtbag can direct the impending traffic problem and for once be part of the solution. Minutely justifying his salary.

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  4. Dean D said I support development, just not this wacky approach to the concept. Lots of people speak like that, I support free speech! Just not Ms. Bowers free speech. Its endless. The right to bear (bare arms)...short sleeve shirts...If someone on council had the guts to pass a limited size lot development bylaw, these greedy self centred, (already wealthy) goombas would have to apply their limited talents of construction to well understood rules regarding lot size, home size, and set backs. Its that simple. The fact that they have to come forward with their plans and ask for some amendment tells me there somthing wrong with the system as it now stands. Too much traffic?? What else is new?? Big screen TV with every condo purchase? Custom fake granite countertops in your "eat in" kitchen? Give me a very big break, por favor...

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  5. Puerto has a very good point. Where we come from the rules regarding construction of residences and the rules that apply are very clear. Its a shame that such nonsense has to waste the time of the sitting council. Asking for somthing that isnt in the interest of the neighbors tells us they dont care about the neighborhood, only an attempt to get a little fatter, it would seem because they dont know what else to do, and HEY, thats how it works, Right??

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  6. With regard to the "Breaking News" nothing surprises us when a Mayor can instigate to have his own Council sued. Tim Whitfield was the duped who now regrets ever getting involved and a front man for six financers yet unpublished. One of them is running for Council and has yet to declare the biggest conflict of interest ever in Town History Finance a. court action against a Councillor named in a lawsuit and then run against him for his seat hmmmmm smelly fish.
    As for which Councillor only did what he was told by TBird ,it must be the same one who looks at the Mayor first to see what way he should be voting. The type of statesman leadership this Town no longer needs. Publish those names so voters can judge for themselves.

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  7. How about we all do the right thing and quit speculating on rumours, because lets face it who heard what thru their aunt's mothers neighbours cat really is completely meaningless babble and lets do as good ol Joe Friday says "Stick to the facts maam, please just the facts" other words your credibility goes right out the window

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    1. What I have are facts. I have to say "rumours" in order to protect myself from being sued by you-know-who. He has, it would seem, boxed himself into a corner and he was betrayed by a councillor in the cross-examination. When the documents are made public you will know.

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  8. So, publish your "FACTS". No risk of slander there. But of course, you are once again full of accusations and no proof.

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  9. 4 Fort Erie has a point, need the truth to make a valid judgement, BUT... to use a quote from a fictional TV show to make his point seems misdirected.Maybe that grey area between truth and fiction runs a little deeper than we thought. Facts... yes,,TV show quotes?? Best saved for the sugar and cafine addicts at the Tim fast food filling station.

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    1. Actually, we're hoping that Mr. Thibert speaks to this issue, but we know he won't. He doesn't have the guts to show up at council to defend his bonusing land purchase idea or his involvement in the COI case.

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    2. Predicting the future now are you?

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  10. Let me get this straight. The Mayor says to Timmie.."These guys are a pain in my butt cause I can't get my own way so here's the plan" Timmie agrees to play but did not get his allowance yet. Playground friend JT says "No Problem. We will take up a collection" Six buddies who want to play with the big boys kick in but don't want anyone to know in case the plan backfires .Is that the story?

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  11. Wayne Redekop while in office as Mayor , (he is a practising lawyer) decided to overturn a legally binding ruling of the OMB ( Ontario Municipal Board) and allow Parklane Homes to extend the sewer lines and build more homes in Douglastown and Stevensville, the result was a brand new sewer system was overloaded and the Town had to pump thousands of gallons of raw sewage into Black Creek , The cost to rectify this blunder of Wayne Redekop, was millions of our tax dollars, to dig up new pipes 8 inch and replace them with 10 inch , the final stage is now happening on Netherby Road near the QEW cloverleaf. The Region had to rectify the many bad decisions of Mayor Redekop who as a lawyer knows more about sewers and water delivery than the Engineers of the Ministry of the environment who paid for most of the original sewer system. Delegation after delegation went to Town Council and warned him, that what he was doing was illegal, he could be disbarred from the Law Society for breaking Provincial Rulings , The OMB in their brochures say" that their decisions are binding".!!! I made a presentation to that Council , there was a registered vote, Councillor Anne Marie was the lone vote against the rash move of Wayne Redekop. The health and safety of Fort Erie residents are nothing, when it comes to appeasing a developer, and this one cost us all, millions of dollars , so that he could sell $250.thousand dollars homes, in an area that was off limits.

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  12. There was a lot of opposition to that development by the people that live in that area. Remember the develpoer "scaleing back" the size of the project, likely to the size they actually wanted. A very old trick used by project planners of every stripe. We seem to remember at one public meeting a Stevensville resident starting a presentation at the microphone by saying, "we are just simple folk". Thats when the project managers must have realized it was in the bag. If nothing else at least some of us can learn what not to say to these sharks. Stay confident, and realize because they dangle some money in front of some powers to be, we dont have to cave in to their interests. Simple folk indeed! Not from where im standing.

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  13. Sounds familiar, the Molinaros originally promoted two high-rise condos on the public beachfront property at Bay Beach then "listened" to the public and changed their plans to build only one 12 storey condo.
    mayor martin didn't mind that the site plan for the condo took up over half the property. All the remaining property was then designated for a toad habitat because the underground/above ground garage would have destroyed an Endangered Species hibernation area.

    In fact he blamed those who care about our environment for "alerting" the MNR even though the MNR had to be involved from the beginning.

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  14. As to the transcript of the cross-examinations of Shluar, Passero and Martin, since the case is precedent-setting, it has attracted the interest of students and lawyers familiar with municipal law. That is the reason for the push to get the information to be made public. It will also serve as the final straw that will rid the town of the long nightmare known as Jim Thibert.

    The beginning of the end for some May come tonight at council.

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  15. While there may be questions surrounding the way the case has been brought forward, the allegations of conflict of interest are serious and I hope that at the end of the day we get answers. It is in the best interest of all of us that BOTH issues are resolved.

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  16. Great. ANOTHER Closed Door Meeting.

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  17. Call it what is, when it happens... another SECRET meeting among the group elected by the voters who they are supposed to represent. Closed Door Meeting, what a "user friendly" term to use when the voting public arnt supposed to hear what is being exchanged. Corporation of the town of Fort Erie, closed meetings with the people of the town left out as if we are not shareholders in the running of the towns affairs. More like some third world countrys way of hiding the truth when it comes down to it. That sneaky way of doing "business" is unacceptable by any reasonable persons standards.

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  18. CorruptionFighterJuly 22, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Ken Woods must be talking about the EDTC I think except that is not even elected and uses OUR money to silence any opposition or request for information.

    You wanna talk about closed doors !!! Ask what happens there and you will be in receipt of nice note to appear in court just for asking and for added bonus you will be paying to sue yourself. Only Jimmie could even conceive this level of low.


    Just keep paying Fort Erie for what no one knows. You have to keep the ol boys club in a lifestyle they have grown used too at our expense.

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