Dundas Pleasant View Niagara Escarpment Plan provisions prevail over 711 York Rd. zoning bylaw


Construction of a home at 711 York Rd. in Pleasant View is not permitted.
In a reversal of its previous position, the Niagara Escarpment Commission acknowledged special provisions for Pleasant View in the Niagara Escarpment Act, requiring minimum 10 hectare (25 acre) lots for development, do prevail over a 1999 Town of Dundas zoning bylaw exemption for 711 York Rd.

NEC spokesperson Danielle D’Silva said Thursday, March 25, the conflicting zoning bylaw is invalid, and must be corrected to comply with provincial Pleasant View requirements.

“The City (of Hamilton) is obliged to implement the clear statutory direction that results in the 10 hectare minimum lot size in (the) NEP prevailing over the conflicting 1.4-minium hectare lot size in the zoning bylaw,” D’Silva said.

Her statement comes less than two weeks after D’Silva said Hamilton planning department’s opinion that the bylaw prevails over the NEP Pleasant View provisions was correct.

Section 14 of the NEP states when there is a conflict between any local plan or zoning bylaw with the NEP, “then the provision of the Niagara Escarpment Plan prevails.”

This section of the plan was brought to D’Silva’s attention by a reporter on Wednesday, March 24, and she responded with a reversal of the previous statements within 32 hours.

“In addition, land use planning decisions by the City (of Hamilton), including for site plan applications applicable to Pleasant View are subject to the Planning Act which requires municipal decisions to conform to provincial plans,” D’Silva said. “Since NEP policy provides for a minimum lot size of 10 hectares for residential uses, approving a site plan application for a new residential use on (711 York Rd.) would conflict with the NEP."

She said the NEC is working with the City of Hamilton to resolve the matter and the city is in the process of resolving the zoning conflict.

An interim control bylaw freezes any development in Pleasant View until at least September, but Hamilton planning staff incorrectly suggested earlier this month 711 York Rd. could be developed when that interim bylaw expires.

The NEC’s most recent statements confirm 711 York is indeed too small to be built on and the Town of Dundas effort to circumvent the provincial regulation 22 years ago was invalid.

Both the city and NEC have asked the Ministry of Natural Resources to remove Pleasant View from Hamilton’s planning control and place it in NEC development control.

The city hired a consultant to complete a Pleasant View land use study as part of the process to move the area into NEC development control.

According to an information update from planning director Steve Robichaud to city councillors, on March 18, a notice will be sent to residents inside, and within 120-metres of, Pleasant View.

“This mail out will provide information on how residents can access more information on the study,” the report states. “A link to a project webpage (currently under development) will be included in the notice. A virtual public engagement webinar will be held to review the findings and recommendations of the study, to answer questions and receive feedback.”

The final study report is anticipated in May 2021 with public engagement following in June.

Robichaud’s report included a history of planning regulations in Pleasant View, but did not mention the planning staff’s errors regarding regulations for 711 York Rd. and 10 Newman Rd.