Victory for the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Environment

Victory for the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Environment

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On January 27, 2014, the Ontario Municipal Board (the "OMB") issued its most recent decision involving lands in the protected Oak Ridges Moraine Plan Area in King Township (Case Number PL130137).  The hearing involved an Official Plan Amendment and zoning by-law application to rezone land in the Oak Ridges Moraine Countryside Area , to permit an outdoor banqueting facility, a children's camp and related accessory uses.  Donnelly Law represented the Stewards of the Moraine Inc. (the "Stewards"), a party opposed to this application. The OMB decision considers whether the proposal to use three garden areas, with tent-like structures at each garden, as an outdoor banquet facility is a "major recreational use" according to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (the "ORMCP") and consistent with the definition of recreation in the Provincial Policy Statement (the "PPS").

Member Sylvia Sutherland dismissed the appeal.  The OMB agreed with the Stewards' planner, Mr. Robert Lehman, that the "proposed banquet/wedding/event facility is not a recreational use as anticipated by the Province in the ORMCP."  (Paragraph 31)  The Board also referred to the evidence of a lay witness for the Stewards, a member with a large family and a lot of experience at weddings, noting his observations on the application were "interesting", including the following testimony:

"A wedding is a celebration of life where two people commit to each other by taking vows.  It is not recreational.  And I would never have gone out with my wife if her father thought going out on a date was a major recreational event[.]" (Paragraph 19)

You can read the decision here:  2014 01 28 OMB Decision - Eliopoulos .

You can read more about the case from YorkRegion.com.

OMB Victory on the Oak Ridges Moraine in the Toronto Star

David Donnelly on CBC Radio: Aggregate Pits in Ontario's North