Cadillac Fairview under no obligation to enter CDP, says city planner

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Citizen comes forward to set record straight about ramifications of dropping the CF parking lot project from development freeze.

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With Pointe-Claire council set to adopt an Interim Control Bylaw next week that would exclude Cadillac Fairview’s parking lot project from a temporary development freeze, the Montreal Gazette has obtained information that states the developer does not have to enter into a Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) with the city.

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It effectively means that Cadillac Fairview has no obligation under existing bylaws to alter the height of buildings planned for the site.

Through an access to information request, a Pointe-Claire citizen was able to obtain answers from Nicole Loiselle, assistant director of the city’s planning department. The citizen, who asked to remain anonymous, said they are coming forward now to set the record straight about the ramifications of dropping the CF parking lot project from the development freeze.

Here is the info provided from the city administration. (Some answers were edited for space):

Citizen: What is the height limit on buildings in zone MU1 (parking lot)?

City: The height of buildings is restricted by the airport’s regulations.

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Citizen: In zone MU1, is there any height and or density restrictions imposed by the city of Pointe-Claire?

City: There are no height or density requirements specifically defined for the MU1 zone in the zoning bylaw …

Citizen: Does a developer have to engage in a CDP with the city?

City: In the case of the MU1 zone, since the developer does not require any changes to the existing bylaws, there is no obligation for him to engage in a CDP with the city.

Citizen: In a CDP, does the developer have to follow what the city asks them to. Example: If the city says we want you to only build 10 storey buildings, does the developer have to conform or can they just say no if the zone is zoned for more?

City: The bylaw respecting Comprehensive Development programs enables, in areas delineated in advance, the identification, in general, of the nature and desired characteristics of their development. It is important to note that the implementation of a CDP always requires an amendment to the existing bylaws. Generally, when a CDP is required, it is because the current regulation is very restrictive and the CDP thus aims to encourage the owner of the site to present a detailed plan which will be analyzed by various municipal authorities.

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Citizen: If MU1 was part of the RCI and the zoning for MU1 was later changed to 10 stories maximum height, would the developer (then) not be able to build higher than 10 stories unless they asked for a bylaw derogation that the city could grant or deny so the city would be in control of the amount of stories, not the developer?

City: The purpose of establishing an ICBL is to allow the municipality to review its urban plan and bylaws. If the owner has not crystallized his rights in accordance with the law and case law, then theoretically a landowner has an obligation to comply with the by-laws applicable to the property.

On Tuesday, May 3, Pointe-Claire council will vote to adopt is Interim Control bylaw at its monthly council meeting.

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Meanwhile, the six councillors — Tara Stainforth, Eric Stork, Brent Cowan, Cynthia Homan, Kelley Thorstad-Cullen and Paul Bissonnette — who voted to exempt Cadillac Fairview from the freeze have held  two Town Halls with local residents over the past week to discuss the issue.

Mayor Tim Thomas and two councillors — Erin Tedford and Bruno Tremblay — voted to keep the CF parking lot in the freeze until the city was able to hold public consultations and revise its urban planning programs.

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