The Spectator reports that the city's planning committee voted yesterday to defer a decision on whether to approve a proposal to build a 183,000 square foot Wal-Mart, plus almost 200,000 square feet of additional retail and over 3,000 parking spaces on land that is currently zoned for industrial employment use.
The proposal violates provincial Places To Grow legislation, but developer spokesperson Ed Fothergill argues that the original application for the plan went to council before Places To Grow came into effect.
Last year, council ignored the recommendations of city planners and approved converting the land from employment to retail. As a result, staff currently recommend approving the developer's proposal, albeit pursuant to further studies on how it will affect traffic, water management, transit access, and so on.
Councillor Brad Clark argued that this is backwards, and that the studies should be conducted first before council approves the plan. The committee agreed, with only Councillor Dave Mitchell opposed.
Fothergill suggested it's not fair to ask the developers to spend money on studies without a commitment from the city that they will be approved, and hinted that the developers may appeal the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.
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