This just in from Hamiltonians for Progressive Development: HPD and the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing settled with the City of Hamilton over its controversial Aerotropolis plans.
City Council voted in 2005 to expand the urban boundary 1,254 hectares into farmland around Hamilton International Airport to develop "aerotropolis", an industrial zone based around air transport.
HPD and the Ministry filed an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) over the process the city had followed. According to an HPD press release, the OMB decision
requires the City to change the language of the disputed Official Plan Amendment approved by city council in July 2005. These changes protect prime agricultural lands and ensure that further public debate and consultations will take place before any proposed urban boundary expansion can occur.
Until now, the city has refused even to contemplate a long-term plan that does not include the aerotropolis development. GRIDS, the City of Hamilton's long-term planning exercise, included aerotropolis in all six of its planning scenarios.
Last year, after two public meetings in which the overwhelming majority of citizen delegates spoke with concerns about or in opposition to the proposed urban boundary expansion, city council went ahead and approved the plan.
When asked why the city did not study the proposal before rezoning the land, Mayor Larry Di Ianni explained during an interview with Raise the Hammer:
it may have been nice for people who don't believe in aerotropolis for whatever reason, but it wouldn't have been honest, though. Because the region before us, and the city since - even before amalgamation and certainly since amalgamation - has always said, you know, 'The answer, part of the answer to some of the problems that we've got is around the best use of airport lands.
With this new OMB ruling, perhaps Hamilton will be able to escape the burdens of its own short-sighted planning legacy.
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