In the OMB's decision to refuse James Dick OPA/ZBA for a 145 acre quarry, they noted that much of their decision centred around the provisions in the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) and the Town of Caledon's own Official Plan (OP).
What was in Caledon's OP? (here is a link to their entire OP)http://www.town.caledon.on.ca/townhall/departments/planningdevelopment/policy.asp
In a nutshell, Caledon's OP addresses the issue of obligation, onus or burden. They specifically set out the criteria for the approval by the town of an OPA to allow for the development of a new aggregate extraction operation. Of particular relevance to the issue of onus or burden are in subsection 220.127.116.11.2 subsections b,c,d,e,f,g,i,j and k.
How did they do that?
Well for instance, one provision in their OP (subsection c), is the requirement that the applicant must assess social impacts and have demonstrated that the proposal will not have any unacceptable impacts. That highlighted statement was in every section of Caledon' OP in subsection b,c,d,e,f,g,i,j and k.
In almost all areas of required studies that were in Caledon's OP, the board ruled that James Dick had not met the onus or burden in that they had not demonstrated that the proposal will not have any unacceptable impacts.
I recall being at two meetings in Melancthon in 2009 where ratepayers advised, argued, cajoled, begged and pleaded with Council telling them that all requirements for an OPA for aggregate extraction MUST be in their OP. Council assured ratepayers there was no need for that, they would just ask the applicant for what they wanted and the applicants would comply, because they signed a piece of paper when they filled out their application for an OPA.
In fact in the James Dick case, the OMB ruled that the Town should not request studies not envisioned by their OP, nor impose standards not set out in the policy in the course of considering aggregate application.
Further the Board ruled because of the wording in Caledon's OP, the onus or burden of proof was on the applicant to prove there are no adverse impacts, NOT on the objector to prove there were impacts.
Finally the Board ruled that the wording of Caledon's OP was such that if the onus or burden of proof was not met in every instance cited in subsection b,c,d,e,f,g,i and k then the entire application must fail.
The decision is a fascinating and surprisingly easy read. Here is the link for the entire decision:
If any Councillor elect is reading this, perhaps you could forward a copy to Jorden AND Osyany??? Just thinking out loud.