City stands firm with developer over building permits

Prospect Development will have to fix the remaining deficiencies on the first three phases of the Pearlview West subdivision off Moffat Drive before Mount Pearl City council will approve any building permits for phase four.

That was the consensus at council on Tuesday after Planning and Development Committee chairman Andrew Ledwell asked for clarification on the decision council made back in November regarding the six phase development.

At that meeting, council voted to withhold any more building permits until the deficiencies are addressed, but did approve clearing and scrubbing of the land for phase four. It took some debate for Mayor Randy Simms to agree to allow any work to go ahead until the deficiencies, which included problems with trees that had been planted by the developer and the need to sod a slope on Pollux Drive, were remedied. Councillor Lucy Stoyles voted against approval of the clearing and grubbing at that meeting.

Ledwell noted that residents have been e-mailing council again lately about “concerns that were unaddressed.” He was raising the issue again, he added, “to remove any doubt” about how council plans to address the continued expansion of the subdivision. “What is our commitment in terms of phase four and beyond for Pearlview and Moffatt Road subdivision?”

Councillor John Walsh allowed his interpretation of council’s November decision was that the developer would be allowed to install some of the underground infrastructure for phase four since the equipment for the work was already in place. “It just made so much sense to do that,” he noted. “I supported it. What I don’t support however is outstanding deficiencies in phases one, two and three and at the same time issuing further development permits. I don’t care whether they are building permits. Building permits are the very last thing you will do in a development. I don’t think we should be allowing any development permits, period, until any outstanding deficiencies – and they are minor now – are (remedied).”

Stoyles repeated her concerns from November. “I don’t want any more permits given out to the developer until every last deficiency is looked after,” she said. “There are six phases in this, so they still have a long ways to go. I think we need to send a message out to the developer that the residents are our priority.”

Councillor Dave Aker said he agreed with Ledwell’s assessment. “We were trying to strike a balance between not overly punishing the developer, but at the same time making sure they were not running roughshod over the residents,” he explained. “So we let them go ahead and start some work on phase four, but then to ensure – because we didn’t want to see phase four started and all the new houses built and all these deficiencies sitting there – I believe council’s decision at the time was that we hold back and review every building permit… Now positions can change, but I still think we should hold the developer to our requirement.”

Councillor Paula Tessier asked whether the matter can be quickly settled by meeting with the developer, outlining the deficiencies and giving the company a week to address them.

According to the City’s manager of planning and inspection services, Julia Schwarz, a meeting has been held with the developer who is addressing the slope problem at Pollux Drive. However, the issue of the quality of trees that were planted in the earlier phases has yet to be rectified.

“Let’s give them a reasonable time limit that should please the residents and that will give the developer an opportunity to get it done, but the operative phase being ‘Get it done,’” Tessier suggested.

“We’re not in a situation where this development has all kinds of deficiencies,” Ledwell concluded. “We are getting close to addressing this… I certainly have no problem saying to the developer that there will be no permits – development or otherwise – issued until these couple of issues are addressed, and giving them a time frame to do that… I just want to make sure that that is our commitment as a City to the residents… I want to be able to share the same message with the residents of the area and make sure that they know that we have their backs on this and are making sure all of the issues will be addressed.”


Posted on May 7, 2015 .