When it comes to giving approval for subdivisions, there are two sets of decision makers at Township Hall.
Councillor Kim Richter thinks that one of them has too much power and usurps council’s authority.
An approving officer, typically the head of the planning department and a municipality’s administrator, has the power to approve developments which never come to council’s attention. These are the ones which meet requirements for zoning and subdivision control.
Those that do not would not only require council’s approval, but also public input.
What raised Richter’s concern is the number of developments being approved for land above the Hopington aquifer where a moratorium on subdividing land has been in place since 1995.
“There is way too much development being approved in the Hopington (area) when the moratorium is still in place,” Richter said.
“My concern is that an approving officer may be acting as if there is no moratorium when in face the moratorium is still in place.” While zoning bylaws supersede the moratorium, no motion of council or court order has challenged the moratorium, she noted.
At its last meeting before the summer break, council agreed with Richter that the Township should seek a legal opinion on how the powers and jurisdiction of approving officers could be limited so that any application for subdivision over the Hopington aquifer comes before council first.
The position of approving officer is created in the Land Titles Act, which mandates their authority and conduct.