New MDP will spell demise of Netook, developers warn
In one of their most strongly worded public statements to date, the developers of Netook Crossing last week warned residents of Mountain View County that the opportunity for Netook at Highway 2/27 will be lost if the new Municipal Development Plan is passed.
“As an MVC taxpayer you can ASSUME that unless council hears from you at its June 27 public hearing (either in person or through a written submission), the MDP will pass as will the opportunity for Netook in MVC,” developers Herb Styles and Terry Johnston wrote in a letter published in this week’s Gazette.
The warning came in the midst of a communications duel between the county and the developers that started last Tuesday, when administration issued a media release restating its conclusion that the developer’s fiscal projections did not appear to be realistic.
The developers responded two days later with a press release accusing the county of dismissing the Netook Fiscal Impact Analysis (FIA) “with generalizations, no consideration, no notification and no consultation.”
In the release, Styles, who represents Neuroese Properties, said after council refused to meet to discuss the FIA, the developers had to learn in the Gazette about the county’s negative report on the document. The report was brought forward by administration at the May 23 policies and priorities committee meeting with no representatives of Netook in the gallery.
“This mirrors the county’s approach to Netook which consists of limited notification, no effective consultation, no realistic consideration,” Styles is quoted in the release.
The release claims the county ignored the 11 “what-if” scenarios presented as part of the FIA, including a worst-case scenario based on the most pessimistic assumptions which found that at worst Netook would have a neutral fiscal impact on the county.
On cost projections, the release says the county looked at the “average cost approach” instead of the “incremental cost approach,” thus skewing the county’s analysis of the data.
It also denies that Netook represents a risk to county taxpayers in terms of servicing and maintaining the proposed development, since the developers have committed to pay for the cost of all needed infrastructure.
“The only risk the county is now exposing its ratepayers to is the risk that it will lose Netook Crossing and with it the model of sustainable rural development it presents,” the release concludes. “Netook developers encourage the county to reconsider its position on the Netook FIA and honour its approved council motion to meet with Netook to discuss the findings of the report.”
In its earlier release, the county said it was “skeptical” of the FIA’s key conclusion that the development would generate $17.3 million in surplus for the county over 20 years, and concerned about “the market’s ability to absorb 671 high-value residential lots and 350 acres of industrial.”
The draft MDP creates a Highway 2/27 Special Policy Area that allows for 48 residential lots per quarter as a maximum density, but increases that number to 80 lots if the development is connected to municipal water and sewer systems.
The current MDP allows up to 240 lots per quarter with density bonusing and was reflected in the concept plan for Netook Crossing North, approved by the previous council in 2010.
In their letter, the developers also accuse the county of acting in bad faith on the issue of servicing options by making last-minute changes to the draft MDP that rule out a phased approach at Netook Crossing.