In a not entirely surprising move, Benny Marotta’s lawyer advised the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal late yesterday that he was withdrawing the Marotta group’s zoning appeal to LPAT. LPAT has cancelled the July 29 scheduled hearing, at which the Town and SORE were poised to ask the Tribunal to set the appeal down for a hearing, over the objections of Mr. Marotta’s lawyers.
In SORE’s view, the Marotta LPAT appeal had no chance of success. We do not believe he could have satisfied LPAT on the current tests – esp non-conformity of the existing zoning on the site with provincial policies and relevant Official Plans. We think Mr. Marotta’s new lawyer likely came to the same conclusion, and when handed a lifeline in the form of the impending repeal of the current LPAT legislation, they jumped at the chance to start over.
While we regret the Ford government’s decision to change the rules to favour developers, this is another move backward, at least in the short term, for Mr. Marotta and a win for SORE and the community. He now has no appeal outstanding with LPAT, no hearing date set, and he has thrown the matter back to the Town, for now. SORE will be seeking costs from the Marotta group for abandoning their appeal and we presume the Town will as well.
Our legal team is analyzing next steps and we will keep our supporters and the community updated through further website postings and email blasts as matters unfold. We suspect that Mr. Marotta’s withdrawal of his appeal is temporary, and that he plans to again ask LPAT to make a decision in the future.
In the interim, we thank you for your continued support. We could not do this without the hundreds of you who show up when we issue the call to meetings and hearings. We view this fight as essential not only for the future of one of the most iconic heritage estates in NOTL, but for the future of the Town we all love. We will continue to advocate on your behalf for only appropriate development on the Rand Estate rather than the wedding factory/convention centre and high density subdivision which reflects Mr. Marotta’s vision for the future of NOTL.