North Sector PPU

 

General information

SPECIAL PLANNING PROGRAM FOR THE NORTH SECTOR: AN ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE AND FORWARD-LOOKING PLAN THAT CONSIDERS CITIZENS’ CONCERNS

Driven by a community-minded urban development vision, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue municipal council on December 14. 2016 presented an avant-garde Special Planning Program (SPP) for the North Sector. The project’s concept focusing on ecological responsibility sets a balance between economic and environmental development, helping create a living environment of outstanding beauty and quality.

“The concept plan we are presenting is the outcome of a long and thoughtful process that we wanted to be transparent and that meets the concerns and expectations of Sainte Anne de-Bellevue citizens,” Mayor Paola Hawa stated. “Its development is based largely on studies conducted by independent firms and on the briefs that were submitted, as well as on citizens’ comments. We are very proud of the work that has been done, and we are convinced that the results are a faithful reflection of our citizens’ vision for their city’s development.”

In May 2015, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue residents were asked to comment on the potential development outline during a citizen participation process.

Divided into three separate sectors, this new type of urban development fits the Town’s aim of striking a balance between dynamic economic development and preservation of the land’s biodiversity and environmental integrity. These sectors’ development in residential or industrial clusters will enhance the territory’s landscaped elements and will be bordered by a green belt that will foster this harmonization. In addition, special attention will be paid to preserving the heritage character of Chemin Sainte-Marie, and rural walkways lined with massive trees will be developed to transform the Town’s North Sector into a neighbourhood where the built environment fits in with the landscape.

Presented at a public information session held at École du Bout de l’Isle, the project is intended as a gateway to the L’Anse-à-L’Orme eco-territory. It also proposes an “employment eco-campus” revolving around a public transit hub. A key aspect of this vision took shape during the project’s development with the announcement by a division of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ-Infra) of the new Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) project. The REM greatly enhances the sector’s mobility potential and has significantly modified and influenced the SSP’s development orientations, without altering its basic vision. Developed by the firm Provencher-Roy and taking into account independent studies as well as briefs and comments gathered during the citizen participation process, this plan will be a powerful driver of economic development for the employment eco-campus and will be decisive in attracting leading-edge and green-economy companies.

Final adoption of the SPP for the North Sector by Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue municipal council should take place in March 2017 following a comprehensive review. The public can also comment until January 20 by writing to ppusecteurnord@sadb.qc.ca.

 

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DEVELOPERS’ INTERESTS VERSUS CITIZENS’ INTERESTS

During the week of January 16, 2017, a group of developers known by the acronym DISAB, and who hold a vested interest in the development of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue northern sector, launched a major campaign stating inaccurate and incomplete information.

Guided by the belief that our citizens are entitled to fact-based information, and remaining consistent with our commitment to ensuring full transparency in the matter of the Plan particulier d’urbanisme (PPU), the City of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue wishes to set the record straight.

 

ACCORDING TO THE DEVELOPERS, the planned PPU for the North Sector of the City of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue is a disguised expropriation.

 CITY RESPONSE:  The City’s proposed PPU allows the developers to build on their land. This is far from a disguised expropriation.

First of all, it is important to note that since the time the developers acquired the land in the fall of 2012, the provincial Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement (PMAD) has ushered in new government policy with respect to development standards. The PMAD clearly states:

 “From a sustainable-development viewpoint, the primary role of the public authorities is to increase the protection of natural environments and ecosystems by promoting the cultural heritage and history of sites, encouraging high-quality urban design, introducing new urban planning and recognizing and protecting the geographical and geological characteristics of a region and its landscapes.”

The Supreme Court of Canada and the Quebec Court of Appeal have also stated that the fundamental nature of environmental protection is based on a collective, public interest and therefore it may legitimately result in restrictions being placed on individual property rights. The courts recognize that municipalities must take a leadership role in matters of environmental protection.

To conclude, the planned PPU presented by the City allows developers to build on their land in accordance with the orientations of the PMAD and is consistent with jurisprudence established by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Quebec Court of Appeal. We are therefore far from a case of “disguised expropriation”.

 

ACCORDING TO THE DEVELOPERS, should the City adopt the PPU as presented on December 14, 2016, the City would be required to purchase their land for an amount the developers estimate at more than $30 million.

 CITY RESPONSE: This premise is incorrect and the City of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue has no intention and no obligation to acquire the developers’ land.

As mentioned above, the City's planned PPU allows developers to build on their land. Eco-responsible urban planning does not equal to a “disguised expropriation”, rather it is a means to harmonize of uses of the land taking into account the natural environment. It does not deprive the developers from their right to develop their property. It is incorrect to claim otherwise.

In developing the PPU, we relied on studies covering environmental, biodiversity, traffic, infrastructure and economic aspects. We also worked closely with our legal advisors throughout the entire PPU process.

The planned PPU is the outcome of a carefully reasoned, responsible process. It reflects the interests of the City and of its citizens. It is clear that the PPU does not fulfil the interest as proposed by the developers in 2014. The City, however, is within its legal rights to determine the criteria for development of its territory.

To conclude, the City has no intention or legal obligation to purchase the land.

 

ACCORDING TO THE DEVELOPERS, their housing project would have a positive tax impact on citizens, unlike what is being proposed by the City of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue

CITY RESPONSE:  The fiscal impact studies clearly demonstrate that with respect to a residential project, each dollar of revenue from residential taxes requires the City to spend about $1.

In the PPU presented on December 14, 2016, the City advocates for a fair balance between commercial, residential and industrial development. This approach of a “mixed-development” allows for the maximum economic benefit for the City and its citizens.

At the public presentation of May 20, 2015, the city shared the results of its studies that clearly demonstrated the economic benefit depends on usage.

Income/expenditure ratio:

  • Residential use: 1.07;
  • Commercial use: 4.66;
  • Industrial use: 4.39.

In other words, for each dollar of revenue from residential taxes, the City needs about $1 in service spending. In contrast, for the same $1 in spending, the City receives $4.39 in revenue from industrial taxes.

The PPU presented on December 14, 2016, was prepared on the basis of thorough and objective economic data that ensures a fair balance between commercial, residential and industrial development. This mix maximizes the economic growth potential for the City and its citizens.

To conclude, the economic benefits from the PPU are currently estimated at a revenue/expenditure ratio of 3.24. In dollar terms, this means that, for each $1 spent in providing services, the City will collect $3.24

 

Conclusion

At the risk of upsetting certain vested interests, the Municipal Council’s priority is to serve its citizens with integrity, transparency and professionalism, and this in the best public interest. The proposed PPU relies on an ecologically responsible and forward-looking vision; it ensures a balance between economic development and respect for the environment.

No facet of the plan was left to chance, including in terms of regulatory or legal compliance. We have done our homework and have performed our due diligence. The City’s position is founded on thorough, objective studies and on sound legal advice. As such, we can state that the Municipal Council is fully aware of the multiple issues involved in this file and intends to see this process through to its conclusion, while respecting the rights of all parties. We have submitted an exemplary, responsible project that not only meets the community’s current expectations and needs but ensures our continued well-being.

The City has every right to plan the development of its territory. The PPU is the result of a reasoned process that began in December 2013. The PPU reflects the best interests of the City and its citizens and conforms to the provincial policy set forth in the Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement (PMAD).

The final adoption of the PPU for the North Sector by the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Council is expected in the spring of 2017.

 

FOR A VISION OF THE NORTH SECTOR THAT UNITES US AND REFLECTS WHO WE ARE!