The city turned down Griffin’s fourth version of his plan for the project on the Massey Drive access road on the city’s western outskirts during council’s Feb. 11 public meeting.
Griffin’s three previous attempts to convince the city to permit the development on Crown land he would purchase from the provincial government were rejected in late 2011.
On Monday, Griffin filed an appeal of council’s decision with the appeals board, which functions at arm’s length from the city itself. He said the rejection of the project was “based on personal opinions” and not by the requirements laid out by the city’s application process or regulations.
At the public meeting earlier this month, Coun. Leo Bruce expressed his concerns about Griffin’s proposal, calling it “an idea, and that’s all it is,” and that he would approve it if he thought it would be a success. Bruce also expressed concern about the land potentially going undeveloped while other parcels of land around it were developed, and how such a situation might force the city to buy the property back from Griffin several years down the road.
Not only did the city say Griffin cannot develop that land because it is beyond the current reach of municipal water and sewer services, council also put a moratorium on any further development in the area until services can be extended there.
“I just want the public to know what I put in there,” Griffin told The Western Star on Monday. “It’s not just some random plan to go in there and steal all this land.”
Griffin said he has never failed at any of his previous business ventures and worked out the financial planning for this one before any other aspect.
In the document he filed with the appeals board, Griffin said he is actually not required to provide a full financial synopsis or detailed business plan. The only mention of finances on the application, he said, is the estimated construction value.
“If anything, I have provided more in terms of financial details than was ever required, as well as benefits to the city,” said Griffin.
According to Griffin, his project could create as many as 100 jobs and might add as much as $250,000 to the municipality’s tax base.
As for the land not being serviced, Griffin said his plans included a pump station to provide water, a fire suppression system and environmentally friendly, composting toilets. His latest plan also contains a 35-metre buffer zone from water bodies, where he is only required to have a 15-metre one, and has decreased the overall environmental footprint of the project’s size.
The pump system would be similar to the one installed by Johnson Construction, a company that has already been allowed to develop a parcel of land adjacent to where Griffin wants to develop his facility.
“I feel the moratorium on development in that area ... until services are installed to that area is completely unnecessary as it is only hindering development,” said Griffin in the appeal document.
The city had urged Griffin to set up his plant on Lundrigan Drive, although the city also told him that plan would require him to spend more than $1 million to fix up an access road to the land the city would sell to him for nearly $30,000.
“Clearly, they had no qualms about risks in getting the land back (if the venture failed) when approving my Lundrigan Drive proposal,” said Griffin.
Council’s decision, said Griffin, does not show the city is interested in attracting new business and land development. He wants the city to reverse its decisions on both the rejection of his plan and the moratorium on development.
“This does not show a municipal desire to attract business,” said Griffin. “If anything, it will act as a deterrent for any other businesses who want to set up shop.”