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Aug. 6, 2020 | Thursday
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Developers Hummel, Marotta say they won't settle lawsuits against town
A design for a hotel on the former Rand Estate. (Supplied)

At least two major land developers in Niagara-on-the-Lake say they have no plans to settle lawsuits with the town.

“I have not settled. I will not settle,” Rainer Hummel said in response to questions from The Lake Report.

Hummel launched a lawsuit challenging NOTL's urban development freeze (officially called an interim control bylaw) in January, after the town extended the freeze for an additional year.

The town repealed that bylaw June 22.

Hummel, owner of Hummel Properties Inc., said he will continue to seek damages, as the revenue lost during the development freeze doesn’t disappear with the bylaw.

His lawsuit claims the town’s decision to put the bylaw in place was illegal for a number of reasons, including that there was already an interim control bylaw in place (provincial rules state only one can be in effect at a time) and that in 2018 the newly elected town council didn’t have adequate time to discuss the bylaw before passing it.

The bylaw was passed just days after council took office.

Benny Marotta, owner of Solmar 2 Inc. and Two Sisters Resorts Corp., said he too has no plans to settle any lawsuits with the town.

“I’m not interested into any settlement unless the town comes through with common sense and starts to behave like a municipality, not a dictatorship,” Marotta said, noting he thinks the town is purposely trying to target his developments.

Marotta wants to build a hotel and a subdivision on the former Rand Estate. The town created obstacles for that to happen with the development freeze.

Marotta said he put in an application for the subdivision a few weeks ago.

“We applied and then it’s up to the town to work with us and process the application as other municipalities,” he said.

“But based on experience, they’re just gonna try to delay more and more and more. Which at the end of the day they’re gonna lose anyway. So they’re just wasting money, taxpayers' money, for no reason, because at the end the community will be built, the hotel will be built.”

Lord Mayor Betty Disero said she’s not aware of any lawsuits settled recently with developers, however she noted that if there were settlements, the documents would be available at the courthouse.

”If there were any settlements of anything they would all be public,” Disero said in reply to an email inquiry.

A false claim has been circulating on Niagara-on-the-Lake social media groups that after the town repealed the development freeze in Old Town, several lawsuits related to the issue have been settled.

The rumours, one of which was posted on Facebook by former town councillor Paolo Miele, are unfounded, Disero and Hummel both said.

 

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