Lies My Urban Planner Told Me

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Common lies that municipalities and their urban planners will use to try to scare citizens.

Lie #1. The PMAD made me do it. We must develop Sainte Anne de Bellevue.

The truth: Wrong, the PMAD is just a set of guidelines without any teeth. The main sponsor? Mayor Tremblay. Where is Mayor Tremblay now? Would you buy a used car from him?
But this is the real irony: one of the priorities of the PMAD is to protect the environment, not to rape it.

The PMAD’s third major priority is to protect and enhance the environment of Greater Montréal. The PMAD’s stated goal is to preserve 17% of Greater Montréal’s territory to maintain biodiversity. To this end, the PMAD identifies woodlands of metropolitan importance, forest corridors, wetlands and protected areas listed on the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnementet des Parcs (MDDEP) registry as having conservation potential.

Lie #2. We must develop every square inch if not our taxes will go up!

The truth: Wrong again. Sainte Anne de Bellevue taxes are only high because we’ve been paying for the kickbacks to Montreal city employees. Many studies have shown that development in suburbs (also known as urban sprawl) results in much higher taxes because the cost of building and maintaining all the infrastructure (roads, sewers, pipes) is spread out over relatively few people. Similarly, paying for new schools, hospitals, mass transport, police, firemen, etc, is not cost effective in the suburbs. Finally, your home properties will drop by $100,000 to $200,000 because the beautiful green spaces which attract buyers are gone and they’ve been replaced with cheap starter homes and ugly condos. In other words, green spaces increase your property values.

Development results in a net loss of wooded areas, wetlands and wildlife habitat It also tends to increase taxes rather than lower them due to ongoing infrastructure costs as experienced by many communities

Source: Protection of natural environments by municipalities: authorities and arguments. By Maitre Jean-François Girard

“On average, adjacent to a protected and enhanced natural environment, there is a land value increase of up to 32 per cent. Most studies conducted on this go on to say this.

Source: Patrick Asch. Director, Héritage Laurentien

Lie #3. The Developer will sue us. He will say this is blatant expropriation! Oh, we’re so afraid of them!

The truth: Wrong again.

It is therefore possible, strategically, for a municipality to decide that an area within its territory, which is a particularly rich natural environment, is not to be subject to development, simply by not allowing the infrastructure required to serve the area to be built. (art 116 of the Act). These provisions of a zoning by-law would not be considered disguised expropriation because the legislature specifically permits it.

Source: Protection of natural environments by municipalities: authorities and arguments. By Maitre Jean-François Girard

Lie #4. Only the Developer will benefit economically. Citizens will only see taxes go up, property values go down, and quality of life go to hell.

The truth: Wrong! Oh wait, sorry. This is true!

Cartoon by the wonderful Mr. Aislin
Source: The Gazette