OMB rejection won’t deter Oakville homebuilder says realtor

A Mississauga realtor says Fernbrook Homes will forge ahead with development plans in the Lakeshore Rd. area in Oakville, despite its latest plans being rejected by the Ontario Municipal Board.

Longtime real estate agent Linda Pinizzotto said Friday the fight’s not over yet, as Oakville-based Fernbrook is very likely going to return with a new plan.

“What they’ll do is probably go back to the drawing board because it’s a prime spot to develop,” Pinizzotto told “The unfortunate thing is these developers keep going back and forth, area residents forget about it and eventually they do win.”

Earlier this month, the OMB rejected Fernbrook’s second proposal on the former Harvest Bible Chapel property on Lakeshore Rd. after listening to city officials and residents about their fears about higher density in the area.

Pinizzotto with Sutton Canada, said it’s not unusual for the OMB to side with developers. “[Restauranteur] Al Cardone fought tooth and nail against the OMB to stop them from tearing down heritage buildings along restaurant row on King Street and he lost,” she said. “It was absolutely ridiculous.”

Despite the OMB turning down two proposals for dozens of single residences and then a condominium project at the former Harvest Bible Chapel property, Pinizzotto said Fernbrook would continue trying to develop the site.

The high-value, high-profile location of the nearby properties also means it’s up to area residents to keep up with future concerns if they want to prevent Fernbrook from increasing the area’s density.

“It would change the exclusivity of the area from being single family homes on large lots,” Pinizzotto said.

And while the Fernbrook development is going to be great for potential homebuyers who couldn’t otherwise afford a home in the area, Pinizzotto said it could set a precedent for future projects.

“When you get a group that is able to change a master plan by going to the OMB and changing the look of what’s supposed to be in the neighbourhood, then it could open up other areas as well,” Pinizzotto said. “And how could they argue it when it was just done?”

Pinizzotto also said if the OMB eventually agrees with Fernbrook’s plans, it will threaten the long-term expectations of existing homeowners in the area.

A developer like Fernbrook also has a lot of money at stake and is much more likely to outlast any opposition to development projects.

“By the third round, sometimes people lose interest and they say ‘Okay, I’ve had enough fighting they can go and do it anyway.’”

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