City council hears appeal on Upper Tank Farm payment

A Whitehorse developer who owns nearly 30 hectares of land within the Upper Tank Farm area is appealing a decision to pay $82,850 to complete his subdivision plans.

A Whitehorse developer who owns nearly 30 hectares of land within the Upper Tank Farm area is appealing a decision to pay $82,850 to complete his subdivision plans.

Earlier this year, Mike Mickey applied to subdivide his parcel of land east of McIntyre and north of Hillcrest into two lots.

Cleanup work on Lot A, approximately eight hectares in size, has been completed and Mickey obtained a certificate of compliance from the Yukon government.

For every subdivision application, the City of Whitehorse requires a 10 per cent public use land dedication (PLUD), or payment in lieu therefore.

It’s a way for the city to set aside a piece of land that can be later turned into a park or recreation site, or simply used for service infrastructure or other public use.

Because Mickey’s application did not include any specific development plans, the city required a 10 per cent payment in lieu, equal to 10 per cent of the value of the subdivision.

The value of Lot A was determined to be $828,500, while Lot B was valued at $2,318,900.

Lot B remains a contaminated site, which is why no PLUD funds are required from him at this time.

At a meeting held this week to discuss the appeal, Pat Ross, the city’s manager for planning and building services, explained the PLUD funds could be used to build future parks or recreation sites.

But Mickey, who couldn’t attend the meeting, explained in a letter to council that he doesn’t agree with the way the “City of Whitehorse wishes to apply their PLUD.”

“I had agreed with planning (department) to simply pay 10 per cent cash at this time, believing it would be paid on the entire parcel … based on its current assessed value, or close to it,” he wrote.

He said he would rather have the lots assessed and the PLUD charges deferred to a future date, when development occurs.

Because Mickey wasn’t present to address questions from members of council, city administration has been tasked with forwarding those questions to him for further explanation.

Council has 60 days to either deny the appeal or allow it, with certain conditions.

They can maintain the PLUD requirement but modify the time and method of payment, or defer all PLUD payments until a residential subdivision application is made.

The other option would be to waive the requirement for a PLUD and not require a payment of any cash in lieu.

Most of the Upper Tank Farm property, a 57-hectare parcel of land, remains a contaminated site. For years the area was used to store heating oil and diesel fuel.

Over the decades, many of the 24 fuel storage tanks sprang leaks, contaminating the site with hydrocarbons.

Around 2009, Mickey bought the land from White Pass, which he then sold for $4.5 million to a group of investors.

The developers, Forrest Heights Development, had planned to build a large residential subdivision, until the land was officially declared a contaminated site.

When they went into foreclosure in 2011, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale handed the property back to a numbered company controlled by Mickey.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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