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May 9, 2018

Former premier turned developer Danny Williams upset with St. John’s for withholding 100 Galway development permits

Round 2 of Danny vs. Danny began with a news conference at DewCor headquarters in St. John’s on Tuesday morning.

Former premier and Galway developer Danny Williams says he is being treated unfairly by staff at St. John’s City Hall, this time over land the city wants set aside for snow removal in his Galway project.

Williams says city hall is withholding development permits for 100 homes in Galway because the city wants three acres of land set aside for snow storage.

Williams says the demand from city hall to give over the land is unprecedented for any developer and he is being held hostage by the city over the land.

“It is singularly the most frustrating, untenable and unmanageable professional situation I, or any of our real estate partners, have encountered,” Williams told reporters.

Williams says the delay has cost DewCor hundreds of thousands of dollars and has ground residential construction to a halt.

The city wants the land set aside so it has a place to dump snow in the winter. DewCor would be unable to use the land for any other purpose, even when there’s no snow on the ground.

Williams said he regrets starting the Galway project in the city.

He said no developer should do business with the City of St. John’s, based on the hurdles he has faced.

And he didn’t rule out another lawsuit against the city, if the matter can’t be addressed quickly.

St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen says he doesn’t know what Williams is talking about.

Breen says an agreement was put in place in 2015 about developments on land more than 190 metres above sea level, which includes Galway. Breen says part of that original agreement was a three-acre snow storage site.

Breen says Williams has reneged on that part of the deal, so the city offered an easement rather than outright ownership of the land in question.

“We would do that for a period of time, until we could get a better handle on snowfalls in the area. At that time, we would expect that the required land … would be conveyed to the city,” Breen said.

“Unfortunately, that hasn’t resulted in an agreement. The conditions haven’t been met, so we can’t issue the building permits.”

The land in question is near the Galway water tower, which Breen says was initially selected by the developer as part of the 2015 agreement.

Keep reading in The Western Star

 

 

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