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Council continues to ponder MDS issues in bylaw review

by Patrick Raftis

MAPLETON - Council here has reviewed a number of proposed “housekeeping” amendments to its comprehensive zoning bylaw, but still hasn’t addressed a controversial exemption from minimum distance separation regulations.

Amendments include wording changes to sections of the bylaw dealing with hobby barns, salvage yards, swimming pools, accessory uses, buffer areas, home industry, home occupations, outdoor display areas, parking and storage of vehicles, residential conversions, temporary uses of buildings and structures, yard encroachments, industrial zones, the Conestoga Lake zone, and site specific exceptions.

The amendments, presented at the Nov. 12 council meeting, also provide new definitions for storage trailers, “sea cans” and shipping containers as addressed in the bylaw.

Wellington County planner Linda Redmond explained the changes introduce a whole new zoning criteria for use of shipping containers for storage.

“Currently there is no criteria in the zoning bylaw at all that addresses these type of structures,” said Redmond.

She noted the  criteria introduces set back requirements and allows up to three such containers before approval is required.

Councillor Jim Curry expressed concern he has seen sea cans, “parked for months on end in residential zones.”

Redmond replied the containers won’t be permitted in urban areas.

Moorefield resident Earl Campbell pointed out he had sent a letter to council asking them to address a section of the bylaw providing an exemption from MDS requirements for new non-farm uses of property on existing lots in agricultural zones.

In his letter Campbell asked for the removal of the section stipulating the MDS restrictions “shall not apply to lots existing as of the date of this bylaw which are less than 4 hectares (9.9 acres) in area.”

He stated the section has had “a direct negative impact on investments by the Township of Mapleton agricultural/farming community to which lots may be located within the specified proximity.” He also said the section “contradicts existing provincial policy statements regarding MDS requirements” and has “significant financial implications for all residents within the tax base of Mapleton Township.”

The exemption has been the subject of considerable controversy over the past 18 months, as it allowed for residential construction on several previously dormant lots near Moorefield within the MDS radius of an existing, but unoccupied hog barn.

Last April, the owners of the barn, Alywn and Lori Woodman, filed two appeals with the Ontario Municipal Board - one dealing with the comprehensive zoning bylaw and the second with a related committee of adjustment minor variance decision.

The OMB dismissed both appeals in July due to time limits on appeal filing.

In correspondence with the municipality and the Woodhams, the OMB stated, “After reviewing the above appeal submissions, the Ontario Municipal Board has determined that it does not have the statutory authority to consider these two appeals.

“The comprehensive zoning bylaw was passed in 2010 and deemed to come into force on the passing in 2010. Therefore, the appeal of the bylaw was received by the municipality on May 31, 2013 after the appeal period had expired.”

With respect to the minor variance appeal, the board stated, “The committee of adjustment made its decision on Jan. 9 ... and your appeal was not received until April 29, 2013. As such the board does not have the jurisdiction to give consideration to your appeal.”

Campbell said he understood that of the matters that led to the proposed zoning bylaw changes, “the most pivotal issue was the lots outside of Moorefield,” and he asked why the proposed changes did not deal with the situation.

Mayor Bruce Whale said, “We decided we’re going to deal with it separately – we want to look at the implications on all the existing lots in the township.”

Whale said council wanted to have a better understanding of “where MDS is going to be an issue.

“It’s in the works. It wasn’t ready to be part of this amending bylaw,” Whale said.

“Could we have a schedule on that?” asked Campbell.

Redmond replied the planning department is hoping to have a proposal ready for review at either the Nov. 26 or Dec. 10 council meeting.

She added staff members were eager to get started on implementation of the housekeeping amendments.

“Staff really wanted to get this implemented and get going on them. There was concern the MDS was going to hold that up,” she noted.

As the result of council discussion, the planner was directed to make a number of minor revisions to the proposed amending bylaw. Reading of the bylaw confirming the changes was deferred.


November 22, 2013


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