Planning Advisory Committee listens to delegations over four hours - Application #1
by Sandy Lindsay
August 15, 2016
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The land in question ... significant woodland
Saugeen Shores Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) listened to several delegations over a four-hour long meeting on Thursday, August 11th.
PAC is made up of two members of Council, Diane Huber and Mike Myatt (Cheryl Grace alternate Council), and three members of the public, Pat O'Connor (Chair), Marcel Legault and William (Bill Streeter).
Two main applications that require zoning By-law changes resulted in presentations both by planners of the developments and by those who have concerns about them.
The first application dealt with a proposed multi-unit development in Southampton north of the Saugeen River on what is a significant woodlot bordering on protected wetlands.
According to County Planner, Leah Barrie, Bruce County is the approval authority when it comes to sub-division developments. "This is a mandatory public meeting that has been delegated to PAC. We don't often have plans for condominiums that come before PAC but this is an opportunity to bring details before the public and have a comprehensive discussion so that the Planning staff can take back recommendations by PAC to the County before making its decision. When it comes to re-zoning, this committee (PAC) makes a recommendation that will go to Council. "
Barrie said that a preliminary recommendation has been made by Planning staff based on planning matters and reviews, as well as site visits and public comments received and, as a result of the discussion and the public meeting, it is entirely possible for Planning staff to provide a different recommendation.
She added that there had been supporting documents submitted with the application. According to Barrie, Block A of the application is being recommended with a 'holding provision' and a set of conditions that the town would like to see before submitting to the County. Barrie said that the County Planners agreed with the 'holding' on the multi-unit Block A as there are technical details to be worked out such as road extensions, services and, only once they have been 'ironed out' along with a suitable building type and style, as there are only a few types permitted by the zoning. Then Council can then, and only then, get into the re-zoning.
The Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) have identified four areas such as tree retention and conservation plan, water management plan and how to deal with the lands not included in the residential area for development. According to Barrie, all the conditions set out by the SVCA have been incorporated into the draft approval.
Barrie pointed out that five letters in total had been received from the public setting out concerns. "In general, the concerns were about the significant woodlands and the high density style of housing (on Block A) and that multi-use residential was completely out of character with the area and not compatible."
The By-law permits a variety of housing types up to 12 metres in an R3 zone including apartments, townhouses, single family homes, semis and duplex styles which are defined under multi-unit buildings. Therefore, three of each of the types would qualify under Re zoning.
"The minimum low-density target for the block north of the single family homes is 12," said Barrie. "That number we calculate based on a number of factors and more importantly the town's Official Plan. However, the policy for residential developments on full services in an urban area is 15 units per hectare. So, looking at the acreage available for development, 12 units is the base number."
The environmental study was done to illustrate what lands, if any, are left for residential development. The lands are presently designated residential with an environmental hazard designation on the woodland and wetlands to the east but adjacent lands have been designated by Council for residential development. The zoning however, would first have to be amended to include residential development to comply with the Official Plan. Should the application be approved, more lands would be protected than is currently protected.
She went on to say that the style of development is what is known as 'in-filling' and indicates lands that are developable. There are two significant heritage features identified - significant woodlands and significant woodland wildlife and significant wetlands.
There are three additions in the draft approval report:
1. no development is allowed in area two or within 15 metres of a buffer zone
2. within constraint areas, no negative impacts to hydrolgoy studies
3. tree conservation plan be complete by a qualified person
"An archaeology assessment also had to be completed and there are four aboriginal sites located near the area and historical heritage that triggered the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to request additional investigation," explained Barrie."A Stage two survey however, identified no further investigation. Therefore, in our opinion, this proposals agrees with the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS)."
She said that according to the County Official Plan, Southampton is an area for development and that the town should be encouraged to adopt the local Official Plan that further defines policies unique to the municipality. "There are all kinds of types of housing that should be contemplated and considered and a minimum of 15 units per hectare is the base requirement." She also said that planners look at developments that are for the benefit of the public as a whole and not just an area, such as Southampton, but for Saugeen Shores. The County apparently does provide for some latitude when it comes to the number of 15 units per hectare."
The homes (seven) being proposed are larger than those that are existing in the area. There is an also an expectation to increase the road allowance and services to meet town standards and those would be worked out by a sub-division agreement.
"Providing all studies have been completed, I think this development are reasonable and appropriate for draft approval but that does not mean that it is plans are finalized," said Barrie. "The planning/public process is simply to identify that the plan is appropriate and reasonable and it is then up to the town to indicate it is satisfied with the proposal and we are satisfied this plan is appropriate and meets the natural heritage of the area."
The zoning By-law is being asked for at least 12 units are provided for and changed from R1 residential to R3 medium density. To read the entire report, Planning Report_McMillan
Ron Davidson, Planning Consultant, pointed out that with the development of water and sewers north of the Saugeen River, the area has been opened up for development.
"There are two designations for this area under the Town's Official Plan - residential and environmental hazard," said Davidson. "In Ontario, there is a big swing toward the environment and that has impacted development. It has also resulted in a tree retention plan that restricts development.
The lands have been divided into two blocks
... A and B. Block A is to be a minimum of 19 units under the
County and the Town Official Plan(s). According to Davidson, the
owner did not want this number of units but under the Official Plan, he
apparently has to comply. In addition, if again divided into two
sections, two developments could be constructed.
Carolyn Day, a long-time member of the Source
Water Protection Committee and resident in the area, asked if the land
that was designated as significant woodland and wetlands was nothing
more than "wallpaper, window dressing or just nice thoughts ... is there
any legal imperative? In 2012, this area was declared a
significant woodland and that doesn't seem to make any difference.
Under the EIS (environmental impact study) there is to be no significant
impact on wildlife but how can 19 new homes not have an impact? It
is supposedly residential and yet it is a wildlife area and wetland with
deer, wild turkey, turtles, fox, etc. Also, how is the water going
to be impacted ... is there going to be infilling or culverts?
Also, in the plan it says the surface is not to be disturbed so are
there going to be no basements? How are some of those
environmental protections translated into this plan?
According to the planner, "if there is
deemed no impact on significant woodland then development shall
I have been in that cottage since my dad built it in 1948 but if I
have to look at a building with balconies where people can hang
their laundry, it will be the death of me. I sold three lots
to three sisters on Deer Run and went through hell and back between
the Saugeen Valley Conservation authority and the road blocks, red
tape and bureaucracy. It was a 10 year process to sell those
lots. Between environmental studies and tree retention plans
and locations, how on earth can someone build an apartment building.
It's all well and good to say that a homeowner can't change their
yard but you only have to go up Deer Run and see what a resident did
there. He clear cut trees, built a pond and removed every
single tree. How did he get away with that?
Huber asked where the number of 15 came from. Initially the 15 units came from the County Plan and the County has decided that is what is appropriate for here (Southampton).
The owner said that they had started out with 80 ft. front lots but the Official Plan says that the owners are faced with the density requirements of the OP that is forcing them to come to an R3 provisioln for multi unit townhouse. We would prefer single family lots but we have to live by the laws of the land and if you require 15 units per hectare then we have to give it to you.Tell us what you want. Do you want density or do you want something that will fit in with the community?"
The application was deferred by PAC and the owner, Michael McMillan said he wanted to consider all that was said at the public meeting before making a decision.
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Monday, August 15, 2016