Central Elgin councillors discussed and/or decided the following issues during their regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 27:
Councillors, sitting as committee of adjustment, approved a minor zoning variance to allow Charlie Bailey to build a porch on the front of a home being restored after a fire at 45145 Edgeware Line.
The variance would recognize that the house, with the addition of the porch, would be 41 feet away from the road instead of the usual required 65 feet.
Jeff Roberts, on behalf of the property owner, said the house was being rebuilt on exactly the same foundation “footprint” as already existing, but steps at the front would be replaced by a porch.
Councillors held a public hearing on an official plan amendment and rezoning to allow a house at 173 William Street, owned by Mescorp Holdings, in Port Stanley to be converted into a duplex.
The official plan designation on the house was commercial, even though the houses on either side were designated residential.
Neighbour Ian Wass wrote to councillors supporting the change being proposed.
As is Central Elgin council’s custom, no immediate decision was made on the application.
Councillors held a public hearing on a request from Elgin Harvest Provisions for a rezoning to allow a vacant building at 400 Sunset Drive to be converted into a standalone restaurant.
That’s the one-time headquarters of the former Elgin County Board of Education.
Central Elgin Planner Kevin McClure said the property was designated for office and professional use.
While the current zoning did allow a small food operation, that was for a small cafeteria that was once in a building on the site, not for a restaurant occupying an entire building.
One neighbour wrote in supporting the change, while another opposed it, worried about excessive traffic and noise, and the affect on the aesthetics of the neighbourhood.
Matt Campbell of Zelinka Priamo Ltd., a planner representing the property owner, said he believed the restaurant would make an excellent use for the site.
No one from council, staff or the public further questioned or opposed the proposal.
No Remembrance Day procession…
Councillors had received a request from Last Post Branch 81, Royal Canadian Legion, Port Stanley, to conduct a Remembrance Day parade to the village Cenotaph on Sunday, Nov. 7, in honour of Remembrance Day.
The parade was cancelled last year due to COVID-19 precautions.
Mayor Sally Martyn said the Legion had just informed the municipality it would not be proceeding with a parade this year after all, but would instead hold a small ceremony at the Cenotaph.
…But Dickens Day Parade to return
Councillors unanimously approved a request from the organizers of the annual Dickens Day Parade in Port Stanley to resume the Christmas themed celebration on Friday, Nov. 26, starting at 7 p.m.
The route will start at Francis Street and go from there to Stanley St., Colborne St, Bridge Street and then end at the south end of William St.
About 30 floats were expected for the event, Ray Filewood wrote on behalf of the Port Stanley Lions Club.
Councillors received a copy of the design for a bicycling-themed mural to be put on an outside wall of the Belmont library.
The library building is owned by the municipality.
A series of murals are being painted on bicycling routes through Elgin, funded by a bequest.
Elgin County Museum and Archives Manager Mike Baker, in a letter, stated the mural would be painted by artist Melissa Kempf of St. Thomas.
Painting of the mural was expected to start at her studio within two weeks, with installation in early October.
Councillor Fiona Wynn, who represents Belmont, said she loved the comment, but wished the library wasn’t set so far back from Belmont Road, so it would be easier to see when completed.
Central Elgin councillors, after completing an ongoing review of its official plan, will next turn its attention to merging the municipality’s three separate zoning bylaws, from the Village of Port Stanley, Village of Belmont and Township of Yarmouth, into a single document.
Mr. McClure said the merged zoning bylaw would for the first time incorporate “urban design standards” to encourage builders to take into account the existing nature of buildings in urban areas when planning new developments.
However, he noted, they would be guidelines and developers wouldn’t have to follow them.
He suggested issuing a request for proposals for a consultant to prepare standards for Central Elgin when the zoning merger started.
Cr. Colleen Row said she supported that, but wondered why the request for proposals had to wait until the official plan update was done.
Mr. McClure said a zoning bylaw implemented the policies and directions set in an official plan, so going ahead before the plan was finished would be premature.
Mayor Martyn said getting the zoning bylaws merged was very important, and a job that been hanging over the municipality for a long time.
Properties to be sold
Council gave public notice that two properties owned by the municipality, including the current Port Stanley fire hall at 218 Joseph Street and 1.86 acres of vacant land considered excess to what was needed for the new fire station at 4980 Sunset Road, had been declared surplus to Central Elgin’s needs and would be advertised for sale.
Mayor Martyn noted that the painted pictures on the front of the existing fire hall would be photographed to preserve their memory before the building was sold.
Rob Perry, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express