Surprise “shop” application on residential property

·2 min read

Southgate rapidly re-thought an earlier decision after being surprised by a building application..

Council heard from staff at its first meeting in November that a resident who sought a second entrance into his lot in a rural subdivision had since handed in plans for a “custom workshop” with a washroom “for three employees.”

The building permit application was submitted by Robert Harris after council decided in his favour to allow the second entrance.

The decision was made in a split vote on Oct. 7 and asked staff to take actions needed to allow the second entrance to accommodate a proposed shed.

That went against the recommendation from township planner Clint Stredwick, who said in his report that it might create a precedent. He also informed council of concerns received from a neighbour about possible commercial use at the residential lot.

In November, Southgate Council waived its procedural bylaw to reconsider its Oct. 7 motion, and added two key clauses to the motion approving the second entrance:

1. That proper zoning for the intended use needed to be in place; and

2. That a one-foot reserve along the road where the entrance is planned be kept in place until the proper zoning is in place.

When council gave its support for the second entrance, the building had been described as a shop/storage building on a residential lot of about 1.28 acres.

To allow the entrance, however, would require lifting a one-foot reserve strip along Road 41, which was there from days when Southgate Road 41 was a Grey County Road.

After the matter came up at multiple council meetings spanning much of 2020, council had directed staff to take steps needed so that Robert Harris could have a second entrance.

Harris argued that the entrance was needed because there wasn’t enough room to get through to the back of the lot where he wanted to build the shed.

The house is in a rural subdivision near Mount Forest. Mr. Harris operates Bob Harris Concrete Work in the Mount Forest area.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald