TBM council wary of minor rezoning in Craigleith

A relatively minor rezoning application to permit the construction of a single home in Craigleith was met with concerns for members of The Blue Mountains council and the public.

Council held a public planning meeting about a proposal to rezone a 3.2-acre lot in Craigleith from open space to residential to allow for the construction of a single home. The property is located on Highway 26 and is the immediate neighbour of the town’s wastewater treatment plant.

The property is owned by Janet Dagneau and the plan is to eventually build a single home with an entrance off of Highway 26.

Miriam Vasni of Plan Wells Associates represented the proponents at the public meeting. A number of years ago, the property was in the hazard designation. However, as mapping and plans were updated it was removed from the hazard zone and placed in open space in the zoning bylaw. In the Official Plan, the property is classed as residential/recreational.

It is currently a vacant lot covered by trees.

“It’s been vacant for a long, long time,” said Vasni.

The proponents have submitted a number of planning reports and documents to the town in support of the application. They can be found at the project website here.

Members of council and the public raised a number of concerns about the proposal including: loss of trees if the lot is developed, the possibility of future severance applications for the property and the proximity to the town’s wastewater treatment plant, which is adjacent to the lot.

On the possibility of more severance applications coming forward, Vasni said the Ministry of Transportation has approved a single entrance for the property and no more would be forthcoming. She said the chances of future severances were “zero to none.”

“The MTO would never support an entrance in this location for a newly created lot or a shared driveway,” said Vasni.

Town staff also said it was difficult to comment on a future possibility, as any future application for severance would be an entirely new endeavour that would have to go through its own independent planning process.

Vasni also advised that any future purchase and sale agreement for the property would include a clause advising of the proximity of the sewage plant next door.

Members of council were wary of the application changing the zoning from open space and Coun. Paula Hope asked about the consequences the town would face if the rezoning was rejected by council.

“How vulnerable would we be to an (Ontario Land Tribunal) appeal?” asked Hope.

Director of Legal Services Will Thomson said it wouldn’t be appropriate for staff to assess legal vulnerability during a public meeting. CAO Shawn Everitt also entered the conversation and pointed out that the proposal was at the public meeting stage of the process.

“There will always be a report that comes back as a follow-up to the public meeting. There is no recommendation and no approval at this point,” said Everitt.

Neighbouring property owner Peter Glen also spoke to council about the proposal and expressed concerns about grading, drainage and the loss of green space, which helps buffer his property from the wastewater treatment plant.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca