WINGHAM – A handful of Wingham residents expressed their concerns about a rezoning request submitted to North Huron council regarding the former Wingham Trailer Park property during an open meeting on Dec. 20.
Reeve Bernie Bailey and Deputy Reeve Trevor Seip declared a conflict of interest and recused themselves from the discussion. Coun. Kevin Falconer took over as chair for this particular item on the agenda.
One speaker, who identified himself as Dan Noble, said he was speaking on behalf of Dave Church. He talked about how people who rent apartments don’t care like people who own houses.
“They’re 10 times more reckless, they’re just all-around crazier people,” he said.
Parking, privacy, and policing were among the top complaints.
A total of eight letters were also sent to North Huron council before Monday’s meeting, spelling out some of the concerns.
Many of these complaints included statements saying that although the residents recognize the housing shortage in Wingham, they don’t want it in their backyard.
“There must be somewhere else in Wingham, where this project can be built, without forsaking the rules,” wrote Robert Donnelly.
“The changes brought about by the construction of this building threaten the whole complexion of the neighbourhood and impact drastically the value of my home to me,” wrote Jackie Cribb.
Sheila Maklevitz wrote in her letter, “I think you should sit back and think long and hard about what this apartment is going to do to our town!”
“I do hope that the council will turn down the zoning change for if it goes ahead the quality of life for the residents this entire corner of town will suffer,” wrote G. David Church.
North Huron met with angry residents who complained about the timing, being so close to Christmas, and the fact that they personally did not get a letter informing them of the request from the builder to change the zoning.
The request, made by the builder, is to change the zoning from the existing Urban Natural Environment and Open Space Special Zone Three (OS-3) to Residential High-Density Special Zone Eight (R3-8). The R3 zone in the North Huron zoning bylaw permits high-density residential uses, including apartment buildings.
The proposed rezoning includes:
– increasing the permitted maximum height to five storeys from three storeys;
– decreasing the parking spaces requirements from 1.5 spaces per dwelling unit to one space per dwelling unit, in addition to additional visitor spaces (proposal has 90 spaces); and
– to permit that buildings may be located closer than 30 metres from the top-of-bank of the watercourse (proposed setback is 24 metres).
Huron County Planner Hanna Homan made the presentation and recommended that council receive the report for information.
She also recommended that council take into consideration the verbal and written comments.
Council directed staff to work with the interested parties to see if resolutions to the issues and concerns can be resolved and bring back a report to the next regular meeting with a recommendation on the applications.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times