Jeff Green | Mar 09, 2006
Feature Article - March 9, 2006
Feature ArticleMarch 9, 2006
LOLCS expansion sparks controversy:Addington Highlands Council, March 6, 2006
by Jeff Green
Land o’ Lakes Community Services (LOLCS) is based in a small house in a subdivision in Northbrook , where it has been operating for ten years without raising much of a stir.
It was only when the agency realised it needs more room, and the owners of the building applied to council for a permit to put up a 12’ by 26’ extension, that a can of worms was opened up.
It seems the building never had the proper zoning for an office space in the first place. The plan of subdivision for the location, which was adopted in 1978, restricts the use of the lots in the subdivision to residential.
Item 1 of the plan states explicitly, “said lots shall be used solely for single family residential purposes only”, and Item 5 says, “no commercial trade or activity whatsoever is permitted.”
In order to renovate, the building’s owner, Ellery Thompson, who was also the person who developed the land and obtained the plan of subdivision in the first place, appeared at a public meeting last week seeking a zoning amendment to allow for the expansion of the office.
He was greeted by several residents who live in the subdivision and don’t want to see the door opened to commercial activity in their quiet neighbourhood.
Dale Northey, who lives next door to the LOLCS office, spoke for many when she said, “I don’t have a problem with Community Services, but I don’t want the property to be zoned commercial. If Community Services leaves some day, then any kind of business could come in there, and that is not why we purchased our homes in this subdivision.”
Deputy Reeve Lorraine Berger, who chaired the public meeting because Reeve Hook had declared a pecuniary interest in the matter and left the room, pointed out that there were restrictions in the proposed zoning amendment bylaw which would prohibit any use of the building for retail or commercial ventures.
Councillor Bill Cox proposed that the bylaw be amended to state that if Land o’ Lakes Community Services leave, only residential use would then be permitted.
Councillor Louise Scott proposed that an amendment be prepared, and that Council then have an opportunity to consider the matter again.
This was agreed to, and a second public meeting on the zoning amendment was scheduled for March 20 at 1 pm at the township office in Flinton.
Other Notes from Council
The township has finally received a Notice of Decision regarding its Official Plan from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The ministry amended the plan in several areas before giving its stamp of approval to it. Council decided to write back to the Ministry urging them to take measures that will enable a speedy consideration of the township’s comprehensive zoning Bylaw, which flows from the Official Plan.
“We would like to get the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw passed before the change of Council at the end of the year,” said Reeve Ken Hook.
Joint Fire Board budget Fire Chief Casey Cuddy reported that the Joint Fire Board has agreed to a budget calling for a modest 2.5% increase, to be submitted to Addington Highlands and North Frontenac Councils. Cuddy also said that council needs to consider the future of the Northbrook fire hall, which will either need to be renovated or rebuilt in the near future. He recommended that $25,000 be budgeted in 2006 for the fire hall.
Since the fire hall shares land with the township garage, an in camera discussion concerning a possible project involving both buildings took place at the end of the meeting. Township Clerk-Treasurer Jack Pauhl justified taking the discussion in camera by saying it was a property matter.