| Aug 21, 2008

Feature Article - August 21, 2008

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Feature Article - August 21, 2008 South Frontenac CouncilBy Wilma Kenny

South Frontenac proposes ‘Restarting the Clock" on severances

Two highly controversial issues are buried among the more usual “housekeeping” changes South Frontenac Council is proposing for their Official Plan 5-year update, due this year. Severances on private lanes, and “restarting the clock” in regard to the number of residential severances permitted from a parcel of land have both been hotly debated at recent Committee of the Whole meetings.

"Starting the Clock Over" means that as of the date of adoption of the OP 2008 Review, three more residential severances would be permitted from any property large enough. ( A non-waterfront lot must be 2 acres/.8 ha, with 250'/76 m frontage on a maintained public road.) At present, a landowner wishing to sever more than three lots can do so only by plan of subdivision. After a close vote, Council has chosen to support restarting the clock: Deputy Mayor Robinson and Councillors Fillion, Hicks, Vandewal and York are in favour.

Township Planner Lindsay Mills has strongly recommended against restarting the clock, on the grounds that it goes against the basic goals and objectives of the Official Plan which states: "Residential development will be carefully planned to reduce land use conflicts, provide long-term protection of the environment and minimize the municipal servicing costs." Some of the recommended ways of achieving these goals are: to place environmental concerns ahead of residential growth; to protect the established rural character of the township from uncontrolled strip development; residential development should primarily occur (in established hamlets or) by registered plan of subdivision

The complete Official Plan is available on the township’s website, or at the municipal offices in Sydenham. Mills estimates there have been 60 new rural lots severed in the last five years that could be further subdivided, if the clock is restarted.

Council has been less willing to support back lot development, with only Fillion, Hicks and York opposed to the recommendation that : "on existing lanes that do not lead to water, severances will not be permitted and no new such lanes will be permitted."

Changes to official plans are not made hastily or without full consideration of public opinion. On August 13, the township held an open house to provide information about the proposed OP changes. Council will discuss any comments received as a result of the open house, at their Committee of the Whole (probably Sept 09: the agenda is not yet available), and set the date for a statutory public meeting to receive formal comments from the public. After that, Council will make their final vote on the changes at one of their regular meetings. Their recommendations will then go to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for provincial approval.

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