Jeff Green | Apr 10, 2008
Feature Article - April 10, 2008
Back toHomeFeature Article -April 10, 2008 South Frontenac Council wants to plan for developmentby Jeff Green
South Frontenac Mayor Gary Davidson and Planner Lindsay Mills attempted to defer a scheduled discussion about some contentious items in the township’s official plan review when council met in a Committee of the Whole session this week, but the councilors could not contain themselves.
Two issues that have yet to be resolved both relate to the number and type of building lots that property owners can develop within the township. One of them concerns so-called back lot developments - non-waterfront lots on private lanes. Back lot development is prohibited under the current Official Planto discourage further building on private lanes within the township.
Planner Lindsay Mills wants to maintain that prohibition.
Mayor Davidson said, “We are going to have to go back to the public over this because I am getting emails about it all the time now.”
“It’s only a few people, nowhere near 50%,” said Deputy Mayor Bill Robinson. “It’s our job to make decisions.”
“People just don’t want further development. They have their houses on Dog’s Lake, and Bobs Lake, and they don’t want any further development,” said Councilor Ron Vandewal.
“It’s vastly unfair to say people are opposed to development,” said Councilor David Hahn. “I think generally people support the rules as long as the rules are the same for everyone.”
A straw poll at a meeting two weeks ago yielded a 5-4 vote against prohibiting back lot development, but Councilor Del Stowe, who voted for back lot development two weeks ago said, “After reading what my constituents said, I will be voting against back lot development; that changes the vote to 5-4 the other way.
“But what is really important is that we need to get a committee to look at growth in our township. We need to come up with a plan. If we make it that only developments that go the subdivision route are allowed, we will have only have lots that cost $80,000 to $120,000, when severed lots could cost only $40,000. Maybe this is something we should toss around so that I don’t have to take the heat for bringing these things forward.”
Councilor Alan McPhail agreed.
“We need to look seriously at development, or else we will go back and forth on it every five years,” he said.
“South Frontenac is under more development pressure than any other township and we are going to continue to have this pressure. We need to have some kind of growth strategy so we know where the development should occur,” said David Hahn.
“The roads are there, the infrastructure is there, that’s where the development should be, on the laneways. You already made the lots two acres instead of one and dropped half the lots,” said Councilor John Filion
While council could not agree on the make up or terms of reference for a committee on land development, Lindsay Mills was asked to bring a structure forward to a future meeting.
Subdivisions – As if to underline the point about development pressure, the next two items on the agenda dealt with subdivisions, one a 14-lot subdivision on the site of a former trailer park on Collins Lake in Storrington district, and the other a 40-lot subdivision at the T junction at Sydenham and Rutledge roads just east of Sydenham village.
The Collins Lake subdivsion is already under consideration at Frontenac County, and has at least one major sticking point. It is adjacent to a farm, and is therefore subject to Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) regulations from barns and other farm buildings. The developer and the adjacent farmer don’t agree on the interpretation of the MDS rules, and this came out at the meeting. The matter will be dealt with a public meeting later this year.
The second proposal is at an early stage, proposing to create 40 building lots on a 120 acre parcel near Sydenham Lake, and to build a public road where there are now a series of rights of way and private lanes into adjacent waterfront properties. One indication of how rough the road may be for this proposal was illustrated by a man who jumped up halfway through the proposal and said to the proponent “I own part of that private lane and you haven’t talked to me, sir!” as he stormed out of the building.