Craig Bakay | Aug 05, 2020
Addington Highlands put off third reading of its Zoning Bylaw amendment for the regulation of cannabis production in the Township until its September meeting after a special meeting held online before its regular meeting Tuesday.
Still to be determined for the third reading are the definition of personal medical use, the number of plants (likely 25) that can be grown outdoors and the setback of said outdoor plants from the lot line of a given property.
The Zoning Bylaw restrictions do not apply to the four plants anyone is allowed to grow on their own property for purely personal recreational use, only to commercial operations (which must be grown indoors) and medical use for those that have a federal permit.
IBI Group Planner Mark Touw told the meeting that the subject amendment was proposed by the municipality to implement a limited number of changes regarding the regulation of cannabis production and processing in the township including the addition of new definitions related to cannabis; modifications to existing definitions to provide clarity regarding cannabis and related uses; identifying zones in which cannabis growing and production and/or personal use is permitted and the addition of performance provisions regarding the growing and production for personal commercial use.
“The proposed amendments apply to all lands within the municipality, including limiting the zones in which commercial and/or personal cannabis can be produced, the distance to defined “sensitive land uses” (which includes houses), and other performance provisions,” Touw said. “As with anything, the Township can examine proposals to either bring them into compliance through rezoning or remove the practise.”
Coun. Helen Yanch told the meeting once again brought up her objection to the Federal Government regulating body refusing to give the municipality access to see licences for growing cannabis.
“Why can the municipality not see the licence before they start growing?” she said. “People in my community are fed up.
“We need to stop this in the bud.”
“It’s my understanding we are not permitted to see the licence,” said Dep. Clerk/Planning Secretary Patricia Gray. “Some people have come in to show us their licence and we have sent the OPP to some locations to confirm that a licence is in place.
“A lot of people have seen a lot of plants being grown and they think it’s illegal but that’s not the case.”
“We seem to be the last to know and we should be the first,” said Yanch. “I’m saying we need to see it before you start to grow.”
“Talk to your MP,” said Reeve Henry Hogg.
“Oh, don’t worry,” said Yanch.
“Whatever we put in place, we need to have the opportunity to prevent people from twisting the rules around,” said Dep. Reeve Tony Fritsch. “And that if someone needs to grow a small amount for medicinal purposes, they can.
“This is to regulate commercial operations.”
The meeting also featured several phone-in callers.
“I think cannabis is a natural plant,” said Sharon Wang. I don’t know why it has to be grown indoors.
“Outdoors it uses no electricity (and) some people like the smell.”
Wang also said that whatever the Township does, there should be some grace period for existing operations.
“And if you go to a doctor and get a prescription, you don’t have to show it,” she said. “These amendments are not reasonable.”
William James said “I feel these regulations will curtail future problems.”
He mentioned an operation at 679 Hartsmere Road that he felt was “illegal.”
Colin Cook agreed with James, suggesting people should have to show their licence to grow before getting a building permit.
Cook also cited the operation on Hartsmere Road which he claimed has “about 2,000 plants, (and) there’s no way that could be legal.”
Yanch continued to argue for a 300 metre setback from lot lines of properties with sensitive or potentially sensitive uses.
Fritsch said he thought 300 metres was “impractical.”
Council passed a motion to include the building envelope to its energy audit for the community centre in Denbigh and to allow one of the two bidders on the project time to include a price for adding the building envelope.
Private road denial
Council denied a request from a resident to build a road that would cross several private properties in order to access several other properties.
“Those properties are water access, right, so you can still get to them,” said Coun. David Miles.
“They are if you have some of the stuff NASA is sending to Mars,” joked Reeve Henry Hogg.
Addition almost ready
CAO/Clerk-Treasurer Christine Reed told Council the new office addition is coming along well with most of the flooring and painting completed.
She said there were still some issues with the doors on the lift but predicted the new facilities should be ready Sept. 1, in time for the next Council meeting to be held in Council’s new chambers.
However, whether or not it is held there is another matter entirely.
Reed said that since the facilities were designed and began before the Covid-19 pandemic, there likely isn’t enough room to allow access for the public during meetings.
Reed said the only facility they have large enough for that is upstairs at the rec centre.
However that may not be an issue as Council instructed staff to bring back a revision to its Procedure Bylaw allowing the Township to continue holding electronic meetings (or at least meetings with some councillors participating electronically for the near future).
“We don’t know how long this (Covid pandemic) will last,” said Fritsch.
Roads/waste supervisor told Council that they’ve been doing spot ditching and culverts as well as grading as required on area roads.
He said he’s been surprised at how much waste has been brought to the Kaladar transfer station waste site.
“I never anticipated the amount of waste we’ve been getting at Kaladar,” he said. “We’ve been rolling out steady about twice a week.”
He also said they probably won’t need as much sand this winter as “Denbigh and Northbrook have pretty much full domes.
“It was a pretty easy winter.”
“The guys have been doing a good job regulating how much sand they put on the roads,” said Coun. Kirby Thompson.
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