Zoning By-Law Project Update

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In 2015, the Township of Cavan Monaghan approved a new Official Plan that established a planning framework to implement new provincial policy and the County of Peterborough Official Plan.  Addressing contemporary planning issues such as economic development, revitalization, heritage conservation, and sustainable building design, it is a comprehensive policy document governing all property within the Township and outlines how the township will embrace future growth.

The completion of this document triggers a complete a review of the township Zoning By-law, to ensure that it conforms to the new Official Plan.  This review also provides the opportunity to address local issues and implement contemporary zoning tools to reduce the ongoing requirements for minor variance approvals where current policies are being challenged and some restrictions no longer seem appropriate.

The Zoning By-Law is a complex and comprehensive legal document required by the Planning Act used to control the use of land.  Regulations in a Zoning By-law outline the uses and buildings permitted on a lot, their size and where they can be located on that lot, the structures’ height and parking requirements.   The document aims to protect the interests of all property owners from conflicting land uses.  Its overhaul began this spring with the help of professional planning consultants MLS Planning and Stantec.

After presenting a series of draft policy papers to Council last month, Mark Stone of MLS Planning Consultants joined Karen Ellis at an Open House last week to outline the policy direction for each major planning zone.

Some of the issues the project addresses include the definitions and conditions for permissibility will be established around Accessory Apartments within single detached and semi-detached dwellings.  Regulations surrounding their relative size to the main dwelling, their parking and servicing requirements will be developed, along with ones relating to the definition and conditions required for the establishment of Garden Suites.

An issue of broader interest is the size and permitted uses of accessory buildings and structures.  These will be subject to limits in size relative to the lots with a formula or sliding scale.

The proliferation of home-based businesses has introduced another consideration for zoning.  While some home businesses have no impact on neighbouring properties, where public access is required there will be safety and parking requirements associated with permits and will be subject to restrictions if they operate in accessory buildings.

Kennels represent a specific type of business that can challenge neighbouring properties.  The project will examine the possibility of further regulations for this type of operation through the establishment of minimum lot area, maximum lot coverage, maximum floor space/area and maximum height of buildings and other possible options to be discussed with community.

This project will also address the nature and permissibility of Shooting Ranges in the township.  Currently no firearms may be discharged in a settlement although some is permitted in rural areas with certain restrictions.  Expect to see a fuller discussion around this type of use, including definitions and possible regulations for commercial gun range operations, with the possibility of a prohibition on shooting and commercial shooting ranges in Millbrook and any hamlet area.

Another issue surrounds raising chickens and livestock on smaller and/or urban lots the conditions of which will be clarified in the upcoming months.

The project also addresses commercial and industrial development, and has a special section to address the Millbrook core.  The papers recommend the introduction of regulations that encourages mixed use development, prohibit new low-density housing and restrict ground floor uses to encourage retail and commercial activities in the downtown core. One of the main objectives is to maintain and enhance the pedestrian experience in downtown Millbrook, and achieve other objectives such as heritage conservation and economic development, so you won’t see a drive-through in this area any time soon.

Effective Zoning By-Laws offer regulations that are easy to understand, interpret and enforce, and allow residents to interpret planning rules and see their uniform application across the township.   They must also adhere to Provincial and County plans and policies while implementing local strategies, including the township Official Plan, Corporate Strategic Plan, Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and Downtown Millbrook Revitalization Plan, among others.  Despite the proliferation of planning documents at all levels of government, the public has the opportunity to have a say in how the township addresses conflicts arising from land use and embraces the growth that, like it or not, we all know is coming.  Come to the next Open House at in August. KG

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