Another Request for Expedited Zoning Approval Gets a Green Light

John Mutton, of development consulting firm Municipal Solutions, made a pitch to Council on March 7th for support of another Municipal Zoning Order to expedite the development of a property located at 1840 Brown Line in Cavan-Monaghan. 

His other local project is the Kawartha Downs development.  The property in the new proposal is currently zoned Rural, and the request was to expedite a rezoning of the property to an industrial designation, M1, or possibly M2.  Melanie Horton, of Esher Planning, did most of the talking.

The subject property consists of 70 acres with frontage on Brown Line as well as Airport Rd.  The lot includes a portion of provincially significant wetlands, which have been considered in the development plans through their lot configuration.  Specific details of the proposal were not provided until the actual meeting, so no township staff input was available at decision time.  Also lacking was a list of background studies in support of the proposal.  Discouraging progress in discussions about the project with County staff seemed to be the catalyst behind the approach the township to move things along.  The intention of the property owner is to create approximately 150,000 square feet of industrial space in a total of 3 buildings. The presentation was particularly light on details, offering no employment forecast, potential industrial tenant or purchaser to demonstrate how this development could spur new local employment.

In support of their proposal, Ms. Horton referred to the 2020 Growth Management Strategy prepared by Watson and Associates which identifies this property as a possible addition to the Rural Employment Zoned land.   She also requested a pre-consultation meeting with staff where they would present their plan and demonstrate how it fits into Cavan-Monaghan’s employment objectives.

Enthusiasm for the proposal was mixed.  Given the lack of information about the nature of the proposal, its potential and any evidence of field work conducted to date, some Council members felt the whole proposal was rushed, expressing concern that there had not been adequate due diligence to warrant recommending an expedited process.

Mayor McFadden disagreed.  Given the current situation with all Official Plans under revision, he argued that without the expedited zoning, a plan for this property would take five to ten years to arrive at the place where shovels were in the ground.  That was too long for two other Councillors, so the request for support of the MZO passed at the Council meeting and is now at Queen’s Park.  KG

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