Huntsville council is sticking to its guns.
Following closed session discussions at a special council meeting held January 10, Huntsville council emerged with a resolution to defend a decision by the committee of adjustment last October to order the owners of a riverfront property on King Crescent to remove a retaining wall from the shore.
Last October, the applicants’ file was before the committee of adjustment whose decisions, unlike other committees, do not require council ratification. The applicants were trying to get a retaining wall, referred to as ‘egregious’ by the chair of the committee, recognized as a minor variance. They told the committee the wall had been built to protect the shoreline from erosion particularly due to the wake created by speeding boats. They were also seeking relief from the requirements of the Town’s comprehensive zoning on the property to increase the allowed accessory lot coverage from 5 to 5.13 per cent for a floating dock.
Municipal planning staff were recommending that the allowance for the floating dock be approved but only if the applicants removed the retaining wall, revegetated the shoreline buffer area within 15 metres of the Muskoka River shore, and consulted with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) about requirements surrounding the potential impact of the wall on butternut trees on the property. You can find that story here.
The applicants have since appealed the committee’s decision to the Ontario Land Tribunal (formerly the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal). Council, following closed session discussions on Jan. 10, moved to defend committee’s decision and authorized staff to engage legal counsel. The funds will be pulled from the Town’s legal planning reserve.
The hearing is expected to take place in March.
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