Huntsville’s planning committee recently considered a request to permit a parcel of land on Domtar Road to be severed which would create two lots that would not meet the minimum required frontage of 132 metres under Huntsville’s Official Plan (OP).
The lot, located at 720 Domtar Road, has an area of 4.7 hectares and a current road frontage of 122 metres. If severed as proposed by the applicant, the new lot would have an area of about two hectares and 61 metres of road frontage, while the retained lot would have an area of approximately 2.7 hectares and 61 metres of frontage on Domtar Road.
Town planning staff recommended that the application be denied since the road frontage on both lots would not comply with the policies of the OP.
“These policies promote fiscally responsible planning for the rural area and community as a whole by simultaneously discouraging unsustainable development patterns consistent with ‘ribbon sprawl’ (development characterized by low-density development along publicly maintained infrastructure) and by steering growth instead towards designated intensification areas where services and infrastructure exists or can be expanded to accommodate new higher-density housing options in an economically prudent manner. As both the severed and retained lots would have a frontage of 61m, whereas a minimum lot frontage of 134m is required, the proposal does not appear to be in keeping with the requirements of the Official Plan,” noted Huntsville planner Adam Ager in his report to committee.
Despite planning staff’s recommendation to deny the application, the applicant, Rory Eckenswiller, was before committee at its July 14 meeting asking for an exemption.
He said the new lot could enable a house to be constructed on it on a year-round road, and would meet the minimum lot size of the OP as well as the character of the area.
“Also, I’d add that this application serves the purpose to add to an affordable lot selection. It has been noted in previous minutes of this committee that there’s a shortage of affordable lots in the area,” said Eckenswiller.
Councillor Jason FitzGerald said there are lots with similar frontages in the area and “if there’s enough area to put private services on this lot, I believe that we should allow this lot to be created.”
Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano said she’s concerned committee is walking a slippery slope. “All of those smaller lots in that vicinity, have they all been created through exemptions or were they created long before we had an Official Plan that had the [minimum required]frontage?” she questioned.
“I just worry sometimes that we have an Official Plan and we sit here
and make exemption to it on a regular basis until the area
is smaller lots because we made that many exemptions.”
~ Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano
Councillor Jonathan Wiebe said he did not consider the proposed new lot to be an affordable one, although he was willing to consider it due to the nearby intersection and said he’s not opposed to higher development concentrations where there is more traffic and more of a setback from the road. He also said he likes that the hydro pole is on the same side of the road, so more hydro wires would not need to be added to the area. “Given all that I think I’m warming to the idea of supporting this,” he added.
In the end, a majority of committee approved the severance of the lot while Mayor Terziano and Councillor Bob Stone voted against it.
All planning committee decisions must be ratified by council.
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