Agri­cul­tural land, wind en­ergy main con­cerns at New Mi­nas ses­sion on pro­posed Kings MPS, LUB

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - BY KIRK STARRATT Kingscountynews.ca new Mi­nas, ns Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

It’s a com­mon thread of con­cern wo­ven through­out the his­tory of mu­nic­i­pal politics and land use plan­ning in Kings County.

Agri­cul­tural land use was the top area of con­cern as the County of Kings plan­ning ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee hosted a fa­cil­i­tated town hall ses­sion on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s pro­posed new Mu­nic­i­pal Plan­ning Strat­egy (MPS) and Land Use By­law (LUB) at the Louis Mil­lett Com­mu­nity Com­plex in New Mi­nas on Sept. 13. The doc­u­ments have been de­vel­oped as part of the on­go­ing Kings 2050 re­gional plan­ning project.

An­other hot topic of con­cern was pro­posed set­back dis­tances for large-scale wind tur­bine de­vel­op­ment. These and sev­eral other land use is­sues rounded out the hour-long pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion ses­sion. Some speak­ers ex­pressed the sen­ti­ment that mu­nic­i­pal plan­ners or coun­cil aren’t hear­ing their con­cerns.

Mar­i­lyn Cameron of No Farms No Food, a group ded­i­cated to the preser­va­tion of agri­cul­tural land, said the hope is that plan­ning staff and coun­cil will see that the pub­lic cares what Kings County is about: agri­cul­ture, beau­ti­ful vis­tas, land­scapes and wilder­ness re­sources “that we need to protect.”

“I feel that this MPS, this new draft, is sort of open­ing the door. It’s al­most like de­vel­op­ment at any cost,” Cameron said.

Al­though she feels im­prove­ments have been made in some ar­eas, in other re­gards it seems like rules are be­ing re­laxed.

“So­lar farms on farm land? That’s re­ally a ter­ri­ble idea. It’s not an agri­cul­tural use so why al­low that on prime agri­cul­tural soil,” Cameron said.

She said vague lan­guage in the pro­posed doc­u­ments and the pos­si­bil­ity of al­low­ing more res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment on farm­land could lead to land use con­flicts. She hopes coun­cil will see that these pro­posed poli­cies are not ac­cept­able to the res­i­dents of Kings County and that “the ap­pro­pri­ate changes” will be made.

Rep­re­sent­ing North Kentville farm­ers, Karen Robin­son re­quested farm land within the growth cen­tre be re­turned to agri­cul­tural zon­ing; that North Kentville land cur­rently zoned agri­cul­tural re­main that way and that farm­land in the North Kentville growth cen­tre be ex­empt from sewer rates.

Tap­root Farms co-owner and for­mer coun­cil­lor Pa­tri­cia Bishop said she would like to see the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s def­i­ni­tion of agri­cul­tural land broad­ened; and pol­icy drafted that would al­low de­vel­op­ers to more eas­ily build ver­ti­cally to pre­vent sprawl in order to help pre­serve farm­land.

Farmer Brian New­combe ex­pressed con­cern that res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment could be al­lowed on farm fields with 1,000 feet or more of road frontage. This could lead to the frag­men­ta­tion of larger fields.

Barry Hen­ni­gar said, “the less agri­cul­tural land that we have, the less choice we have to be self-sus­tain­ing.”

Speak­ing on be­half of the New Mi­nas Vil­lage Com­mis­sion, chair­man Dave Chaulk said they would like to see the en­tire vil­lage con­sid­ered a growth cen­tre.

The land south of High­way 101 in­cluded within the vil­lage bound­ary by the pro­vin­cial Util­ity and Re­view Board is not zoned agri­cul­tural and is “ideal for im­me­di­ate de­vel­op­ment.”

“We have proven time and time again that we’re open for busi­ness but we ask you not to put out a closed sign,” Chaulk said.

On the topic of wind en­ergy, War­ren Peck asked that res­i­dents within five km be in­cluded in the plan­ning process from the be­gin­ning if his pro­posal for the de­vel­op­ment of a large-scale wind tur­bine park in the south­west cor­ner of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was deemed ap­pro­pri­ate. Set­back dis­tances of 3.5 km from neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties could be achieved.

“If the 1,000-me­tre sep­a­ra­tion is deemed ap­pro­pri­ate, as de­scribed in the ex­ist­ing draft MPS, then all cit­i­zens who signed the three pe­ti­tions in 2012 will re­quire con­tact­ing, ap­prox­i­mately 1,700 cit­i­zens, to ob­tain so­cial li­cense,” Peck said.

Nancy Den­ton Peck said she doesn’t know whom the mu­nic­i­pal­ity con­sulted with on pro­posed 1,000 m set­backs, as those who signed pe­ti­tions in 2012 wanted greater sep­a­ra­tion dis­tances.

Betty Lou Brown said there is no other op­tion for large-scale wind

tur­bine de­vel­op­ment as per­fect for the cit­i­zens of Kings County as Peck’s pro­posal for the south­west cor­ner of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Brown said she un­der­stands that sep­a­ra­tion dis­tances could be as lit­tle as 750 m in cer­tain cir­cum­stances un­der the cur­rent draft doc­u­ments.

Plan­ning man­ager Laura Mosher said there is draft pol­icy that in­di­cates

if the peo­ple liv­ing within 1,000 m of a pro­posed wind tur­bine all agree, the tur­bine could be sited within less than 1,000 m of a neigh­bour­ing prop­erty.

Sim­i­lar pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion meet­ings on the pro­posed MPS and LUB were held in Water­ville on Sept. 11 and Kingston on Sept. 14.

KIRK starratt

War­ren Peck of Black River Road dis­cusses wind en­ergy con­cerns with Coun. Brian Hir­tle prior to a town hall meet­ing in New Mi­nas on the County of Kings’ pro­posed new Mu­nic­i­pal Plan­ning Strat­egy and Land Use By­law.

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