Coun­cil re­jects com­mer­cial re­zo­ning re­quest

Tribune Express - - AC­TUA­LITES • NEWS - GREGG CHAM­BER­LAIN gregg.cham­ber­

Haw­kes­bu­ry town coun­cil has de­ci­ded not to ap­prove a re­zo­ning re­quest from a lo­cal de­ve­lo­per that would al­low him to go ahead with a small-scale com­mer­cial de­ve­lop­ment pro­ject on pro­per­ty bor­de­ring Che­nail Bou­le­vard. The ques­tion now is whe­ther or not Gilles Gau­thier will ap­peal coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to the On­ta­rio Mu­ni­ci­pal Board.

Coun­cil vo­ted 5-2 in a re­gis­te­red vote du­ring its Oct. 30 ses­sion to ac­cept the re­com­men­da­tion of Town Plan­ner Ma­non Belle-Isle to re­fuse the re­zo­ning re­quest. Coun­cil­lors Mi­chel Thi­bo­deau and Da­niel La­londe vo­ted to re­ject the re­com­men­da­tion and sup­port the re­zo­ning re­quest.

“I’m ve­ry di­sap­poin­ted,” said Gau­thier du­ring a Tues­day mor­ning phone in­ter­view. “I did speak in­di­vi­dual­ly to eve­ry mem­ber of the coun­cil (prior to vote) and they (coun­cil) did not seem to sup­port it.”

The main ob­jec­tion in Belle-Isle’s fi­nal re­port to coun­cil was that Gau­thier’s plan to in­clude a gas ser­vice sta­tion as one of four bu­si­nesses pro­po­sed for the de­ve­lop­ment was not sui­table for cur­rent down­town de­ve­lop­ment po­li­cy goals to “use the exis­ting down­town core, to al­low people to live, work and play in the down­town core.”

The re­zo­ning re­quest has been a fo­cus of contro­ver­sy for the past year. The site is lo­ca­ted on the ri­ver side of Che­nail Bou­le­vard and is al­rea­dy zo­ned as Com­mu­ni­ty Core Com­mer­cial Dis­trict (CCCD). Gau­thier’s re­quest would have re­de­si­gna­ted it as Site-Spe­ci­fic Com­mu­ni­ty Core Com­mer­cial (SSCCC), which would al­low de­ve­lop­ment of a gas sta­tion for sales of ga­so­line, oil and si­mi­lar pro­ducts but no me­cha­ni­cal re­pair work, along with a small gro­ce­ry store, a car wash, and a small res­tau­rant or fast-food out­let.

Che­nail Bou­le­vard is a pro­vin­cial mu­ni­ci­pal connec­tor route to the Long Sault Bridge, al­lo­wing hea­vy trucks and com­mu­ter traf­fic to by­pass Main Street and the main part of the down­town core on their way to and from

Qué­bec. Gau­thier owns the pro­per­ty through his com­pa­ny, Ges­tions Vi­tri­co Ltd. The re­zo­ning re­quest first came be­fore coun­cil in March through Gau­thier and an agent for an out­side in­ves­tor in­ter­es­ted in buying the site for the par­ti­cu­lar type of de­ve­lop­ment that an SSCCC zo­ning would al­low.

The re­quest then be­came a source of contro­ver­sy with ho­meow­ners in a re­si­den­tial neigh­bou­rhood ad­ja­cent to the pro­per­ty op­po­sing the re­quest. The re­zo­ning ap­pli­ca­tion was la­ter drop­ped af­ter the out­side in­ves­tor pul­led out of the ar­ran­ge­ment. Gau­thier re­sub­mit­ted the re­quest on Ju­ly 31 2017 with the goal of still ha­ving the site zo­ned for that par­ti­cu­lar type of de­ve­lop­ment. Neigh­bou­rhood re­si­dents again op­po­sed the re­quest and coun­cil re­fer­red the mat­ter for plan­ning de­part­ment re­view.

In her re­port, Belle-Isle no­ted that the re­zo­ning re­quest does meet pro­vin­cial stan­dards for com­mer­cial plan­ning and al­so meets the gui­de­lines of the Uni­ted Coun­ties of Pres­cott-Rus­sell’s own Of­fi­cial Plan for com­mer­cial zo­ning wi­thin the Haw­kes­bu­ry area. There is al­so a sup­por­ting do­cu­ment for the de­ve­lop­ment pro­po­sal from an Ot­ta­wa consul­tant re­tai­ned by Gau­thier, which al­so notes that any re­zo­ning ap­pro­val would still re­quire the de­ve­lo­per to ac­cept a site plan for the pro­ject and that coun­cil can at­tach condi­tions to the site plan to deal with neigh­bou­rhood concerns about noise, traf­fic, and views­cape.

Gau­thier can ap­peal coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to the On­ta­rio Mu­ni­ci­pal Board (OMB). He has a th­ree-week per­iod star­ting from Oct. 31 to file an ap­peal and said he plans to first talk with his own consul­tant and clients who are in­ter­es­ted in ac­qui­ring the pro­per­ty if it is re­zo­ned.

“I have not de­ci­ded yet,” Gau­thier said, re­gar­ding an OMB ap­peal. “But it is my in­ten­tion to do so.”

—pho­to Gregg Cham­ber­lain

Le bou­le­vard Che­nail, à Haw­kes­bu­ry, a été le théâtre d’une ba­garre entre les pro­prié­taires du quar­tier ri­ve­rain de la rue et un pro­mo­teur lo­cal qui vou­lait un re­zo­nage com­mer­cial de sa pro­prié­té pour per­mettre un pro­jet de dé­ve­lop­pe­ment à pe­tite échelle. Le con­seil a main­te­nant re­je­té la de­mande de re­zo­nage, mais le pro­mo­teur a la pos­si­bi­li­té d’en ap­pe­ler de la dé­ci­sion du con­seil au­près de la Com­mis­sion des af­faires mu­ni­ci­pales de l’On­ta­rio.

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