Valley Journal Advertiser
UARB: Kings County council’s approval of Sunken Lake cabins upheld intent of MPS
In the board’s opinion, council did not misinterpret its role, the evidence before it or the choices that it had to make.
The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) has dismissed an appeal relating to Kings County council’s approval of a development agreement for tourist cabins at Sunken Lake.
In January, Kings County council gave second and final consideration to entering into a development agreement that would allow up to 20 tourist cabins of various sizes. The cabins would be located next to Sunken Lake on a five-acre wooded property at 536 Sunken Lake Rd.
Matthew Boates filed notice of a planning appeal with the UARB on Jan. 18 and an appeal hearing was held May 17. The UARB recently released a written decision, stating the appeal has been dismissed.
“The appellant has not discharged the burden of showing council’s decision was not reasonably consistent with the MPS (Municipal Planning Strategy). The board must dismiss this appeal,” the written decision concludes.
Chesley Long applied for the development agreement on behalf of the property owner, Kenzel Properties Limited. According to a staff report prepared for the County of Kings planning advisory committee in November, the applicant intends to keep the property as forested as possible and provide a natural setting for visitororiented accommodations.
In the past, Long Road and the subject property were used as a campground and provided lake access for swimming or boating. However, the property has not been used in this manner for many years. The intent is to repurpose two deteriorating dwellings on the property as part of the development.
The initial application was for 25 cabins, with some located closer to the shore. Staff negotiated with the applicant to reduce the total number of cabins and to push all the proposed development back from the lakeshore by 100 feet.
The changes were intended to help reduce the noise and visual impacts of the development, and to provide a large setback from the lake to ensure that vegetation has a chance to capture any runoff and nutrients before entering the lake.
Boates argued council’s decision to approve the development agreement was not reasonably consistent with the MPS and should be overturned.
Boates raised numerous MPS policies. Major themes he relied on, as summarized by the board, include that
sufficient council did not obtain information to satisfy itself that the proposed development would not have negative impacts on well fields or groundwater supplies, including the potential for pollution, soil erosion or siltation.
The appellant contended council did not obtain sufficient information to satisfy itself the project would not negatively impact lake water quality or wetlands; that council did not have a complete drainage and stormwater management plan prepared by a professional engineer; council should have obtained hydrological and environmental studies; and the proposed development agreement did not adequately mitigate the concerns raised by the appellant.
The board found the heart of the matter was the number and scope of studies council requires to properly discharge its role so that its decision is reasonably consistent with
opinion, the MPS. In the board’s council did not misinterpret its role, the evidence before it or the choices that it had to make.
The written decision states council’s approval reasonably carries out the intent of the MPS as expressed in the provisions relating to development agreements in the lakeshore residential (S1) zone.
The board showed deference to the choices made by council in the face of conflicting policy directions or policies with
judgements.” significant value-laden
The UARB is satisfied council had sufficient information to make its decision and that evidence presented at the hearing supported the decision. The board found the development agreement “provides sufficient safeguards as required by the MPS.”