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Official plan amendment means Palmerston to grow

by David Meyer

GUELPH - County council approved an official plan amendment that means Palmerston will be able to grow - as soon as it has capacity in its sewer system for a development.

The amendment approved on Oct. 27 will take prime agricultural land and designate it for residential use in the Palmerston urban centre. The town grew in the shape of a U and the lands to be developed can be considered in-filling.

They are Part of Lot 23, Concession 1 in old Minto township and are about 12.4 acres, according to a report by county planner Mark Van Patter to the planning committee on Oct. 13. The area is north of Lorne Street in Palmerston and the land is immediately east of the town’s industrial park. The lands are currently farmed and are part of the Heinmiller Farm that extends to the north.

Van Patter noted the southern part of the property was originally part of the town plan known as McComb’s subdivision. The town removed that designation in 2007, but before it did that, the owners of the property divided the land in a classic checkerboard pattern, where two owners own adjoining lots.

That “checkerboarding”  technique was used by developers many years ago to avoid plans of subdivisions, as they applied for building permits for one lot at a time.

Van Patter said the owners have provided an informal draft plan of subdivision that shows two phases. The consists of 44 single detached units and 35 townhouse units, for a total of 79 dwellings. Phase two does not show a lot layout, but an earlier concept plan showed about 33 single detached lots. The combined total is 112 dwelling units.

Van Patter noted there was a public meeting in June and there were no citizen submissions. In August, Minto council supported the amendment with special policies to address compatibility of industrial lands and phasing for the town’s limited sewage capacity.

Van Patter said in the county’s growth plan, Palmerston has an under-supply of housing and this plan would reduce that to 131 residential units.

Palmerston is expected to grow from 2,760 people to 4,060 population by 2031, and 470 households are required to reach that target.

Van Patter also pointed out there is no reasonable alternative to using the land, since Palmerston is surrounded by prime farmland on all sides, and expansion to the south does not make sense, since that would travel outside the county’s boundaries into neighbouring Perth County.

He also noted there are two barns near the proposed subdivision, but one is outside the minimum distance separation formula so it has no effect, and the other farming operation is cash cropping, with no animals being housed.

As for compatibility with the industrial park, Van Patter stated, “The town may be able to assist in reducing land use conflict by rezoning an area of Minto owned industrial lands south of Noble Road to light industry, permitting only Class 1 uses.”

Van Patter recommended a holding designation for the property development until sewage capacity is available in the community.

County council unanimously approved the committee’s recommendation to accept the official plan amendment when it passed its committee minutes.

 

November 11, 2011

 
 

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