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OMB dismisses citys appeal

by Chris Daponte

PUSLINCH TWP. - An Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) decision appears to confirm what Puslinch councillors have been saying all along: there is no legitimate reason for the City of Guelph to object to a township bylaw allowing the relocation of Milburn Auto Sales.

On Aug. 9 OMB member Harold Goldkind dismissed the city’s appeal and ruled in favour of  the township’s zoning bylaw.

“I find that the county and township are implementing the broad vision and policy objectives ... to achieve and maintain a strong, complete community, healthy environment and strong economy,” Goldkind said in his  27-page decision.

A sales and service business currently located on Craw­ley Road in Guelph, Milburn Auto?Sales applied to rezone a property at the southeast corner of Brock Road and Maltby Road in Puslinch Township to allow its relocation there.

The rezoning applies to 2.13 hectares - or slightly more than one third of the entire 5.8 hectare property - and the application includes a 930 square metre, privately serviced building and the outdoor display of up to 170 vehicles.

The township originally pass­ed a zoning bylaw approving the move last October, and shortly thereafter the city filed an appeal with the OMB.

Guelph policy planner Greg Atkinson said in a previous letter to the township that the city’s planning staff members “do not support the proposed rezoning” because:

- it is in violation of the provincial policy statement (PPS) that prohibits urban land uses in rural areas;

- the city and county official plans prohibit new development within one kilometre of existing urban areas;

- the business does not qualify as a “small scale” commercial development that is allow­ed in secondary agricultural areas; and

- it is located within the Paris-Galt moraine, which plays an important role in groundwater recharge in the area.

But in his decision, Gold­kind flat out rejected every one of those assertions.

“Mr. Atkinson’s opinion, that the proposed use is not a rural use, is too narrow and rigid,” Goldkind stated.

He also explained Atkin­son’s analysis  to determine the scale of the proposed business “is faulty,” and noted several times Atkinson did not successfully challenge the evidence of county planner Gary Cousins.

“I am satisfied that the ap­plicant’s proposal will not prevent the city’s efficient expansion of its urban boundary,” Goldkind stated.

“I find that the 1km envelope ... does not serve as a prohibition within this area, but is more of a guideline that is subject to modification, depending on the circumstances.”

He continued, “I have found that the proposed use is a rural use for the purpose of the PPS. I also find that it is a rural use for the purpose of the policies in ... the growth plan.”

Goldkind also stressed the business “will have no negative impact on the surrounding en­vironment.”

He noted the county, “on its own behalf and on behalf of the township, for many years, has cooperated with the city on planning and other issues,” has helped maintain “a clear distinction between urban and rural areas” and has “protected lands that affect the integrity of the city’s water supply.”

Goldkind concluded, “I am satisfied that the county and township have successfully balanced their obligations ... to provide for ‘an appropriate mix and range of employment’ and for ‘providing opportunities for a diversified economic base.’ with its other obligations under the PPS, the growth plan, and its official plan.”

Owner Robert Milburn did not return calls from the Advertiser by press time.


Vol 43 Issue 34


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