Council approves parking relief for gas station/takeout restaurant in Mount Forest

WELLINGTON NORTH – Township council has approved a minor variance for a gas station and takeout restaurant proposal at the corner of Sligo Road and Main Street (Highway 6) in Mount Forest.

A committee of adjustment meeting was held Oct. 13 on the application by a numbered company seeking relief from the minimum parking requirements.

The applicant is proposing to construct a new gas station, including a takeout restaurant (Mr. Sub) and convenience store and providing seven parking spots, although the bylaw requires a minimum of nine spots.

The location is currently the site of a restaurant.

Wellington County planner Matthieu Daoust said the planning department considers the requested variance minor in nature.

He noted the proposed use of the property meets the intent of the county’s official plan and the township’s zoning bylaw.

“Although it isn’t incorporated in the calculation, hypothetically, if all seven spaces were to be taken, an informal space could be taken behind each of the pumps,” Daoust pointed out.

Norm North, who lives across from the proposed gas station/restaurant, expressed concern about the potential traffic impact.

“It’s a very busy corner,” said North. “This is going to basically impede anyone who lives within the vicinity at any point.

“It’s difficult even backing out of our driveway on a good day.”

North also expressed concern about “the safety of children walking to school,” due to the increased traffic associated with the gas station.

“There are an abundance of gas stations in Mount Forest and personally I’m not seeing the need,” he stated.

Mayor Andy Lennox pointed out the property is already zoned commercial, which allows the gas station to be established without a public process were it not for the requested parking relief.

“They could convert it to a gas station at any time,” said Lennox.

“We have done our homework … there’s not going to be any impact” from traffic, said Wajid Mansuri of GAMA Engineering Inc., an agent for the applicant.

Mansuri noted traffic studies have been completed and approved by consultants for the township.

Councillor Sherry Burke asked if the proposed business would have access from both Sligo Road and Main Street.

Daoust confirmed there would be access from both streets.

Noting the area is busy, particularly on weekends, councillor Dan Yake asked if there had been any consideration given to changing the way the traffic light at the corner functions, possibly in terms of a delayed change or turn signals.

Director of operations Matt Aston said the township could look into changes to the traffic light functions.

“That’s really outside of the scope of this application, other than this application is going to spur it along,” noted Lennox.

“I’m just trying to address Mr. North’s concerns,” said Yake.

In response to concerns about overflow parking on nearby streets, Mansuri pointed out the proposed restaurant is not a sit-down facility.

“This is just a takeout and it works like every other gas station for a quick in and quick out,” he noted.

A resolution to approve the minor variance for parking relief was approved unanimously.

Councillor Lisa Hern was not present for the meeting, which was held via teleconference.