Council requires tree compensation plan for severance proposal

MAPLETON – Township council has attached a condition requiring development of a tree compensation plan to its support of a severance and lot line adjustment required to facilitate expansion of a local business.

At the Feb. 28 meeting, council agreed to support the severance Part Lot 20, Concession 1 on several conditions, including that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and tree conservation/compensation plan demonstrating no negative impact will occur to the forest feature on the lands be provided.

A requirement the proposal comply with minimum distance separation regulations is also among the conditions for council support.

“The study should include the future development of the lands (expansion of the business including parking area, storage and building additions,” notes a report from township planner Linda Redmond.

The severance and lot line adjustment applications are currently before the County of Wellington planning and land division committee.

The lands to be severed are zoned agricultural and the lands to be merged are zoned site specific agriculture. 

“This zoning permits a breeding kennel and the farm drainage business that currently operates on the lands. The property will require a zone amendment to allow the expansion of the business, however, the rezoning is not required prior to the consent being finalized and will not be a condition of approval,” Redmond notes in the report.

A 98.2-acre retained parcel, from which two other parcels will be severed and added to a third parcel, is occupied by a farm operation including a dwelling, sheds and barn.

A one-acre parcel to be severed from the farm and merged with two other parcels is designated in the Wellington County official plan as Greenlands and is covered in forest. 

Another 0.2-acre parcel to be severed is designated Prime Agricultural and is currently used as a garden area. 

The merged parcel will have an overall area of 3.26 acres and is currently occupied by a dwelling and a farm drainage business. The lot line adjustments are being sought to allow an expansion of this business. 

Councillor Marlene Ottens asked why a small section of land near the south/east boundary of the retained property wasn’t included with the merged parcels.

“Is there a reason why the lot wouldn’t just go straight to the boundary line and just make it an even parcel and not leave that little sliver there?” asked Ottens.

“The problem is that these lands are designated Greenlands in the official plan. And under the Greenland designation, when you are applying to sever lands, you have to demonstrate that there’s no net negative impact on the Greenland feature, which is, in this case, the forest,” explained Redmond.

“The reason they’re acquiring this land is that they want to expand their business that’s on that property now and the expansion is actually going to result in the removal of a lot of trees,” she continued, adding that in discussions between the township, county and landowner, “we had indicated that you need to demonstrate … the need to remove all those trees in the expansion. So one of the things they did is they chose to make it smaller.”

Redmond pointed that the EIS has since been completed, including a proposal to remove 4,000 from the forested area.

“This has just come to light. So I did want to bring it forward to council and I have spoken with the county and the removal of the trees will not happen until such time that the expansion occurs, which (means) they will need to go through a zone amendment for that. So it will be back … before this council before that happens,” she told council.

“The issue is the compensation planting. We want to see some trees planted. It’s just a matter of where can that occur? … So that is the whole point of keeping that piece small is to protect that (forest) feature,” Redmond stated.