Erin council approves permanent zoning for Angelstone

After four years of temporary bylaws, Angelstone Tournaments has been granted permanent zoning for its summer equestrian events.

Angelstone, which initially applied for permanent zoning in 2013, was granted  temporary bylaws to allow the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons to proceed while it worked through issues and complaints.

The zoning allows Angelstone to use its property, on Wellington Road 50 near the Eramosa-Erin Townline, for  equestrian competitions, camping for staff (to ensure care and security of horses) and the sale of related equestrian merchandise, food and beverages.

Wellington County planning and development director Gary Cousins presented his final report to council on April 4. He explained there were three main questions relating to Angelstone: is it a permitted use in an agricultural area; is the site suitable for the use; and is it compatible with neighbouring uses?

Cousins said through technical studies and improvements, plus monitoring and reports for noise and sound, he “was satisfied” on the last two questions.

Cousins told council that leaves whether it is a permitted use in an agricultural area, which he believed it is.

He said it fits in with the provincial policy definitions, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ guideline on permitted uses.

“The breeding, raising and training of horses by Angelstone is clearly an agricultural use,” he stated in his report.

“The training (including competitions) is an agriculture-related use providing a service to other farms in the area. The Saturday evening event is still agriculture-related but can also be considered an on-farm diversified use, providing both enjoyment and education for an audience.”

Cousins added, “While the events could be considered on-farm diversified as preferred by the OMAFRA planner, in my view it meets all of the criteria of agriculture-related.

“The food and beverage sales, sales of equine equipment and camping are related to the event days and are reasonably accessory to the authorized training events.”

Councillor Matt Sammut, who voted against permanent zoning, raised some concerns, including complaints from neighbours Nancy and Fred Gilbert.

“As far as nuisance issues go, they’ve absolutely done a great job I believe at improving, based on us policing it and your guidance,” said Sammut, who asked Cousins if Angelstone could construct a berm between the property and the Gilbert’s property.

“I don’t think so because I don’t think it’s necessary to have a berm in order to reduce the level of noise on the property,” replied Cousins. “If you’re talking about visual impacts, a typical rural solution would be fencing not berms.”

Sammut also asked how the town will be able to ensure Angelstone is adhering to the town’s bylaw. Cousins said enforcement would be handled on a complaint basis.

Councillor Jeff Duncan said this is a zoning amendment, not an official plan amendment. Therefore the official plan supports Angelstone operating in the agricultural zone.

“By us approving this amendment and setting it under a special section, actually gives the town more control over the site because it’s nailing down what’s actually allowed to be there and the parameters around that,” he said.

Council voted 4-1 vote to allow the permanent zoning, with Sammut opposed.