Guelph-Eramosa briefs: Water back on, ‘at large’ defined, housing proposals move forward

BRUCEDALE – Guelph-Eramosa mayor Chris White opened the council meeting on Jan. 11 singing the praises of township staff, who worked overnight Christmas Eve to fix a broken watermain on Highway 7.

White said the entire village was without water until Christmas morning, when staff managed to make a temporary fix.

The road was also closed  due to the flooding and only reopened last week, he said. A permanent fix to the road will be done in the spring.

“I’d like to say a special thank you for the extra effort,” White said.

“It was absolutely critical what they did.”

Proposal to expand apartment building

Council also learned that the owner of a property on Highway 7 between Guelph and Rockwood wants to expand an existing apartment building to add eight more rental units on the second storey and 16 more parking spaces, for a total 21 apartments and 39 parking spots.

“The existing septic will need to be expanded if this is approved, but the footprint is not changing,” said Meagan Ferris, a planner with Wellington County.

The owner had submitted a zoning change application – the first step in the redevelopment project. More specific details will be presented at the site plan application stage.

The site was formerly a motel that was converted to an apartment building. It is legal but non-conforming, Ferris said.

Two neighbours, Ann Hollings and Alex Harringon, spoke in opposition to the plan.

Harrington said there are several omissions in the proposal, including a plan for fencing and buffers from neighbours, as well as snow removal.

He said currently the plow will push snow on or over his fence, “destroying it every year.”

More parking spaces and less room to push snow makes this a bad idea, Harrington said. He added the owner is seeking exemptions, “and planning by exemption is not really planning.”

White said these details would be discussed further at the site planning stage. Council accepted the report for information.

Ferris said she will collect comments from agencies, review the material and return to council with a recommendation on the zoning change application.

Townhouse complex

Meanwhile, a proposed townhouse development at 5150 Wellington Road 27 in Rockwood returned to council with changes after a public meeting last month.

Trevor Hawkins, with MHBC planning, said the revised plan has taken public comments into account.

The new plan has increased the individual lot size to 175 square metres, bringing it in line with an adjacent townhouse complex. That reduces the number of units by one.

The proponents have also added more visitor parking; 13 are required and 17 are now in the plan, Hawkins said. They have also widened the easement between buildings for easier maintenance.

Councillor Corey Woods was still opposed tot he plan.

“It’s too dense. I don’t like the driveway width or the narrower street. In general, I don’t agree with the R2 zoning,” Woods said.

Councillor Mark Bouwmeester would like to see pedestrian connections to nearby schools and Rockmosa Park.

Councillor Louise Marshall was absent, and with only Woods opposed, the motion to approve the zoning bylaw application carried.

The report will now head to Wellington County for review.

Animal control bylaw defines “running at large”

Amanda Knight explained that according to the bylaw officer, it has become necessary to define what “running at large” means when it comes to dogs.

“It would be helpful to the Guelph Humane Society and bylaw to have a definition,” Knight explained as she presented the proposed amendment.

The new language approved by council reads: “A dog is deemed to be running at large if found in any place other than the property of the owner of the dog and the dog is not on a leash and under the control of a person capable of handling the dog when it is on property other than that of the owner, unless prior consent is given by the person owning the property on which the dog is found.”

“It should be common sense,” said Woods. “Unfortunately, we will see more and more of this when lawyers get involved.”

“That’s what I mean,” agreed White. “We have to spell it out so it’s easier to understand.”