MTO concerns raised over business, farmers’ market

The idea of a farmers’ market and an­tique sales outlet in downtown Kenilworth is on hold until Ministry of Transportation concerns are addressed.

Wellington North councillors recently held a public meeting on a rezoning application for the southern edge of the hamlet. The 1.26-acre property is currently occupied by a steel clad building that houses an overhead steel door contractors business, .

The  amendment would  al­low  the antique store, a variety of other uses, and a residential dwelling on the property. There is currently site specific commercial zoning there, which restricts property uses to the contractor’s business and the selling of feed.

The proposal at council indicated the contractor’s use would cease in the future.

Before Mayor Mike Broom­head turned the meeting over to planner Mark Van Patter, he stated that the Ministry of Transportation re­cently sent a letter of concern.

While Broomhead believes those issues needed to be cleared up, he also believes the outline of the proposal also needed to be heard to bring council members on board.

“Obviously it appears the MTO has some issues on this property. Until we have the MTO’s blessing on this, there’s not much sense in passing a bylaw,” he said.

Instead, the mayor recommended getting the county perspective from Van Patter, who said the Hor­rigan family has owned the property since 2002, when it was rez­oned. There is an offer to purchase it, which is why the rezoning came to council.

The list of intended uses by proposed purchaser Roxanne Caughill include antiques and furniture, stained glass supplies and products, collectables, giftware, handicrafts, custom outsourcing, craft supplies, rentals (such as wedding and anniversary items), a farmers’ market, interior decorating consulting, floristry, craft classes and a gift wrapping service.

Van Patter stated, “Most of the commercial uses being sought would be located within the metal clad building. How­ever, the farmers and flea market would be in the front and south sideyards, according to the site plan.”

He wrote that discussions in­dicated the owner would put out tables once or twice a week and bring them in at the end of the day.

Given the property size, Van Patter did not have concerns with building a residence on the property, provided the septic system is large enough to handle both the residential and commercial uses.

He said the farmers’ and flea market is fairly close to the neighbouring property to the north, which is zoned as unserviced residential. That zone allows residential use and the parking only of trucks.

Van Patter said in the draft bylaw, he noted the outdoor display of sales products would be limited to two days a week and outdoor storage is not permitted.

In his original comments, Van Patter wrote, “Given the property fronts onto Highway 6, I would recommend that council not make a decision on this application until the comments from the MTO have been received.”

He said much of what was proposed is small scale retailing. He said many of the proposed uses seemed to fit to­gether.

Van Patter stated the property itself is designated as hamlet within the Wellington County official plan

In terms of policy, Van Patter said provincial policies have directed development to­wards hamlets and urban areas.

“The county plan does basically the same thing.”

He noted the applicants are also proposing a single residential dwelling on the property.

Van Patter said this is the area where the MTO began to have issue with the proposal – specifically two types of development on a relatively small parcel of land.

“From a planning point of view,” Van Patter stated that most of what is being proposed in terms of usage would fit into the metal clad building. As for the outside uses, such as the market, Van Patter said the in­tent was to have it located to the south and to the front of the building (facing Highway 6).

As a result of talking with the agent, Van Patter believes the intent is to hold something relatively small.

He said with flea markets there can be the tendency to leave goods outdoors, and controls would be needed to ensure that does not happen.

In response to compatibility with neighbouring uses, Van Patter did not raise a concern.

He said, “And if there is anywhere to propose something like this, it would be in a small rural hamlet.”

He said additions could be made to discourage any property severences in the future.

He pointed out the property is just over an acre and traditionally, one acre is generally the minimum size for a severed parcel to allow for septic systems.

“The MTO letter is a bit of a surprise to me,” Van Patter said. “I’m not sure I necessarily agree with them,” but he said it would be wise for the applicants to meet with an MTO representative.

One of the other concerns is the potential severances in the future – on a property fronting onto Highway 6.

He noted the site plan proposed shows a potential home in the centre of the property, which would make any property severance difficult.

“It’s not that big of a property,” Van Patter commented.

A bit of a hedge was proposed to shield the adjacent property to the north from the farmers market.

Van Patter recommended checking with the MTO first, as there are likely regulations regarding setbacks. Further, he is also uncertain if the MTO has setback requirements for a farmers’ market operation.

“That’s why they need to speak with someone from the MTO.”

During the public meeting, council members offered no objections.

Proponents suggested having a house on the property allows better marketability should they choose to sell at a later time.

“If you could put a house on it, you’d have another person in your community.”

Caughill has run Jamieson Antiques for the past two years, and the idea would be to move that inventory to the new location.

Caughill has also worked closely with the proprietors of Jasmine’s.

It was suggested the relocation of that business would result in fewer cars parked near the main intersection of town. He said a scrap pile still needs to be cleaned up.

As for the farmers market, proponents stated there is a tremendous Mennonite community in the area. There are those who create hand-made furniture, baking, and other goods.

“It could put Kenilworth on the map.”

Broomhead said when a site plan is developed, the building inspector has voiced some concern over parking.

He said the municipality will be asking for specific parking plans and it may be based on square footage of the building. He noted that even if the house is not built right away, plans will still need to be in place to show how to address parking for the existing building.

Councillor Ross Chaulk said if the other issues are resolved, he has no problem with the proposal.

Broomhead said when everyone is on board, he foresees no roadblocks. “We’re encouraging this type of development in our hamlets.”

Broomhead said once the municipality gets a letter of MTO approval, the issue will come to council again.