Puslinch council passes site plan control, parkland bylaws

Puslinch council has passed a bylaw that designates all land in the township as an area requiring parkland, or cash in lieu of parkland, be conveyed to the municipality as a condition of development.
The township already had the authority to require parkland or cash in lieu, but in the past that was accomplished through site-specific bylaws. The new bylaw eliminates the need for site-specific legislation.
It states that two percent of land be conveyed in the case of redevelopment or development for commercial or industrial purposes, and five percent be conveyed in all other cases – or cash be paid to the township in lieu of the parkland.
Councillor Dick Visser questioned the inclusion of commercial or industrial development. He said on Feb. 6 the township is trying to encourage the development of industrial land and should not deter that development in any way.
Visser also had trouble with the cash-in-lieu provision. He said future councils could take advantage of the bylaw and take the cash, at the expense of the residents, who may want and/or need the parkland.
Councillor Don McKay said he agrees somewhat with Visser when it comes to re-development, but not initial development. However, McKay added he has no problem with the bylaw.
Councillor Matthew Bulmer said the bylaw does not give the township any more authority – it just formalizes the policy and applies it across the township. It also helps to ease the burden of finding and paying for new parkland, he added.
Whitcombe said the township should expect developers to contribute a “modest” sum for parkland, especially considering more recreational land may be needed in the foreseeable future.
He reminded council of the community’s objections to the Royal Canin plant and how residents wanted to know “what’s in it for us?” The new bylaw would help answer that question, he said, so he sees no problem passing it.
The bylaw was approved by a 3-1 vote, with just Visser opposed. Whitcombe said staff will develop some kind of schedule outlining the specifics of the bylaw.
Also at its meeting on Feb. 6, council unanimously passed a township-wide site plan control bylaw. 
Site plan control, normally used to control development design features, allows for a review of developer plans before granting approval. Previously, Puslinch dealt with site plan control on a site-specific basis.