Puslinch nixes proposal to include outdoor storage, truck terminal uses

ABERFOYLE – A proposal for additional industrial/commercial uses of a vacant parcel of land did not gain support at a recent Puslinch Township council meeting.

On Dec. 4 council reviewed both a written and verbal report from Wellington County senior planner Meagan Ferris regarding an updated bylaw for a Concession 2 property owned by Farhi Holding Corporation.

The applicant proposed two changes to amending bylaws proposed by staff: permitting both a transportation terminal and outdoor storage.

Ferris noted that even if a holding provision was not in place, the township could still review options for the property at the site plan stage.

Councillor Jessica Goyda called the application “tricky” because “we ultimately don’t know what the end user intends for the property.”

Goyda said she understands more uses makes the property more saleable, “However, at the end of the day good planning and the surroundings should be taken into consideration.”

On the matter of outdoor storage, she said the same uses could still happen as long as storage was contained within a building.

Ferris said removal of outdoor storage emphasizes the property’s prestige and unique location adjacent to Highway 401, and it also “supports higher levels of building design within the township.”

Goyda also voiced concern about the request to include a transportation terminal as a possible use, not only from the visual aspect, but the property’s proximity to environmentally sensitive lands.

Ferris said some of the proposed uses, including a transportation terminal, are not compatible.

She added at some point in the future a proposal could be brought forward for a truck terminal, with appropriate studies and a detailed site plan.

“But at this stage, I don’t think it appropriate to include it ‘as a right,’” she said, adding truck transportation facilities should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Councillor John Sepulis supported Goyda’s comments regarding use as a transportation terminal, noting, “If all the neighbours are happy, I don’t think council would say no.”

Councillor Matthew Bulmer said the goal is to provide access to the property via Sideroad 21.

Noting the issue of the day is whether certain uses should be considered “a right, ” he said if the township was dealing with a specific application, there would be a way to address concerns.

Bulmer said that opportunity still exists in the future.

Mayor James Seeley asked staff if there was any residents of Solvenski Park objected to the potential use as a transport terminal.

Ferris said residents sent a letter of concern when the proposal was first made, but not a specific objection to the transport terminal use.

Planner Melanie Horton, on behalf of Farhi, asked to comment but was told by the mayor she was not a delegated speaker that night.

Horton contended she’d been invited to the meeting.

“Ultimately it’s my decision,” the mayor responded.

Council approved the report and bylaw as presented by staff.

Permitted uses within the amended bylaw include the following: business or professional office; catering establishment; equipment rental; factory outlet; feed mill, grain storing, weighing and drying operation; industrial equipment rental establishment; industrial use; public use; retail lumber and building supply; restaurant; service trade; service or repair establishment; warehouse; public indoor storage facility; garden centre; farmers market; agricultural service and supply establishment; ancillary retail; showroom; and administrative office.