Rothsay business seeks expansion; barn construction to go with woodworking shop

A business located just outside Rothsay is one step closer to a proposed expansion, despite some concerns expressed by Mapleton councillors.
On Oct. 9, council approved in principle a zoning amendment  to permit an agricultural related use and the expansion of an existing woodworking operation at Denco Storage Shed Inc., located on County Road 7, just south of the hamlet. Specifically, president Dennis Martin is seeking permission for the construction of modular horse barns and other agricultural barns and shelters.
The application would also permit:
– the expansion of the 3,207 square foot woodworking operation (for garden and storage sheds and lawn furniture);
– accessory office space and storage space for raw materials, finished products, machinery, vehicles, and equipment; and
– expansion of the area of operation.
County planner Mark Van Patter told council secondary and agricultural uses are permitted on the property.
He said he considers the wood­working operation as an acceptable secondary use, and, “I am also satisfied that the proposed commercial use is directly related to the farm operation.”
Van Patter added that the agricultural use can be of larger scale than the secondary use, but said the main issue facing council is if both uses should be located in the countryside and not so close to the hamlet of Rothsay.
Martin’s agent, Bruce Don­ald­son, said the location of the business is “critical” to serve the agricultural community, as it is located on County Road 7, with good access to other county and provincial high­ways.
Donaldson explained the busi­ness has expanded due to the demand for a variety of agri­cultural buildings (specifically for horses), and over the last year that business has grown tremendously.
Donaldson also said con­cerns about noise from neighbour Robert MacDonald, who lives on Catherine Street, are unfounded, because there is approximately 408 ground-covered metres between the two properties.
Van Patter also has said he does not think noise is a major concern, and the 408 metres of separation between Martin’s property and that of the Mac­Donalds’ is “a fair distance.”
Also, other neighbours who were present at the meeting  – in­cluding several who live closer to the subject property than the MacDonalds – wrote letters of support and told council they are not concerned about noise and have no problem with the zoning amendment.
But while councillors ex­pressed support for local businesses, they did have several concerns with the application.
Councillor Jim Curry said the modular horse barn construction has been ongoing for some time and Martin is just now coming for a zoning amendment.
He said he was somewhat distraught to discover that particular business grew so rapidly and council had no knowledge of it, and he asked why the applicant did not seek the zoning amendment first.
Donaldson replied that he understands the concern, but Van Patter has been working on the application for some time.
Councillor Bruce Whale said he has some difficulty accepting the construction of horse barns as an agricultural use.
Whale also wondered if rezoning the land as commercial and industrial, rather than prime agricultural, would make the two uses on the property more acceptable.
Van Patter replied he was unsure, but it would probably cause some problems if the property was zoned residential, even though it is located right next to a residential area.
Councillor Dennis Craven asked what the percentage of Martin’s overall business has to do with modular barn construction, and how much is woodworking.
Donaldson replied that the breakdown is probably about “50:50” for the two uses.
When Mayor John Green asked about the hours of operation on the property, Martin replied regular hours are Mon­day to Friday, from 7am to 5pm, but occasionally some overtime is required to meet demands.
When it came time for a vote, councillors voted in fav­our of directing staff to proceed with a draft bylaw for council’s consideration.
The introduction of that bylaw was approved by council on Oct. 23. It will be considered for final approval at council’s next meeting on Nov. 13.