Urban boundary expansion proposed in West Palmerston Secondary Plan

The Town of Minto has formally received the first draft of the West Palmerston Secondary Plan.

Council received the planning document on Aug. 7 and directed it be circulated to various agencies for comment. A public open house meeting will be scheduled in September.

A secondary plan establishes local development policies to guide growth in defined areas of a municipality “where major physical changes are expected and desired,” states a staff report from CAO Bill White.

The report states the West Palmerston Secondary Plan includes analysis to support expanding Palmerston’s urban boundary, and provides “a rational development approach to make effective use of lands and municipal services when an urban boundary adjustment is secured.”

Urban boundary expansions require comprehensive analysis at the county level during its five year official plan review. Since Wellington County completed a five year review in 2014, the next formal review is anticipated in 2019-20.

The secondary planning area is located on the north side of the former town of Palmerston and consists of about 290 acres of land in the west end. It is bounded on the north by the south limit of Concession 2, on the west by the Palmerston Industrial Park, the east by White’s Junction Trail and the south by Main Street East (Wellington Road 123).

Two farm parcels make up about 137.5 acres of the secondary plan area. About 78 acres is smaller mixed use/vacant lots or corridor and developed smaller commercial, industrial and residential uses. Businesses in the area include MSW Plastics, Tri-coat, Esso, Pizza Pizza and Tim Hortons.

Much of the land in the planning area is outside the current urban boundary identified in the county Official Plan.

Expansion of the urban boundary can only occur according to the policies in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which  came into effect in 2017.

“The town is preparing the secondary plan to promote efficient use of infrastructure such as lift stations/in-line sewage systems required on Minto Road and at Brunswick and Nelson,” the report explains.

“The secondary plan will help the town prioritize these major infrastructure investments. The secondary plan promotes development of a complete community (mix of land use, parks, trails etc.) in a compact form consistent with the policies of the Growth Plan,” White explains in the report.

“The secondary plan confirms the amount of land needed in Palmerston to meet county growth targets, and where future development should be directed in the next 25 years.”

During that period, Minto is expected to grow by 3,745 people, with 1,330 new homes anticipated – a rate of 53 units per year.

The county growth plan allocated 635 new units to Palmerston in the 2016 projection. This would result in Palmerston’s population increasing 1,785 persons over 25 years or 2.17% growth per year.

The report notes that Mary, Elgin, Jane, Henry, Ontario and Lorne Streets all terminate at the farmlands within the planning area, creating an opportunity to “naturally extend these roadways to create a reasonable traffic pattern.”

The report also identifies other potential expansion areas, including farms to the east and west of the former town of Palmerston and land immediately to the south.

As the latter is located in North Perth, it would require a boundary adjustment.

“Including lands currently in Perth County along King Street within Palmerston’s urban area has some merit given proximity to the town’s wastewater plant,” notes White in the report.

However, he adds, “The biggest constraint to extending the urban boundary in this area is the need for an amalgamation between North Perth and Minto as well as Perth and Wellington County.”

The report states the proposed land uses within the plan provide “a development pattern consistent with the character of Palmerston,” promote compact development form, efficient use and expansion of infrastructure and  provides a mix of land uses, including parks and trail links.

Councillor Judy Dirksen thanked White and staff for their work on the plan, which she called “thought provoking.”

She added, “You need a good starting point because you can’t just say, ‘What do you want?’ You need a place to start and then you can sort of mould it and shape it and make it what you want.”