Variance facilitates expansion for Harriston Agromart

MINTO – The town’s committee of adjustment has approved a minor variance to allow a local agricultural business to build a new shop/warehouse.

On July 12, the committee, made up of members of Minto council, approved the variance requested by Harriston Agromart for the company’s 7.2 acre property on Wellington Road 109 south of Harriston.

A report from the town’s building department explains the company, founded in 1959, serves the agricultural community by assisting growers across the province with supplying crop nutrients and inputs. It also offers crop protection services, crop planning and scouting, GIS field mapping and soil sampling.

The company is seeking interior and rear yard setback relief to build a new shop/seed storage warehouse of about 19,200 square feet.

“They require a structure of this size to meet their growing needs and have explored other locations on the property which are not feasible for the operation of their business,” the report states.

To use the most feasible location on the site to build, the company requires relief from the required interior yard setback of 19.7 feet and rear yard setback of 24.9 feet. The proposed building would have interior and rear setbacks of 10 feet.

Minto planning technician Ashley Sawyer told the committee Harriston Agromart currently has nine full-time and 10 seasonal employees and the expansion will allow them to bring on two seasonal workers full time and continue to grow.

Staff recommended two conditions be placed on approval of the variance, including presenting the town with a satisfactory grading and drainage plan.

The second condition is a requirement for a limiting distance agreement to be registered on title of the adjacent properties in order to comply with the Ontario Building Code.

“When buildings are constructed close to the property lines, the building code requires these minimum distances based on their construction type to prevent the transfer of fire to adjacent structures,” Sawyer explained.

“The agreement is registered on title of the adjacent lands the relief encroaches onto, so that the current and future owners are aware of the constraints on the property, the affected property owners need to agree and consent to the agreement.”

The report states staff are satisfied the relief requested qualifies as a minor variance and recommend approval.

“It’s great to see you guys growing,” said deputy mayor Dave Turton.

“This is a huge building. There’s a lot of square footage there. I certainly hope you get it filled up and come to us for another one.”

“Yes, this is step one of a few steps down the road we hope,” replied Harriston Agromart general manager Shawn Miller.