Council Recap: Aug 14, 2019

This is the recap of the August 14, 2019 Middlesex Centre Council meeting. If you missed the preview you can read it here, and the preview for the public meeting regarding the official plan and zoning by-law amendment applications for a seniors apartment building near Komoka Rd and Glendon Dr here.

Council started at 17:00 and went straight into Closed Session. If I recall correctly, we rose out of Closed Session around 18:15.

Consent Agenda

Regarding dog licensing, the rationale from staff for this move is that ratepayers are already paying for the pickup of cats and other wildlife through property taxes, meanwhile dogs were singled out for fees. The hope is that with free registration, dog owners will be more apt to register their dogs and therefore the municipality will have a better idea of exactly how many dogs there are. This does not preclude the regulation of cats, especially given how many can be seen roaming our neighbourhoods at any given time, which staff are going to report back on in September or October.

The motion to reduce dog licensing to $0 was passed. I think you can look forward to staff and Council working to find ways to incentivize registration, regardless of the cost reduction. Like a census, knowing there are X number of dogs can lead to the municipality justifying services for dog owners, like an off-leash dog park.

All other items in the Consent Agenda were also approved/passed.

Staff Reports

  • Council approved maintaining in-house snow removal for municipal facilities like arenas and community centres.
  • Regarding the Middlesex Centre Regional Medical Centre’s request to write off the municipal portion of back taxes owing, the following motion was approved:
    • That staff is directed to write a letter to the chair of the medical centre board that the request for a write off of past property taxes was denied;
    • AND THAT council approves removing the green roof at the medical centre at the request of the doctors at a cost to the Municipality of $5,400 plus HST;
    • AND FURTHER THAT council directs staff with the assistance of legal counsel to negotiate a new lease for the medical centre and pharmacy;
    • AND FURTHER THAT Council supports staff to work with legal counsel and proceed with an appeal to the superior court;
    • AND FURTHER THAT Council will review and support a change to the structure of the medical centre board as proposed and recommended by the medical centre board.
  • That last two items are necessary for the medical centre to be structured the same way the Southwest Middlesex clinic in Mt. Brydges is, meaning they would be designated an educational institution and their property tax rate going forward would be substantially modified and reduced.
  • Regarding the Fire Prevention & Training Officer service agreement with North Middlesex, a modified motion was approved, that being:
    • THAT the fire prevention and training officer service agreement is approved;
    • AND THAT the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer be authorized to sign prior to the fire prevention & training officer is hired.

Public Meetings

The first five items were dealt with relatively quickly. No major issues arose and all the recommended motions were approved.

And then we came to OPA 46 & ZBA-20-19, applied for by 1571145 Ontario Ltd. (Powell) and pertaining to 22447 Komoka Rd. You know, this one. 🙂

Here are the comments made by the paraphrased comments made by the public:

  • Rob Jonkhans
    • Suspicious of timing regarding application. It’s summer time, lots of people on vacation or otherwise occupied.
    • Lots of questions that need to be answered regarding the need for this development, soil in the ground, and others. (I didn’t catch them all, sorry).
  • Don DeJong
    • Already have similar building ready to go down the road (at Kilworth Heights West); will also serve seniors/retirees
    • Tridon has put lots of time and money in to that existing development
    • This site before us this evening may not actually support two buildings; more testing needed
  • Paul Houghton
    • Concept drawings are not accurate (true, but not really a concern for an OPA or ZBA application)
    • Why does Nov. 2018 report say 112 units vs. latest application says 152 units?
    • How many apartments are there projected in Middlesex Centre’s official plan?
      • My response: A cursory glance does not show projections for what types of units will be built, only how many.
      • The official plan listed 5,788 residential units in 2011, with projections of:
        • 7,015 units in 2021
        • 7,643 units in 2026
        • 8,270 units in 2031
    • He raised some other questions that I didn’t get a chance to write down as well. The full meeting minutes, once available, should have these.
  • Bryan Snyder
    • I (Bryan) had to do hydrogeological testing, geotechnical studies, etc. on my lands. Powell should have to do the same.
    • How much of this pond was filled in when Bella Lago was constructed?
  • Jane Campbell
    • Doesn’t support the application
    • Stormwater management (SWM) concerns
    • Why re-zone now?
  • Jim Graham
    • Why wasn’t this applied to be re-zoned residential during the last Official Plan review?
    • SWM concerns
    • Had to cut unengineered hole in my berm because Powell land couldn’t handle the incoming water, and it could flood upstream homes (as per former Director of Public Works & Engineering)
    • MXC should implement the SWM master plan (SWMMP) first, then can make a decision regarding these applications
  • Rick Dykstra, Dillon Consulting
    • Applicant’s report admits it’s a SWM site (report by LDS Consultants) so it cannot be developed
    • Last SWMMP public information centre (PIC) showed this site as preferred option
    • Same report says water levels vary widely
    • In 2015, Upper Thames Regional Conservation Authority (UTRCA) raised concerns regarding water levels in Komoka
  • Richard Zelinka, Zelinka Priamo
    • This is a significant official plan change
    • OP doesn’t talk about housing on Parks & Recreation land
    • Designated as P&R because it handles stormwater
    • Lands are incapable of handling existing stormwater and snow melt
    • OP secondary plan (for Komoka and Kilworth) calls for multi-unit dwellings near Village Centre (Wellness Centre area)
    • OP review is when you consider big changes (like this one)
  • Margaret Gelinas
    • Not happy that Powell pond takes municipal untreated water, environmental impact
    • Creating another development in area currently zoned as Parks & Recreation is wrong!
    • Need more green spaces in Komoka, not pavement. Vote to not change the zoning and leave it as is.
  • Ms. Longworth (didn’t catch her first name)
    • Middlesex Centre just ranked very well on Maclean’s list of places to live in Canada
    • Consider the aesthetics (again, not something that’s reviewed during an OPA or ZBA application)
  • Gary Bishop
    • Traffic on Komoka Rd is already congested; getting very hard to back out of my driveway at times.

It didn’t look like anyone else had something to say at this time, so it was Council’s turn. I raised my hand and said the following:

  • The proposed official plan amendment does not meet, in my opinion, the standards set out by items 1.7c, 1.7f, 1.7l, or 5.1.4b of the Official Plan.
  • We are well ahead of our goals of having 3 years of draft approved or registered subdivisions, and 10 years of land designated for residential development as per items 5.2.1c and 5.2.1d of the Official Plan.
  • The OP always comes back to this phrase of considering the “traditional or historic form of existing settlement areas.”
  • Are these apartments for rental or purchase? If they are for purchase, will the applicant ensure that 10% of the units are affordable as per the benchmark set in 5.2.1g?
  • I would argue that 5-storey buildings aren’t compatible with the adjacent densities, as per items 5.2.3b, and the open space may be required for stormwater management, so its premature to say that items 5.2.3a has been satisfied.
  • 3-storey buildings, possibly three of them if needed would add gentle density while still allowing for plenty of open space depending on the results of the SWMMP. It’s premature to make any decisions at this time.
  • The applicant should come to Council with a ZBA that incorporates something to ensure these apartments are, in fact, restricted to seniors. The current ZBA proposed doesn’t do that.

Just as the public meeting was about to end, a gentleman named Ray Fournier asked to speak. Mayor DeViet allowed him to do so and all he wanted to say was that he wasn’t okay with settling for smaller buildings. The motion to receive the comments for information was passed.

Notice of Motion

Councillor Scott’s motion for staff to “bring back an information report along with a recommendation regarding the possible installation of yellow supervised school crossing signage at Longwoods and Springer/Victoria Streets in Delaware at the September 11, 2019 Council meeting for Council’s consideration” was passed.

In correspondence there is an item from the province regarding possible changes to the Provincial Policy Statement. I’ll be reviewing those in detail.

And that was it! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please let me know.