by Marie Williams-Gagnon, Transcript and Free Press, August 2009
Southwest Middlesex council considered, at its June 24 planning meeting, an application for permission to establish a welding and fabrication business in an existing building, formerly known as Dave Lutchin Tire, on lands zoned for future residential purposes. The lands on Hagerty Rd., north of Longwoods Rd., has a frontage of 300 ft. m and an area of approximately 22.5 acres. A small single unit dwelling and shop are situated on the parcel.
Planner Ted Halwa explained that the lands are zoned, for the most part, Future Residential (FR) in the Wardsville zoning bylaw. The frontage of the lands along Hagerty Rd. are zoned Residential First Density (R1). The proposed use of the property is not a permitted use in either zone. Halwa added that the potential for conflicts with neighbouring residential properties would increase despite the fact that the building is well removed and generally isolated from neighbouring homes. Correspondence was received from neighbouring property owners.
Photographs were circulated of the location where Arnold presently operates his business in Komoka. Benjamin explained that the property Arnold presently shares with other tenants in Komoka, which is littered with equipment and scrap, is the reason he is hoping to leave that site. She explained that they hope to operate the business in Wardsville for a short period of time until retirement at which time they’d like to develop the property for residential development. Gary Merritt, solicitor for the vendor, said that there would not much different from the amount of noise from Veltri or Cooper Standard which both have homes nearby.
David Maika, representing the purchasers as their realtor, said the couple is looking at bringing employment to five or six workers who are nearby. “With plants closing in Southwest Middlesex, this would be a good thing for Wardsville.”
Councillor Mary Jane Grover expressed concern that Arnold would retire, wondering who would take over business or would those five or six people be out of work again.
Councillor Martin Vink asked where else in Wardsville a business owner could put a commercial business. “Is there no industrial zoning in Wardsville?” Halwa said there is not but that there is commercial and industrial zoning in other areas of Southwest Middlesex.” Vink added that the property once housed a wrecking yard at which time there would have been quite a bit of noise. Halwa explained that the wrecking yard which predated the tire shop predated zoning regulations. Vink stressed that with sewer rates going up in Wardsville there is a need for growth in Wardsville. “We need someone to ignite it.”
Bill Arnold responded to questions about the future of the business, explaining that presently they are apprenticing young people. “I hope they will take the business over but I won’t retire until I’m 75 or 80.”
Deputy mayor Vance Blackmore asked what safeguards the municipality could build in so the property doesn’t become a storage area for equipment. Halwa said that they would need to ensure that any sort of breeches would be built in.
Councillor John Kendall agreed that there are various factories around Glencoe that don’t create trouble but there’s very little residential property next to these buildings. “It’s a totally different category but we’ve recommended this area be future residential. If we allow this business, we have no limitations in the future.”
Reycraft said that, rather than comparing the business to Veltri or Cooper Standard, he would compare it to Ross Welding which operates in a predominantly residential area. “I don’t ever recall receiving complaint about it and I’m not convinced that this kind of use can’t co-exist. The property Ross Welding sits on is industrial but this property we’re discussing was zoned residential in the 1970s when it was Wardsville’s wish that the property would be zoned residential. The question is when should action on the intent of the Official Plan come forward? A temporary use bylaw possible which could be middle ground.”
After further discussion about storage of equipment and limitations on hours of business, which Arnold agreed to, he said that within a 10-year time frame, he would like to see 60 houses on the property. They agreed that they would be willing to accept a 10 year limit to the operation of the business. In a recorded vote, council unanimously moved to refer the issue back to the planner to see if conditions can be arranged if the application is supported.