Apartment development proposal denied

Proposed site of a 30-unit apartment building with first floor commercial space. The application for rezoning was denied by South Dundas council at its May 25 meeting. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – Although the design of a 30-unit apartment building proposal in Morrisburg by Stefano Ferrante on County Road 2 land owned by Lloyd Wells has changed since South Dundas council first refused rezoning for the project in 2020, council’s opinion and decision has not.

At the May 25 meeting South Dundas council refused Ferrante’s application for rezoning as submitted.

This follows the recommendation of the municipality’s planning consultant.

Municipal planning consultant Erin Reed outlined the reasoning for the recommendation for refusal: “In our opinion a mixed-use building, containing commercial uses on the ground floor with 30 residential units on the above storeys is not suitable for the area as the area is industrial in nature,” she said.

“The proposed mixed-use development containing commercial uses on the ground floor and 30 residential units on the above floors would be introducing a sensitive and incompatible land use to the area.”

She went on to explain that the proposed mixed-use building, while it would be located within the Commercial District, immediately abuts the Employment District.

“The proposed mixed-use building is largely residential, a sensitive land use, which should be located away from employment and non-sensitive land uses,” she said. “Based upon our analysis of the application it does not appear that the proposal would be in conformity with the Official Plan.”

The planners and council largely agreed that the introduction of a sensitive land use to the area would impact existing uses by existing area businesses and potential development or redevelopment of the surrounding industrial lands.

Reed also said that in the planning consultant’s opinion, the proposal does not meet the consistency test in examining the Provincial Policy Statement which aims to protect employment lands from incompatible sensitive uses.

“The planning department acknowledges the need and support for the proposed mixed-use development; however, the proposed lot is not suitable for its location,” concluded Reid.

South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner said, “This is in the wrong spot. It will create a conflict of use.”

She went on to say that $1.5 million dollars of taxpayer money was invested in improvements to the Morrisburg industrial park and she wants to protect that investment so she agreed with the planner’s recommendation to refuse the zoning application.

“Commercial and residential do not mix,” said South Dundas councillor Donald Lewis.

“As much as we do need rental accommodations, this is not the right place for it,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds, agreeing with the planner’s recommendation for refusal. He added that too much has been invested in that industrial park to put up any roadblocks for its potential development.

Once again, South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan was the lone supporter of this development proposal.

“It may not be the ideal location, but there’s a need for affordable and available rental units and this proposal addresses that,” said Mellan.

South Dundas councillor Lloyd Wells did not participate in this portion of the meeting or vote on the matter because he declared conflict of interest as he is the property owner.

Now that council has refused the zoning application, it will be up to the developer to decide whether or not he will appeal the decision to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

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