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Council considers new Official Plan Feb. 10

Council will consider adopting a new Official Plan at a special meeting Feb. 10. The draft includes changes made due to comments received during the most recent round of public consultation.

The latest version of the draft Official Plan with changes displayed is posted for review on the County’s Have Your Say page. Updated maps and schedules are also posted for review.

A staff report included on the special meeting agenda summarizes the comments received during the most recent round of public consultation. The three main changes in this draft include reducing the number of severances per property from two to one, the elimination of country lot subdivisions within the County and replacing the undefined term of large-scale development within Natural Core Areas with the defined term of Major Development.

The Official Plan is to guide how The County will grow and develop over the next 25 years. The plan is a living document typically reviewed every five years.

The County is processing subdivision applications within Picton, Wellington, Consecon and Rossmore. These proposed subdivisions represent more than 1,500 residential units.

“There are challenges to bringing online all the proposed units (i.e. infrastructure), but
the volume and variety of units proposed is in keeping with the policy direction of the
draft OP and more in line with the provincial policy structure,” said Michael Michaud, manager of planning, in his report. “Despite the influx of these proposed units, it should be noted that it will take years for all the subdivisions to build out and the uptake in development will be dependent on the housing market. Monitoring this proposed growth is imperative so that with the next OP review, typically every five years, staff can properly inform council about growth metrics measured in population and employment growth.”

Michaud notes the official plan amalgamates a number of supporting documents such as Master Servicing Plans, Master Transportation Plan, Natural Heritage Plans, housing studies into its framework. It is not the Economic Development Plan, Tourism Plan, or Social Services Plan, albeit some aspects of these types of plans may be incorporated where and how land is used is relevant to the land use vision of the municipality.

He also notes the introduction of residential units in the rural area, via severance or country lot subdivisions, introduces more and more potential conflicts with the agricultural community i.e. complaints over noise and odour.

“The introduction of more housing also limits farm expansion opportunities as provincially
mandated minimum separation distance (MDS) issues can occur. Another significant factor about developing within the rural area is competition for water. It is a well-known fact that the lands within the County do not bear a significant quantity of water. The introduction of more housing on an already scarce resource pits new development against existing development. At what point is the land unable to support the demands placed upon it by business, farming and housing within the rural area?”

He says council should also be cognizant of the face there are currently more than 510 vacant parcels greater than 0.8ha in size within the rural designation.

“Based on the historical development of residential lots in the rural area, this represents 10 years of municipal growth. Given this amount of growth potential within the rural area, the ministry could now question why the County’s settlement boundaries are so big and
perhaps ask that the boundaries be reviewed and possibly reduced to reflect the PPS
requirement for the County having enough developable lands for the next 25 years.
Given the sheer volume of vacant land one might ask the question if any severances
are required at this time?”

The meeting will be conducted virtually due to COVID-19 protocols on the County’s YouTube channel. Members of the public who wish to provide comments during the virtual meeting can do so by contacting by noon on Tuesday, Feb. 9 to register.

If approved by Council, the draft Official Plan will be sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) for final approval. Transition policies allow for planning applications deemed complete in advance of ministry approval of the new Official Plan to be reviewed under the current plan.

Planning staff is recommending to council that the municipality institute a two-year moratorium on any Official Plan amendments once MMAH approves the new Official Plan.

The meeting is set for Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 6 pm.

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  1. angela says:

    Will police and fire protection be adequate if these proposed developments proceed? How can these newcomers find doctors? How can our hospital serve so many more residents? If young families are drawn to the county will there be enough space in our classrooms? Pinecrest and QE have been closed.

  2. Gary says:

    There are further rate increases scheduled and infrastructure upgrades.

  3. Sharon Mulridge says:

    What sort of plan is in place for the water and sewage department in Picton with the proposed developments and new buildings The water and sewage rates are already outrageous with the taxpayers still paying for the previous upgrade. Are there more expansions required in the near future? Will Picton end up with water pressure problems as Wellington has at the moment?

  4. SM says:

    In this article the manager of Planning, Michael Michaud says:”council should also be cognizant of the face there are currently more than 510 vacant parcels greater than 0.8ha in size within the rural designation. Based on the historical development of residential lots in the rural area, this represents 10 years of municipal growth.” Not sure how that should be interpreted, but if 510 units equals 10 years of municipal growth in all of the County’s municipal areas, then how long can we expect the slightly over 2500 units in Wellington alone to be constructed. It is a significant question as it is this number of units that the consultant used to establish the proposed development charge rate for the proposed Wellington water system expansion. Keep in mind that Wellington is not the only urban area expecting new housing projects.

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