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Request for three month extension of freeze on development in Wellington

UPDATE JUNE 22: Council agreed to defer the motion to staff to assess policy changes and verify the need to extend the interim control bylaw. Council wishes to hear the report before Aug. 17 as the last day to allow an extension would be Sept. 22.

JUNE 10: Council is being asked to extend the current development freeze in Wellington by three months past its planned expiration in September to allow for secondary plan amendment approvals, review and further public consultation.

While agreement was reached (with some concerns about developers in limbo while they await the end of the freeze), during Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, the official decision would be made at council’s next regular meeting.

Councillor Mike Harper also seeks language that would direct any more hotel/motel style development off the Main Street, noting residents are at their breaking point with current activity.

The interim control bylaw (ICBL) that halts new development in un-serviced areas of Wellington, was put in place in Sept. 2020, while the municipality reviewed land use policies, new municipal servicing proposals and expected residential growth.

The explosion of development under way, and proposed in Wellington, has created planning and infrastructure challenges within the village.

The Wellington Secondary Plan review aims to bring multiple municipal plans and documents into alignment to plan for Wellington’s growth, water and wastewater servicing, land-use and heritage conservation.

“In response to the ICBL, staff have undertaken a review of the Wellington Urban Centre Secondary Plan, reviewing local planning documents and the Wellington Master Servicing Plan. As well, staff have considered the Wellington Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Study, the Wellington Development Charges Study, the Water and Wastewater Rate Study, and the Transportation/Cycling Plan to inform any Secondary Plan updates,” said Cristal Laanstra, Planning Co-ordinator, in her report to Committee of the Whole, meeting Thursday afternoon.

She noted comments from a public consulation session May 12 centred on growth, design and compatibility with the existing village, employment lands, commercial development and transporation options with specific focus on reducing traffic flow.

“If current residential growth continues for the next 20 years it will outpace the growth scenarios that were outlined in the Secondary Plan; while these scenarios are not targets and were not designed to be such, policies are being reviewed to consider what types of control could be placed on the lands to control the pace of development, if at all.”

“The impacts of growth can be mitigated with effective design and consideration of the compatibility of new development with the existing village.

Proposed secondary plan amendments, she said, are expected to be prepared by month end. Further public consultation through the Have Your Say platform is to continue throughout July, with final recommendations before council by the end of August or beginning of September.

“This workplan will outline the secondary plan updates that will be required. Should council support the recommendation in September, staff would complete legislated requirements to support the Planning Act amendments, throughout fall of 2021,” said Laanstra. “Under this proposed timeline, the secondary plan amendments will be recommended before the expiry of the ICBL; however, they will not be implemented. Staff recommend an extension of the ICBL until Dec. 31, 2021. It is important to note that the Planning Act allows for an extension of the ICBL to support the study review work.”

Under the Planning Act, an ICBL can be in place for up to two years.

Filed Under: Local News

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