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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Council notes for Monday, June 19, 2023

by Sylene Argent

Subdivision Development Agreement entered for Phase 2 of Sunset Gardens

Essex Council passed By-Law 2250 to enter into a Subdivision Development Agreement for phase 2 of the Sunset Gardens Residential Development between Castle Gate Towers Inc. and the Corporation of the Town of Essex.

Sunset Gardens Residential Development is located in Harrow.

The Report to Council notes on April 28, 2023, the Manager of Planning Services for the County of Essex issued a letter of Draft Plan Approval for this residential subdivision.

The approval applies to the Draft Plan of Subdivision dated November 11, 2022 for the development of 59 lots for single-detached residential units; one block as a stormwater management facility (pond); three blocks for a temporary cul-de-sac; and one block for a road reserve.

The owner will have three-years from the date of Draft Plan Approval to satisfy all conditions imposed by the County of Essex.

The Report adds that in 2023, all residential Development Charges in the Harrow Primary Settlement Area are waived at a rate of fifty percent.

Councillor Rodney Hammond spoke of concerns of stormwater removal for properties that abut farmland. When there is significant rain, there are complaints of flooding.

Director of Infrastructure Services, Kevin Girard, explained a Stormwater Management Plan has been conducted for the property. That plan was reviewed by the Town of Essex, and staff is comfortable water will be retained and stormwater management flow will be controlled in accordance with the regional guideline.

Councillor Jason Matyi noted this plan includes all single-detached dwellings, and wondered if any thought was given to more intensification.

Principal Planner with Baird AE, Bryan Pearce, noted that was thought about. There is demand for single-detached buildings. He noted there are opportunities to intensify through secondary dwelling units.

Part Lot Control Exemption By-Law for Phase 1 of Greenleaf Trails approved

Council approved By-Law Number 2248 to provide Part Lot Control Exemption for Phase 1 of the Greenleaf Trails Residential Subdivision in Harrow.

This is a planning tool used to subdivide the subdivision of townhomes or semi-detached blocks into individual lots, Director of Planning Services, Lori Chadwick, said. This facilitates the sale of the individual lots, once construction is complete.

On August 24, 2020, Town of Essex Council approved By-Law Number 1935, which granted Part Lot Control Exemption for a period of three-years for certain blocks to allow for the sale of individual dwelling lots within the subdivision.

The Report to Council notes By-Law Number 1935 will expire on August 24, 2023. Due to a delay in completing servicing works, the proponent - Dall Bona Estates INC - requested an extension of Part Lot Control Exemption for an additional three-years to facilitate the sale of the remaining lots.

Town of Essex Heritage Farm Program presented

Council received information regarding the Town of Essex’s Heritage Farm program.

On average, Ontario is losing the equivalent of nine-family farms per week, mainly due to urban sprawl and new housing developments, Director of Planning Services, Lori Chadwick, said.

“Long-Term stewardship of agricultural land is an important element of our local history. Our Essex Municipal Heritage Committee has recognized this trend,” Chadwick said, and members have worked with the Planning Division and Manager of Planning, Rita Jabbour, to develop a Heritage Farm Program to recognize farmlands managed for generations by the same family.

The program is application-based. Lands must be actively used for agricultural purposes. Lineage can be traced matrilineal or patrilineal.

Successful applicants will receive a sign from the Town, which will identify the lands as a heritage farm. It will have a QR code, directing users to a webpage that will outline the program and a short history of the farm.

Essex Fire follows-up with Concession Road 7 naming concerns

At the April 3 meeting, Council heard from Rodney Ferriss, a resident of County Road 20, who requested the name of Concession Road 7 in the Town of Essex be changed.

He also wanted his County Road 20 address be redirected to Concession Road 7, after it is renamed. His nearly triangular-shaped property is surrounded by County Road 20, Concession Road 7, and the 4th Concession Road.

He said at that meeting that mapping apps, in addition to administration for the County and local municipalities, have no idea where his address is.

It was determined the road did have two names, Malden-Colchester Townline (Town of Essex GIS System) and Concession Road 7.

Council directed Administration at this previous meeting to investigate the situation and return with a report with a recommendation on how to address the matter.

On Monday evening, Essex Fire Chief Rick Arnel reported back to Council on the matter, after reviewing the situation.

He said Essex Fire approached emergency service partners and conducted a test to confirm they could respond to the correct address in the event of an emergency. All three agencies were able to locate the address.

He recommended Council authorize the Malden-Colchester Townline Road remains as the name of the road; direct Administration to approach Google Maps and Apple Maps to request the removal of Concession Road 7 from the mapping service and update it with Malden-Colchester Townline Road; and direct Administration to install proper road name signage.

Council moved the recommendations.

Construction down 82.9% comparing May 2023 to 2022

Council received the Economic Development Overview for the month of May.

The Report noted the total construction value for May 2023 – including all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit – was $11,402,500.

This was down 82.9 percent when comparing May 2023 to May 2022.

The Report also highlights the average sale price for a home in Wards 1 and 2 in May was $576,911, which was similar to the $578,815 reported in May of 2022. The average sale price for a home in Wards 3 and 4 in May was $472,042, which was lower than the $528,936 recorded in May of 2022.

Essex Centre business support initiatives approved

Council approved the expenditure of $4,500 from the Council Contingency Fund to support business promotion initiatives as the Essex Centre Streetscape takes place.

Overall, the action initiative recommendations totaled over $20,000.

At the June 5 Council meeting, Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy raised a Notice of Motion, asking Administration to find ways to promote the businesses in Ward 1 during the Essex Streetscape and Victoria Avenue Project construction.

After conversation on the matter, Administration was to come up with costs associated with some of the suggestions made and provide that information to Council at the future meeting, in addition to where the funds could come from.

Those suggestions included supports for businesses be listed on the Town website, where municipal parking is available to be included in ads to aid visitors, and additional signage to municipal parking be installed from Councillor Katie McGuire-Blais, and implement a direct-to-home campaign to urge residents to shop and support businesses from Councillor Joe Garon.

Nelson Silveira, Economic Development Officer, provided Council with recommended action items.

The Report notes custom double-sided feather signs that would identify municipal parking areas cost: $1,500. Printed 6x12 double-sided postcard encouraging residents to shop local and highlighting public parking areas to nearly 7,000 mailing addresses would cost $3,000.

Four bi-weekly half-page “Shop Local” advertisements would cost: $2,000. An eight-week “Shop Local” billboard campaign at Highway 3 locations would cost $2,250. An eight-week targeted “Shop Local” Campaign on social media and to retain social media influencer to promote Downtown Essex Centre would cost $2,000.

Administration also recommended reopening an application intake which would include five Façade Improvement Mini-Grants for eligible commercial property owners in the Essex Centre Streetscape Project area. The Façade Improvement Mini- Grant would provide a 100 percent non-repayable refurbishing grant amount of up to $2,000 for projects that fit the set criteria.

In total, all recommendations would cost $20,750. It was suggested $4,500 come from the Council Contingency Fund, and $16,250 come from the Businesses Retention and Expansion Action Plan Funding.

Doing the extra work is beneficial to the small businesses in the downtown area, McGuire-Blais said, adding she heard from some of the small businesses that they were grateful for the effort.

Councillor Kim Verbeek noted the mail out is expensive, and suggested perhaps the Essex Centre BIA could provide an incentive for shoppers in relation to it. She asked that the BIA be asked if they want to do anything with that.

Improvements to South Talbot/Reed delayed

Council directed Administration to refrain from making any improvements to the intersection of South Talbot Road and Reed Street, with such improvements being reconsidered when the intersection of Maidstone Avenue and South Talbot Road improvements occur.

Council also directed Administration to prepare a draft a by-law to erect stop signs for the creation of an all-way stop at the intersection of South Talbot Road and Reed Street to legalize the three-way stop that was implemented as a temporary measure.

In the Report to Council, it notes Administration determined the radius in the roadway was too small for through traffic and the current posted speed limit was causing issues for traffic on South Talbot Road to safely traverse the bend. In addition, the new connection and traffic from Reed Street was causing some driver confusion, due to the orientation of the bend. A temporary three-way stop was created at South Talbot and Reed Street.

In the 2023 Budget, $50,000 was approved for improvements to the South Talbot and Reed Street intersection. Admin learned the cost was $90,000.

Based on the results of the pricing received, and that future roadway upgrades will be occurring at the nearby intersection, Administration is recommending that this project be cancelled, and the radius improvements included in the design for the Maidstone Avenue and South Talbot Intersection Improvements be included in a future budget request.

Administration also recommended leaving the three-way stop at South Talbot and Reed Street until the Maidstone and South Talbot intersection improvements are completed.

Councillor Katie McGuire-Blais did not like cancelling the project because it is over budget. This affects hundreds of people on a daily basis She believes this needs to be improved and the Town needs to figure out how to make that work.

The intent, Director of Infrastructure, Kevin Girard, noted is to have the improvements implemented along with the improvements to Maidstone Avenue and South Talbot.

The Report notes a Traffic Impact Study for the area was completed in February of 2022. This study identified the need for improvements to the South Talbot Road and Maidstone Avenue intersection, including a dual left turn lane onto Maidstone Avenue from South Talbot Road. Discussions between the Town of Essex and the County of Essex have begun to initiate the preliminary works for these improvements.

Girard added the County and the Town of Essex agreed to make the request to undertake the preliminary engineering on the intersection to each Council, and to each include that in the 2024 Budget request.

Councillor Joe Garon believes the intersection needs to be revamped, and believes it will worsen when the new Home Hardware opens and garners more traffic in that area. Under the circumstances, he believed he had to support the recommendations, as if there is a plan with the County and it can be started sooner rather than later.

Council notes for Monday, June 19 will be continued in the June 29 edition of the Essex Free Press.


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