Essex Council notes for Monday, June 3

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault


Hanlan Street extension gets approval

Council received a presentation from Steve Taylor, the President of BT Engineering, regarding an environmental assessment report of a proposal to extend and connect Hanlan Street South to the Gosfield Townline. This is part of a proposed residential development that would have single and multi-residential units built along the Hanlan extension, and several new residential streets that would be located north from that proposed extension.

  The report follows several public consultations and considerations, such as study design, archeology, cultural heritage, natural environment, and analysis and evaluation.

  From these steps, BT Engineering has put forth a Recommended Plan for the development, which would have the Hanlan Street extension with multi-use trails on both sides, as well as designated school bus drop off zones and safety considerations -such as a traversable median in the area near Holy Name Elementary School.

  A motion carried that had Council endorse the recommended plan and directed Administration through BT Engineering to proceed with a 30-day public review process, where members of the public will have an opportunity to object or comment on the proposed development.


Former Harrow Jr. School property enters into Development Agreement

Essex Council received a Planning Report Town Policy Planner, Jeff Watson, prepared regarding the recent approval of the rezoning of the former Harrow Jr. School from institutional to residential, which would allow the construction of single or semi-attached dwellings.

  With this change, Bylaw 1825 was put forward and approved, which authorizes the execution of a development agreement between the former school property and 2484775 Ontario Incorporated.

  Storm water management and the provision of sanitary and water services, and additional utilities, are addressed in the agreement between the parties and will be put in place with municipal approval.

  Although no construction date has been determined as of yet, it is anticipated that the project would begin later this summer, once a servicing plan is in place.


TWEPI reviews 2018, discusses plans for 2019

Essex Council received a presentation from Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI). Orr spoke of the highlights of 2018 and shared areas of focus for 2019.

  The meeting was part of the organization’s commitment to update local dignitaries on the tourism industry, which he said is a major economic generator in the area. Similar presentations will be made to other area Councils as well during the month of June, which is tourism month.

  In 2018, TWEPI hosted its annual Best of Windsor-Essex Awards, received a few awards for its work, and shared information about its newer marketing campaign “Where Can We Take You?”

  “Our regional approach to tourism is really working,” Orr said. “Tourism here does matter. It is a job creator and economic generator.”

  Last year, members of TWEPI staff attend consumer shows. TWEPI is also working to help promote the upcoming Explore the Shore event.

  In 2019, TWEPI will have fishing and cycling guides.

  He also presented the 2019/2020 Visitor’s Guide, of which 85,000 copies are printed and distributed.

  Orr thanked Council for recognizing the importance of tourism and for its support.

  Councillor Kim Verbeek thanked TWEPI for all it does and said it has really upped its game.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy hoped to work with TWEPI on wayfinding in the future.


Council looks to protect local monarch butterfly population

Essex Council received a public presentation from Leo Silvestri, of the Monarch Butterfly Enthusiasts of Windsor and Essex County, regarding its concerns of declining monarch butterfly numbers in our region. He asked Council to consider taking steps to ensure their future survival, such as the creation of butterfly pollinator gardens in municipal parks.

  Citing the decline of milkweed in the region, one of the monarch butterfly’s primary food sources, as one of the main reasons contributing to the ongoing challenges faced by the monarch population in Essex County, Silvestri explained that efforts to reintroduce the plant could go a long way in supporting the improvement of the proliferation of the species.

  “It doesn’t have to be a fancy garden,” Silvestri explained of his proposed milkweed reintroduction. “The main reason for this, even though the monarchs are into the billions at this point, there’s always a chance we could lose them due to a lack of milkweed across North America. “Only one to three percent of the eggs of the monarch butterfly will make it to adulthood.”

  Mayor Snively put his support behind the idea, suggesting that a milkweed program could be implemented at little cost, and could make an impact in protecting the local environment and ecosystem.

  “I think it’s well worth it. I don’t think we’re looking at a big, big cost here,” Snively said. “It’s our future. This is something that we have to address going forward, so I support [Silvestri] one hundred percent.”

  A motion was passed that directed administration to explore areas where milkweed gardens could be supported on municipal land.


Sign Bylaw revision for 103 King Street postponed

Essex Council received Planning Report “Sign Bylaw revision for 103 King Street, Harrow,” however, further discussion on a possible amendment to the Town of Essex sign bylaw to permit the erection of a billboard sign at 103 King Street was postponed to the first meeting in July.

  The purpose of postponing the file was to allow the Harrow & Colchester South Chamber of Commerce members a chance to discuss the pros and cons of this request.

  The Planning Department recommended not allowing the billboard, or at least cautioned Council as to the report to Council noted the Town of Essex sign bylaw, Bylaw 1350, prohibits the erection of a billboard sign in the settlement areas (Essex Centre, Harrow, Colchester, McGregor, and Gesto).

  If in support of the application, Council could provide permission by way of adoption of an amending bylaw.

  The billboards, the Report to Council notes, are considered to be off-site advertising signs, unrelated to the property upon which they are located.

  Billboards are permitted exclusively by bylaw approval of Council. Council has approved 10 billboard signs in agricultural districts, but this is the first such application in one of our urban centers.

  Planning is concerned about the precedent this sets for local urban areas. Other similar initiatives have been discouraged, it notes in the report.

  Applicant Jerome Parent made the request for the erection of a billboard sign. Parent’s company owns the building.

  The proposed sign is around 10’x10.’ It is planned to have a decorative frame and be erected on the west side of the building on the second floor. It would be used for general business advertising and the applicant hopes that it would be used by local businesses and to advertise local events.

  Parent also wants the flexibility to have approval to place multiple signs on the panel at the same time.

  In the letter Parent sent to Council, it notes the purpose of the billboard would be to improve exposure to area destinations. The signs would be interchangeable. During the meeting, he said this would help promote tourism and would be geared toward entertainment and beds and breakfasts.

  He noticed Harrow has always been at the same place commercially as it is tough to rent space. He hopes the sign would attract pedestrian traffic as well and encourage people to want to get out of their vehicles and walk-around.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said in a time of changing media, more billboards may be needed to help businesses advertise.

  “I think we really need this,” he said.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman asked how he could control who would advertise there. He wondered if there was a way he could legally control what would be advertised on the billboard.

  Parent said he is willing to do a few free signs in the beginning to kick it off.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said she was not in a position to make a decision that meeting. As the Council rep on the Harrow Chamber, she wondered if Council said “yes” to this, how it would say “no” in the future? She said there are signs in the municipality that don’t look great and there is not much Council could do about them.

  “To me it is a really big file. To me, we are not just talking about you, we are taking about all businesses,” Bondy told Parent.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said he liked the concept.

  Watson said the Chamber should have some say as to whether or not the billboard should be erected and if it would have value in town.

  If approved, he wondered where Council would draw the line in the future.  


Delegation of Approval Authority

Essex Council received Planning Report “Delegation of Approval Authority” and moved to advise the Warden for the County of Essex that the Town of Essex is requesting delegation of approval authority for plans of subdivision and condominium and part lot control exemption.

  The Report to Council noted the approval of plans of subdivision and condominium and part lot control exemption is a complex process involving primarily the local municipality, the County, and various agencies, such as ERCA.

  Draft plan approval of plans of subdivision and condominium and the granting of part lot control exemption is delegated to the County and the ultimate responsibility of the Manager of Planning Services (MPS) for the County, with the part-time assistance of the former manager. All County municipalities follow the same administrative protocol with regard to the development of subdivisions, condominium projects, and part lot control exemption.

  In the report, it noted that in recent years, development pressures regionally have placed an administrative burden on the local municipal administrations and on the County.

The report also highlights the Province has introduced Bills 107 and 108, with the specific goals of streamlining the approval process for land development.

Delegating the approval authority to the Town of Essex would remove one layer of bureaucracy in the approval process, saving time and staff resources at the two levels and reducing time and costs to housing developers.

  Each municipality, the report adds, would still be bound by the mandates of the County Official Plan and their local OP. The Manager of Planning Services would continue to receive notice of the proposed development and would work in an advisory capacity with the municipality, the County departments, and all other affected agencies.

  The County would also still have the right of appeal.

  After the letter to the Warden is sent, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing would then examine the request.

  Policy Planner Jeff Watson said Windsor, for instance, is a single-tier government and administers such projects on its own. He said Essex is part of a two-tier government, which means there are two levels of government looking at the same thing. The question is if two-tiers of government need look at these files.

The letter to the Warden and the Ministry would look for direction.

“What is wrong with us getting the delegation of authority?” Watson asked.

There are regional issues and they have to be handled at a regional level. Allowing Essex to be the delegated authority allows the County to focus more on those regional issues.

If we could get this approved, it would be great for our municipality, Mayor Larry Snively said. He and Watson suspect other municipalities would follow suit.


Council makes decision on Noah Homes Application  

Council received the Planning Department’s report “Rezoning application, Noah Homes (applicant).”

  Council also authorize the preparation of a rezoning bylaw to rezone the lands comprising Part of lot 12 on Second Range of Gore in Colchester South from A1.1, general agricultural, to R2.2, low density residential.

  In addition, Council agreed to the application’s request to increase the garage-width from 60 percent to 70 percent of the home’s frontage and that the minimum width of the side yard be 1.2 meters (subject to the regulation that no vehicular entrance to a garage shall be permitted on the garage wall facing the exterior side yard). It did not approve the request of reducing the front yard from 20 feet to 15 feet.

  A statutory public meeting was held on May 23 in Harrow to hear public opinion. Policy Planner, Jeff Watson, noted the property application includes 72 units of single and semi-detached dwellings, located at the south-end of the Harrow Settlement Area.

  The Planning Department recommended that the 70 percent garage-width to home-width ratio and a smaller front yard not be supported.

  “Builders build roads, but you build communities,” Jeff Watson said to Council.

  Councillor Morley Bowman cautioned on reductions as they can become the norm. Other Councillors, however, saw merit in offering this type of housing.


Support for the Mega Hospital location

Essex Council received and supported correspondence from the Town of Lakeshore. The letter notes at its meeting of May 21, the Council of the Town of Lakeshore duly passed a resolution to support placing any new regional hospital services in a location that serves the majority of the residents of Windsor-Essex County and supports moving forward with the proposed location for the new regional hospital, which will serve the region as a whole.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said she wants a new hospital and improvement to healthcare, and hopes this plan is it.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche explained the estimated cost for the new hospital, to his knowledge, will be around $2B. It is expected the region would pay 10 percent of that cost. He believes the County and Windsor are splitting that, with the city to take on a bit of a larger share. That means, the County has to invest $100M into the project.

  A 2 percent increased had been added to the Essex County tax levy to compensate for this cost and the County has been going low on other costs to compensate for that. He said by the time the Mega Hospital is built, the County will have the majority of its share paid off.


Council approves requests for tender for municipal vehicles

Council approved two requests for tender for a new pick-up truck, and a single axle plow truck cab and chassis (snow plow).

  Council awarded the pick-up truck request for tender to Ken Knapp Ford in the amount of amount of $46,258.06, including non-refundable sales tax.

  Council also approved the additional funding of $6,258.06 above the allocated 2019 Supply of Pick-Up Truck capital budget of $40,000 through utilizing current savings from the 2019 Capital Equipment budget projects PW-19-0041 Shop Lawnmower Replacement, and PW-19-0037 Roadside Mowing Tractor.

  Council awarded the single axle plow truck cab and chassis request for tender to Viking-Cives Ltd. in the amount of $123,430.80, including applicable taxes.

  The purchase of one Single Axle Plow Truck Cab and Chassis with Winter Control Equipment was approved in the 2019 Capital Budget.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • issuu