1. OFFICIAL PLAN AMENDMENT - 375 MACLARENS SIDE ROAD
PLAN OFFICIEL - 375, CHEMIN SECONDAIRE MACLARENS
That Council approve an amendment to the Official Plan of the former Township of West Carleton to change the land use designation of 375 MacLarens Side Road from Agriculture Resource to General Rural Area as shown in Document 1.
Recommandation MODIFIÉE du comitÉ
Que le Conseil municipal approuve une modification au Plan officiel de l'ancien Canton de West Carleton qui aurait pour effet de faire passer la désignation de la propriété située au 375, chemin secondaire MacLarens de Zone de ressources agricoles à Zone rurale générale.
1. A/Deputy City Manager, Planning and Growth Management report dated 28 June 2006 (ACS2006-PGM-APR-0018).
2. Extract of Draft Minutes 31, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee meeting of August 24, 2006.
That the recommend Council refuse an amendment to the Official Plan of the former Township of West Carleton to change the land use designation of 375 MacLarens Side Road from Agriculture Resource to General Rural Area as shown in Document 1.
RECOMMANDATION DU RAPPORT
Que le Comité de l'agriculture et des questions rurales recommande au Conseil de refuser d'apporter une modification au Plan officiel de l'ancien Canton de West Carleton qui aurait pour effet de faire passer la désignation de la propriété située au 375, chemin secondaire MacLarens de Zone de ressources agricoles à Zone rurale générale.
The lands at 375 MacLarens Side Road are bounded by MacLarens Side Road to the north, on the west by Torbolton Ridge Road, on the east by Woodkilton Road and to the south by a mix of active farmlands and woodlots (see Document 1). A mix of permanent and cottage type residential units can also be found along the north side of MacLarens Side Road and along portions of the east side of Woodkilton Road.
The subject property consists of a mix of woodlots, stream courses, rock outcrops and agricultural land uses. The western edge of the subject lands along Torbolton Ridge Road represent the highest elevation of the property. At this elevation the lands are comprised of wooded pasture and two, separated, cropped fields. This upper portion of the subject lands ends abruptly at a steep drop (escarpment) into an open area, which is used as an unimproved pasture.
The applicant’s total land holding comprises an area of approximately 113.2 hectares. Current land uses on the property represent a mix of woodlots and agricultural land uses.
In March of 2005 the property owner of 375 MacLarens Side Road and his consultant met with City staff to review the submission requirements for an Official Plan Amendment. A proposal was outlined to redesignate a portion of the subject lands from agriculture to a designation that would support a future country estate lot development.
Shortly after meeting with City staff the owner’s consultant submitted a request to amend the City’s Official Plan from “Agricultural Resource Area to General Rural Area”. Accompanying the application was a Planning Rationale Report and a Soil Survey and Canada Land Inventory Classification Report.
The lands are designated “Agricultural Resource Area” in the City Council Approved Official Plan and in the former Region of Ottawa-Carleton Official Plan and the Township of West Carleton Official Plan. The owner has indicated that a plan of subdivision and Zoning By-law amendment for the lands will be submitted to the City should the Official Plan Amendment be approved. The applicant proposes to redesignate approximately 40.7 hectares of the 113.2 hectares from “Agricultural Resource to General Rural Area”.
The City Council Approved Official Plan set out criteria that must be satisfied when considering amendments to the Official Plan. In addition, amendments to an Official Plan shall be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statements. These criteria are provided below.
Section 5.2.2 of the City Council Approved Official Plan states;
1. When considering amendments to this Plan, the City will have regard to, among other things, the following criteria:
a) The impact of the proposed change on the achievement of the policies expressed in this Plan;
b) The effect of the proposed change on neighbouring communities;
c) The effect of the proposed change on the need for water, wastewater and transportation services;
2. When considering amendments that affect the use of a specific site or sites, the City will also consider whether there is a need to add the site or sites to the lands already designated for the proposed use.
The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) states:
“Prime agricultural areas shall be protected for long-term use for agriculture. Prime agricultural areas are areas where prime agricultural lands predominate. Specialty crop areas shall be given the highest priority for protection, followed by Classes 1, 2 and 3 soils, in this order of priority.” Document 3 explains in greater detail the applicable Provincial Policy when considering an Official Plan amendment.
The supporting documentation to this application clearly identifies the variety of soil conditions on the lands subject to this amendment. The City Council Approved Official Plan and the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) considers Class 1-3 soils as prime agricultural areas. Of the total land holding (113.2 hectares), 70.2% is with in the range of what is considered the top three soil categories (Class 1 – 3).
When calculating the area subject of the amendment (40.7 hectares) 57.6% of the lands fall within the top three soil categories, with the majority of these lands having a Class 3 rating. The Soil Survey Report also notes that the soil units in the amendment area do not form a contiguous unit of Class 3 soils. These soil units are comprised of complex soil units and small units of pure Class 3 soils. Escarpment features and the eroded stream channels effectively limit the production of mechanized agriculture. Further, the consultant notes that the lands on the upper part of the escarpment do not represent a pure soil unit, and are considered to be in a combined soil classification due to the undulating nature of the underlying bedrock. Given the combined class of soils an alternative method of assessment, known as the Hoffman Indices has been applied. The alternative method, which is an accepted practice by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, reduces the overall average of 57.6% of Class 1 –3 to about 25 %.
The applicant has demonstrated that the soils on the lands subject to the proposed amendment are not of a high agricultural value; however, the value of agricultural land is not determined by soils alone. The autonomy and operational ease of adjacent lands are impacted by the proposed development and this must be factored into staff’s recommendation rationale. Agricultural land as defined by the PPS is predominate in this area. The amendment lands represent the northerly most section of a large tract of agricultural land. The same argument being put forward to rationalize this Official Plan Amendment is the argument that could be used to further redesignate the remaining agricultural parcel in the future.
The MacLarens Landing development has existed for a number of years in harmony with the adjacent lands. The expectations of residents of a new development may be quite different than those of the cottage-residential development in MacLarens Landing.
The applicant has provided information based on the Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) which has been calculated for the existing barns on and adjacent to the subject lands. Only one barn (main barn) has been identified as a possible impact on the amendment lands. The Report does not address the issue of impacts and what limitations will be imposed on the remaining farm parcel should the operation change or expand in the future.
Further, the application has not demonstrated a need for additional land to be designated to accommodate the creation of residential estate lots as required by the Provincial Policy Statement. According to the City of Ottawa Draft Rural Residential Land Survey (2004-2005 update) there is potential for 5,433 vacant residential lots in the West Carleton Ward. This amount is derived by adding together the unit potential on lands currently designated for residential and the current development applications before the City, i.e. pending, draft approved and registered plans of subdivisions.
This application does not satisfy the tests as outlined in the City Council Approved Official Plan and the Provincial Policy Statement, and therefore, the Department recommends the refusal of this application.
Approval of the amendment will impact on the viability of agriculture on the subject lands and in the immediate agricultural community.
APPLICATION PROCESS TIMELINE STATUS
This application was not processed by the "On Time Decision Date" established for the processing of Official Plan amendments due to the complexity of the issues associated with the the information provided in support of the application in additon to a request to have the application put on hold by the owner.
Document 3 Provincial Policy Statement Details
Corporate Services Department, City Clerk’s Branch, Secretariat Services to notify the owner, Jack MacLaren, 114 Creekside Drive, Woodlawn, ON K0A 3M0, applicant, McIntosh Perry Consulting Engineers Ltd., 115 Walgreen Road, Carp, ON K0A 1L0, Signs.ca, 866 Campbell Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K2A 2C5, Ghislain Lamarche, Program Manager, Assessment, Financial Services Branch (Mail Code: 26-76) of City Council’s decision.
CONSULTATION DETAILS DOCUMENT 2
This application was subject to the Public Notification and Consultation Policy.
Resident of Maclarens Landing does not want a plan of subdivision. It is a rural community with dirt roads. We do not want our community to be affected by a subdivision at this location.
Councillor Eli El-Chantiry is aware of the application
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION COMMENTS
MacLaren Community Association has some concerns. Would like to be kept abreast of any meetings and approvals.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE COMMENTS
Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee
This is an application to change a 40.7 ha parcel of land designated as Agricultural Resource Area in the Official Plan to General Rural. The site, located close to but not bordering the Ottawa River, is not within a village, as defined in the Official Plan. Approximately 1/3 of the MacLaren holding between Torbolton Ridge Road and Woodkilton Road is proposed for re-designation. All or part of the entire land holding is currently farmed.
The applicant has provided soils survey data to show that the land is not good agriculture land although it is being actively farmed.
The Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee opposes the re-designation of this land on the following principles/for the following reasons:
Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee Conclusions and Recommendations
Refuse the Official Plan amendment request as it does not conform to the City Council Approved Official Plan.
PROVINCIAL POLICY STATEMENT DETAILS DOCUMENT 3
2.3.3 Permitted Uses
126.96.36.199 In prime agricultural
areas, permitted uses and activities are: agricultural uses, secondary uses and agriculture-related uses. Proposed new secondary uses and agriculture-related
uses shall be compatible with, and shall not hinder, surrounding
agricultural operations. These uses shall be limited in scale, and criteria for
these uses shall be included in municipal planning documents as recommended by
the Province, or based on municipal approaches which achieve the same
188.8.131.52 In prime agricultural areas, all types, sizes and intensities of agricultural uses and normal farm practices shall be promoted and protected in accordance with provincial standards.
184.108.40.206 New land uses, including the creation of lots, and new or expanding livestock facilities shall comply with the minimum distance separation formulae.
220.127.116.11 The creation of new residential lots in prime agricultural areas shall not be permitted, except in accordance with policy 18.104.22.168(c).
2.3.5 Removal of Land from Prime Agricultural Areas
22.214.171.124 Planning authorities may only exclude land from prime agricultural areas for:
a) expansions of or identification of settlement areas in accordance with policy 126.96.36.199;
b) extraction of minerals, petroleum resources and mineral aggregate resources, in accordance with policies 2.4 and 2.5; and
c) limited non-residential uses, provided that:
188.8.131.52 Impacts from any new or expanding non-agricultural uses on surrounding agricultural operations and lands should be mitigated to the extent feasible.
The Provincial Policy Statement defines Prime Agricultural Areas as:
areas where prime agricultural lands predominate. This includes: areas of prime agricultural lands and associated Canada Land Inventory Class 4-7 soils; and additional areas where there is a local concentration of farms which exhibit characteristics of ongoing agriculture. Prime agricultural areas may be identified by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food using evaluation procedures established by the Province as amended from time to time, or may also be identified through an alternative agricultural land evaluation system approved by the Province.
OFFICIAL PLAN AMENDMENT - 375 MACLARENS SIDE ROAD
PLAN OFFICIEL - 375, ROUTE SECONDAIRE MACLAREN
Mr. J. Ostafichuk, Planner, Planning and Growth Management, provided a detailed presentation in which he reviewed the details of the above-noted application and the staff recommendation on same. A copy of his presentation is held on file.
Mr. Snider discussed the Provincial Policy Statement, noting the critical thing was whether or not these lands should be considered part of the prime agricultural area. He opined that they should not be. He maintained this portion of the property was at the northern extent of the prime agricultural area and represented a narrow finger. He referenced the residential uses currently to the North and to the West, in an area currently designated as rural natural feature lands, and maintained the applicant was looking to extend that boundary to the toe of the escarpment slope. He felt the subject lands were more akin to the lands to the West and to the North and less so to the agricultural area and he felt there was sufficient justification to approve the application. With respect to whether or not this form of development would have an impact on the agricultural land, Mr. Snider believed that with careful design, any potential impacts could be mitigated; by the proposed buffering and by the fact that there was a clear division in the natural features between the two areas. Furthermore, he noted there were all kinds of tools and mechanisms that could be applied through the subdivision approval process to ensure that conflicts were minimized. In closing, Mr. Snider stated that the applicant intended to continue to farm his land and that the issue of protecting farmland through the PPS was not in dispute. He expressed the applicant’s intent to maintain a good portion of farmland as it had always been.
With respect to the possibility of future intensification of livestock, Councillor El-Chantiry wondered if there was any ability to impose mitigating conditions in the future, when the plan of subdivision would come forward for approval. Mr. G. Lindsay, Manager of Development Approvals, responded in the negative. He explained that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food prescribed separation distances and whatever distance was prescribed by the Ministry, that area would be excluded from any draft plan approval of subdivision.
Responding to a further question from Councillor El-Chantiry, Mr. Lindsay indicated that, should a plan of subdivision come forward as had been depicted by the applicant and the Ministry prescribed a minimum distance of 300 metres or 600 metres, then any lots contained within that perimeter would have to be removed from the plan of subdivision.
Councillor Brooks argued many of the policies the City had to deal with were driven by Toronto and by jurisdictions in other parts of the Province. He felt it was time the City of Ottawa took a role in challenging some of those policies that did not work in Eastern Ontario and he suggested City staff tended to back away from such challenges. He discussed the scope and challenges of modern day farming. He referenced the pictures Mr. Snider had shown of the subject property and argued what he saw was not prime agricultural land because of the boulders, stumps, streams and other barriers to farm machinery. He talked about the dwindling number of farms in Ontario, the economics of farming, and the issue of property rights. With respect to the issue of availability of and need for development land, the Councillor argued that this country was built on entrepreneurship and capitalism. He suggested this property owner was being entrepreneurial and seizing an opportunity to develop his land. By doing so, he would create jobs and put money into the economy. Having spoken with the applicant, he felt there was community support for the proposal and he maintained that communities should be allowed to govern themselves. He believed the City had to be flexible in interpreting and applying the Official Plan and the Provincial Policy Statement. Speaking to the argument that development of this nature would put pressure on the City’s infrastructure, he argued development charges were intended to alleviate that pressure. Furthermore, he submitted that growth in rural areas was being impeded by such arguments and unless more development was allowed in rural areas, the gap between the urban and suburban Councillors would continue to increase. In closing, Councillor Brooks urged Committee members to vote down the staff recommendation and to support the Official Plan Amendment application.
Councillor Thompson spoke in support of country estate lot development, noting that more and more, people were moving to the rural areas because they wanted that additional space. Furthermore, he felt property owners should have the right to develop their land as they saw fit, within reason. He maintained that rural planning issues had been re-assigned to the ARAC instead of the Planning and Environment Committee because there was recognition that these should be treated differently. He acknowledged staff’s dilemma in implementing the policies, guidelines and regulations set out for them. However, he believed that as a political body, the ARAC should forge ahead and take a stand. He felt that in this case, the application should proceed.
The Committee proceeded to vote on the report recommendation.
That the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee recommend Council refuse an amendment to the Official Plan of the former Township of West Carleton to change the land use designation applying to the property at 375 MacLarens Side Road from Agriculture Resource to General Rural Area.
YEAS (1): R. Jellett
NAYS (4): G. Brooks, R. Chiarelli, E. El-Chantiry, D. Thompson
Moved by Councillor R. Chiarelli
That the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee recommend Council approve an amendment to the Official Plan of the former Township of West Carleton to change the land use designation applying to the property at 375 MacLarens Side Road from Agriculture Resource to General Rural Area.
CARRIED as amended with R. Jellett dissenting