Township Watch - August 2013


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Welcome to Nick Popovich

The MRA would like to welcome Nick Popovich the new senior planner for the Township of Muskoka Lakes.

Hanna's Landing

The developers of Hanna’s Landing returned to the planning committee on August 15th in their second attempt to have the former Glenwood Trailer Park rezoning application, including the proposed by-law, circulated for comment.  Presentations were made by Rick Spence (Friends of Port Carling) and Anne McCauley of the MLA.  The MLA is no longer objecting to circulating the application to the public and “agencies” to be reviewed by professional staff.   Margaret Walton, planner for the developers and Jeff Goldman, the developer, having previously met with township staff to answer questions and satisfy their initial requests, also gave brief presentations.   Mr. Goldman spoke about process and how the OMB decision was very specific in regards to setbacks, storm water management, the environment, the size of the buildings and so on.

The committee, chaired by Councillor Burgess spent two hours and fifteen minutes debating details that are usually covered at site plan discussions and wanting a plan of subdivision attached to the application.  David Pink, Director of Planning, stated that staff would have preferred the application to move forward concurrently with site plan, yet it was not unusual to separate the two applications.   No building permits can be issue without a plan of subdivision or site plan.  It was repeatedly stated at the table that what was before the committee was a rezoning by-law.  Even though the developers had written confirmation from the township that their application was complete, Mayor Murphy and other members of the committee remained unconvinced and the matter was once again deferred.   Mr Goldman told the committee that he felt it was “patently unfair” that the planning committee were asking for something that had not been previously discussed, and that he was extremely disappointed in the process.

Tim Horton's in Port Carling

Shawn Woof represented Bruce Wilson Road Holdings at the council meeting on August 16th regarding the proposed Tim Horton’s in Port Carling.  The applicant had returned with revised drawings showing no peaked roofs and the use of local materials, as was requested.   Although some members of council felt the drawings were significantly improved, others felt the applicant could have done better as they did not show overhangs where the pot lighting is to be installed.   Although landscaping on the property was in the last application, council once again discussed the number and type of trees, shrubs and flowers that would be planted.   A consent agreement with the District requires that a traffic light be installed at the corner of Bruce Wilson Rd and Medora St. (Hwy 118).  The Township will be asking that a warning signal be installed for approaching vehicles and that during the winter months the traffic signal just flash.

Hirsh Resort Development - Port Carling

Simon Hirsh Resort Development also gave a presentation, including a video, at the council meeting.  Neighbours delegated in opposition to the development, expressing concerns regarding inadequate setbacks from property lines, density, blasting and parking spots.  After much discussion and many questions, Mayor Murphy asked each councillor what their concerns were about the development.  Although density and setbacks were brought up, the main concern was lack of adequate parking.  Mr. Hirsh appears to be willing to remove further rock to improve the aesthetics of the property and provide more parking.  The application was deferred, and staff will prepare a letter for Mr. Hirsh outlining exactly what council’s concerns are.

Bar Rentals

At the committee of the whole, Lisa McMurray the Community Economic Development Coordinator gave a brief presentation on the rental of the bar at the Port Carling Community Centre.  The Port Carling Lions have rented and operated the bar for many years, continually donating profits back into the community.  Some confusion arises when individuals renting the community centre feel they are obligated to have the Lions operate the bar, which is absolutely incorrect.  Staff’s recommendation was to allow other groups an opportunity to rent the space.  Although the Lions had tremendous support around the committee table, it was decided that a staff report was required which would also give the Lions a chance to delegate. 

Robert's Rules

As was mentioned above, one of the applicants discussed process which the MRA feels is very important.  Unfortunately, process as laid out in Robert’s Rules of Order is not being followed at the council table.  The chair is supposed to lead/facilitate the discussion and not take part.  This continually eludes Mayor Murphy and was clearly demonstrated during the Hirsh discussion when Mayor Murphy made comments similar to “one more question and then I will stop…..for a bit” and a few minutes later stated “I am doing a little trade.  You ask a question, I ask a question”.

The MRA hopes that everyone will have a safe & enjoyable remainder of the summer.

 

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