OMB appeal nullified

GORE BAY—The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing into an appeal by the Manitoulin Planning Board (MPB) on a zoning bylaw amendment decision by council for the Northeast Town has been nullified, with the withdrawal of the original application to the town from developer Jib Turner.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the members of the MPB were notified by secretary-treasurer Elva Carter that, “on the OMB appeal on the zoning amendment decision by the Northeast Town, I received a letter today from Jib Turner explaining that he is withdrawing his application. I have forwarded this to the OMB. I asked what this means as far as the appeal is concerned and was told they will uphold the (MPB) appeal and close the file.”

“I understand the appeal won’t proceed because of this,” said Ms. Carter.

“Basically they upheld our appeal,” said planning board member Keith Legge.

“So we don’t know if we would have won the OMB appeal or not?” questioned Brent St. Denis.

In his letter to the planning board, dated October 25, 2013, Mr. Turner wrote, “I am very disappointed with the approach taken by the planning board in dealing with my application. My primary interest is in developing and growing my community. I am concerned with the amount of money being spent by the planning board and now the municipality to address my concern. Your actions in moving this application to the OMB provide me, and other developers, with the sense that the planning board is anti-development. In the interest of saving substantial taxpayer dollars that would otherwise by wasted on this exercise, I am withdrawing my application.”

It had been previously reported that the Northeast Town council had carried a motion on August 6, approving a zoning bylaw amendment to allow for four residential units on the second floor of the building that houses the Turners Home Store located on Vankoughnet Street East (Little Current), in an industrial zone.

An industrial building is permitted one apartment for a caretaker or owner per business. Since the building houses three businesses, there were three apartments, however Kilganan Group owner Jib Turner wanted to add an additional apartment and allow the apartments to be available for rent in the community.

Mr. Turner told council that due to the housing shortage in Little Current he wanted to assist the community.

The Manitoulin Planning Board sent a letter to the Northeast Town on August 28 informing council that the board would be appealing council’s decision to the OMB.

“The Manitoulin Planning Board states that with the approval of this bylaw it is considered there will be major noise and safety issues due to the heavy truck traffic at all hours and with no sidewalks for pedestrians and the close proximity to extensive fuel storage in this area are not compatible with residential uses that would be permitted by this bylaw,” states the motion from the planning board, contained in its letter to the town.

It has been explained by Ms. Carter that the planning board has a mandate to ensure all planning applications conform to the Official Plan, provincial policy statement and planning act.

 Tom Sasvari with files from Robin Burridge