Cottagers take on Dysart at OMB
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | April 6, 2017|
A proposed zoning bylaw amendment for a biochar facility will be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) on April 21 at the Dysart council chambers.
The amendment met fierce resistance from four members of the Drag & Spruce Lakes Property Owners Association, after councillors granted it in early February.
Catharine Gonnsen, Laurie Wheeler, Larry Lowenstein and Douglas Buchanan filed four separate appeals opposing the passing of the zoning bylaw for the construction of a proposed 13,000 square-foot biochar facility on Kennaway Road, a project that was first proposed by Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve in November.
All four indicated identical reasons for appealing the passing of the zoning bylaw, including the suggestion that the facility is a waste processing plant with a noxious use, and that the zoning bylaw fails to conform to the county’s or municipality’s official plans.
“We are serious in pursuing this matter, as we feel the municipality has not undertaken due diligence in their review of the biochar application,” Wheeler told The Highlander.
The project is spearheaded by Haliburton Forest Biochar Limited (HFB) and its project manager Nina Shock.
HFB is owned by Haliburton Forest and an undisclosed private, family-owned company, and according to the property association’s website, has hired a lawyer to represent it on the appeal of the zoning bylaw.
The lawyer has filed a motion that one of the appellant’s appeals is not valid due to a technicality.
“He has also indicated that HFB will be filing a notice of motion that the appeals filed by the other three appellants are frivolous, vexatious, purely for the purposes of delay and they do not set out any apparent planning grounds for the appeal,” the post from April 3 reads.
“The appellants in this case are not in this for delay or for frivolous reasons,” Wheeler said.
Patricia Martin, Dysart’s director of planning and development, wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the hearing or the motions, but did say hearings like this are not common.
“It means we haven’t been able to negotiate a settlement between the applicant and the surrounding neighbourhood,” Martin said, explaining why these hearings arise in the first place.
“We haven’t had many in the past and we’ve been successful in mediating disputes.”
HFB did not comment on the upcoming hearing or motions, but Shock did say the ministry’s review of their project’s noise and air approvals are “going well.”
The hearing April 21 will start at 10:30 a.m. The public can leave comments on the project proposal on the government's environment registry's website.
During a regular council meeting March 27, HFB asked the municipality to grant them a partial site plan for a 4,800 squarefoot storage building.
Council granted them the request, and emphasized it’s for buildings in the existing industrial zone only.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.