Original Published on Nov 16, 2022 at 20:15
By Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
MORRISBURG – A grow-op planned for the Riverside Heights area of South Dundas will go forward after a zoning denial was successfully appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal.
2778739 Ontario Corporation, which owns the former Auto Wonderland museum property at 13373 County Road 2, sought to rezone the property and receive a minor variance relating to the property setback for the preexisting building.
South Dundas council of the day denied that rezoning and setback earlier this year citing a number concerns including odour from the facility and the impact of the facility on local tourism and residents. The building is located just east of Riverside Heights and is adjacent to a motel and a former takeout food business. It is also less than three kilometres away from Crysler Park Marina and Upper Canada Village.
Jacob Polowin with Gowling WLG represents the numbered company owner of the property and explained that once the application to South Dundas was denied, his client filed an appeal and the two parties entered into settlement talks. The settlement “gave our client more or less everything it applied for in the first place.”
The OLT approved the settlement October 19 and the decision was published November 4.
“The Tribunal is satisfied that the development proposal will add to the economic base and employment through job creation, will utilize existing buildings, parking and infrastructure, thus, is representative of good land use planning in the public interest,” said OLT member Pavel Tomlin in his ruling.
“As we explained in our appeal letter, from both a land-use planning and a legal perspective, the Town never should have refused the application,” Polowin explained. “So in the end, having the Town agree to ask the OLT to approve what was essentially the original application is a positive development for both our client and the Town.”
Resident Mark Derikx raised issues over stormwater and property servicing, which the OLT said were unrelated to the zoning amendment. If needed, those issues will be addressed at the site planning stage for the project. The odor issue will also be addressed by using an air-treatment control system “to ensure that the facility does not emit any noxious odours.”
While the appeal has overturned the original zoning denial, the project is on hold for now, “due to oversaturation in the cannabis market.” Polowin said his client is considering whether or not to move forward with the project.
“If our client decides to proceed with the project, any required renovation or construction on the property will begin in the next 12-24 months,” he said.
No information was provided as to the number of jobs that would be created if the grow-op breaks ground, or when that will happen.
Municipal officials with South Dundas and SDG Counties were contacted for comment. Neither party responded by publication deadline.