Draft Official Plan revealed

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Members of the public had a chance to comment on proposed changes to the Township of Clearview’s Official Plan (OP) on Wednesday. The council chamber was full as consultants GSP revealed the framework for land use, growth and development inthe Township. The OP is based on growth forecasts through 2051 when Clearview’s population is expected to reach 21,820, up from the 2021 total of 15,229.

The process of updating the Official Plan has been ongoing since 2019, starting with a public meeting and visioning session, stakeholder engagement meetings, a discussion paper presented in 2020, and now the presentation of the draft plan. Township staff will review feedback received and determine what changes, if any, are needed. If only minor changes are indicated the plan will be updated and presented to council for approval.

In the 20 years since the current OP was approved, much has changed in Clearview and consultant Steve Wever says it is essential to make sure that land use designations adopted then are still appropriate. Wever says the majority of land in the township is agricultural or rural and growth should be directed to settlement areas to protect agricultural lands.

The plan identifies 12 settlement areas. Creemore and Stayner are defined as Urban Settlement Areas, with water and sewage services. These communities are deemed best able to accommodate growth. Nottawa and New Lowell are described asCommunity Settlement Areas with municipal water generally available and capacity for some growth and development. Rural Settlement Areas including Avening have no municipal services and limited potential for growth.

Consultant Patrick Casey noted that in an effort to create more housing, the Province’s Bill 23 mandates that the township must allow additional residential units within Urban Settlement Areas. That means up to three units per serviced lot in Creemore and Stayner. In Community Settlement Areas the updated plan would permit up to two units with the option of having the second unit in a detached building. In Rural Settlement areas second units would be permitted only within the same building as the primary dwelling. The Clearview OP also addresses lot severances resulting from farm consolidation. When farms are merged rendering a dwelling unit surplus, the lot can be severed provided the retained lot is large enough to function as a farm. The OP will allow On Farm Diversified Uses to support agriculture by permitting additional sources of income. The secondary use must be limited in area and remain secondary to the primary agricultural use. Resident Alex Younger told council that the lack of overnight accommodations in the area hinders tourism and suggested that the updated plan should contain measures to encourage development of such accommodations. Casey responded that the draft plan does encourage agri-tourism and that specific uses would be handled via zoning bylaws.

Deputy Mayor Paul Van Staveren told the meeting that the OP is still a work in progress and encouraged members of the public to make their views known. Once staff has reviewed all feedback received a report will be prepared for council and presented at a future date.

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