CABP urges council to maintain consistent airport land zoning

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Clearview Township is being urged to resist pressure to fast track zoning changes affecting the Clearview Aviation Business Park (CABP). Geordie Dalglish, president of the Collingwood Regional Airport, appeared before a special meeting last week to oppose the application by the owners of three adjacent parcels totalling 265 acres.

Dalglish told council that planning requirements are not just red tape, but processes that exist for a reason.

“Our discomfort with this application lies with the lack of due process which would normally require an Official Plan amendment and amendments to zoning bylaws,” he said. “We are supportive in principle of expanded uses of lands adjacent to the airport as long as they don’t adversely affect the airport.”

Dalglish noted that the airport and the adjacent Aviation Business Park currently have the same zoning and similar permitted uses and that it makes sense to keep them the same.

“I’ve been told that this is a foregone conclusion,” he told council. “If that is the case and you decide to vote in favour we would ask that at very least you level the playing field and require that the accelerator application should include the airport lands.”

He says that rezoning only the Aviation Park Lands would result in an unfair business advantage. Consultant Kory Chisholm, speaking on behalf of the CABP, told council that the owners want to change the designation of the subject lands from Airport Industrial to Industrial. The current designation limits permitted uses to activities that support aviation, such as aircraft manufacturing, sales, service, rental and repair. The owners have been unable to attract large format users because, says Chisholm, a manufacturer who builds aircraft and tractor parts would not be permitted to house the tractor related parts of their business at the site. He told the meeting that a general industrial designation would expand the range of potential uses resulting in greater employment opportunities.

CABP owners have asked the township to endorse their bid for a Community Infrastructure Housing Accelerator Order (CIHAO). The CIHAO is a tool designed to facilitate employment and economic development by allowing the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to overwrite or replace existing local planning requirements for projects which align with provincial priorities. Chisholm says the CABP is the only area within the township that could accommodate large format end users, and that an Employment Area Impact Assessment conducted on behalf of the group identified a large outflow of Clearview residents to jobs elsewhere. He told council that the requested change would be good for the township.

“Having a large employment site would round out the planning vision of having a complete community, and would work towards sustainability goals where residents don’t have to travel as far to get to work,” said Chisholm.

If the CIHAO application is successful, engineering and design could commence before the end of 2024 and pre-servicing of lots could begin next year. The conventional planning process would add one to two years to that timeline.

Township planner Amy Cann said the request is still at the exploratory stage and that staff will come back to council with a recommendation at a future meeting.

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