Lack of zoning answers frustrates business owner

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Matt Playne is frustrated. The owner of AutoSolve on Edward Street in Creemore says, “Despite my active involvement in the planning process, numerous meetings with township staff and a lot of correspondence, my questions remain unanswered.”

Playne appeared at a public meeting on Jan. 17 held to gather public input on the latest draft of Clearview Township’s Official Plan, seeking clarity on a proposed re-designation of the roughly 10 acres of industrial land where his business is located.

This is not the first time the issue has arisen. In 2020 a staff report created as part of an Official Plan review suggested that the property be rezoned. Playne had purchased an existing auto repair business, and was able to confirm that a Creemore zoning bylaw prior to amalgamation did allow for industrial use.

In the intervening four years, there has been significant residential development in the neighbourhood. When new landdesignation maps were presented as part of the latest review of the township’s Official Plan, the entire area was shown as residential.

“This is a glaring contradiction with the provincial policy outlined in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe,” said Playne. “It emphasizes the importance of protecting industrial and employment zones. The changes proposed in the draft Clearview Official Plan will directly undermine this principal.”

In presenting the draft Official Plan document for review, consultant Steve Wever thanked those in attendance for their great insights and local knowledge. Wever says they want this to be a “Made in Clearview Official Plan,” and that planners will work with township staff to make recommendations based on feedback received at the meeting. The original timeline called for a final draft to be ready for council by Jan. 19, but Wever says given the amount of input received, it will take a bit longer.

Township CAO John Ferguson told Playne that his concerns have been noted, but that the township can’t go out and start negotiating with individuals until the process is completed. Playne’s concern is that once that final draft is presented to council it will be too late, and his only recourse will be an appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

Township planner Amy Cann said staff is well aware of Playne’s situation and is working behind the scenes to try and come up with a win-win solution.

That is thin comfort for Playne, who says, “That’s the same answer I got last August.”

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