bwobepy · 2021-01-25 0

New zoning bylaw nears completion

The process to implement a new comprehensive zoning bylaw for the Municipality of Meaford is nearly complete.

The municipality will hold a public open house about the proposed bylaw at Meaford Hall on Thursday May 7 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8:30 p.m. Meaford planning staff are encouraging members of the public to take a look at the proposed comprehensive zoning bylaw (it is available on the municipality’s website at www.meaford.ca or in printed form at the municipal office) in order to have an understanding of the process that is nearing its completion.

The purpose of the new zoning bylaw is to implement the Official Plan for the Municipality of Meaford and to ensure that zoning regulations are consistent across the entire municipality. The municipality has held public open houses about the document in the past, but significant changes were made to the document due to concerns about environmental protection policies.

Meaford Planner Liz Buckton said it’s important for local citizens to be aware that the zoning bylaw is ready for public comments and questions. The new zoning bylaw is the key document that regulates development in the entire municipality.

"It’s important that residents get involved. The last open houses were poorly attended and a lot of people haven’t been heavily involved," Buckton explained during an interview last week. "The zoning bylaw implements the new Official Plan and sets out what goes where," she said.

Buckton said the new zoning bylaw includes several new concepts that are explained in the document’s preamble.

New concepts include:

– Setback regulations for properties located on Georgian Bay.

– Allowing denser development in urban areas and increased lot coverage in order to comply with provincial policy directing residential development to urban areas.

– More flexible rules governing Bed and Breakfasts.

– Elimination of the requirement for commercial parking space to be provided by businesses in the downtown core – in an effort to promote urban area commercial development.

– A prohibition on agricultural operations within 500 metres of an urban area.

– New policies for accessory use wind turbines (does not include commercial generating projects) and solar power collectors.

The completion of the zoning bylaw will end a long process to fully update the municipality’s planning documents. The Official Plan was actually approved at the end of 2005 and municipal planners have been working diligently on the preparation of the zoning bylaw since that time.

"It’s exciting from my perspective to be involved in this process all the way through. To be able to modernize this bylaw is very important," Buckton explained. "Meaford’s (current) bylaw is from 1974. Things have certainly changed a lot since then and we need to be reactive to that reality," she said.

Buckton said she is always available to answer questions about the new zoning bylaw. She encourages local residents with an interest in the matter to study the document and familiarize themselves with what the bylaw is proposing for the municipality.

"If you want to get a flavour of the bylaw the preamble covers most of the new concepts in the bylaw," she said.

Following the public open houses planning staff will review comments and make one final draft of the document. Following that process a formal public meeting with council will be scheduled. At a later meeting the bylaw will be officially adopted by council. Once it is adopted a 20-day appeal period begins. The bylaw does not require approval from Grey County or the province – since those agencies have already approved the Official Plan. Buckton said she hopes the entire process is complete by late summer.