ORONO WEEKLY TIMES ARTICLE: Just adding to the confusion

November 30, 2019

VOL. 82 #44 | WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2019

There has been some confusion over the letters that were sent out to rural property owners regarding the proposed EP rezoning that is currently taking place in the municipality. At Monday night’s council meeting Councillor Traill addressed the written notification that went out to landowners. She brought a copy to Monday night’s meeting – one that she received for her property that is not affected by the proposed EP rezoning.

“This begs the question,” asked Traill, “as to what exactly staff interpreted our direction to include. Because this is very concerning. We have apparently sent out letters to all rural residents, including residents who are not affected by the proposed rezoning and arguably causing significant consternation among residents because having received this I was led to believe that I was being rezoned. And so did all of my neighbours who I spoke with.”

Councillor Traill had questions for staff. She was concerned about the amount of time and resources that were spent in sending out these letters. Also questioning if this was a different Zone Clarington letter that was sent out as it wasn’t the letter that staff was directed to send.

Acting Director of Planning Faye Langmaid answered “This is a different zoning letter that has been sent out to all rural property owners. I believe there are about 5,500 of them, the cost of it was about $5000. The direction that Councillor Traill is referring to was not ratified by council, it was tabled”.

“It was my understanding that that letter was to proceed. And that was a separate motion and residents were still to be notified,” said Traill. “And if that is not the case, please advise”. “There was a resolution at one time back in early September to notify all residents,” said Langmaid.

“Staff were to bring forward that notice to Council and that was when it was tabled so we went back to an original notification to all rural residents.”.

“Isn’t there a concern that this is now going to cause even more confusion among landowners who are already extremely confused as to what’s happening with respect to their property?” questioned Traill.

“This seems like a major error on the part of the municipality because now we’ve got 5500 people who received a notice for Zone Clarington which isn’t happening, and yet the notice that was supposed to be sent out to the property owners that may have been affected is now not happening.”

“This is a general public notice. This is what we issue when we issue public notifications for any type of zoning. Which was one of the criticisms that was levied at members of the rural community, so we have issued a general notice,” said Langmaid. Langmaid explained that there are other things in the draft zoning bylaw that could affect other rural residents that don’t have EP on their land – such as the secondary uses that are possible on other properties.

“What concerns me is that this letter directs residents to the maps to proposed rezoning that isn’t happening. So, I am a bit unclear as to why we’re advising residents of something needlessly. I can’t emphasize how much this has disappointed me; confused residents and I suspect all of us will be fielding questions over the next two to three weeks as people collect their mail and wonder what the heck is going on.”

“I guess this means going forward, a motion is still required to now notify residents regarding the proposed rezoning who are actually going to be potentially affected by it and somehow trying to explain and clarify what exactly is happening, because I feel that this has just caused further confusion. It was a waste of $5000,” said Traill. Why was this letter sent if the rural rezoning was tabled?

Langmaid explained, “(in the letter) in the first paragraph on the second page, we were very clear that planning and development had tabled the rural area phase of Zone Clarington. It means that updating zoning for the rural areas is on hold, but we were still able to do the site review visits and the site review reviews. We wanted to make people aware of that (ask for a site visit/review) so if they had questions about it that they would continue to talk to us at Zone Clarington”. Once the rural rezoning portion of Zone Clarington is not tabled, then a second draft will be completed that meets all of the requirements that Council has put forward”, said Langmaid.