Rural Zoning is Hard and Don’t Be a Jerk: The Public Record’s Hamilton City Hall Take-Away for September 1, 2016

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Rural zoning is hard, that’s today’s takeaway from City Hall as the truck route sub-committee and committee of adjustment both grappled with challenging wording in rural zoning and truck route bylaws.

Truck Route Sub-Committee

The truck route sub-committee voted to recommend City Council create a blanket exception from the truck route by-law for trucks with MTO farm license plates. This codifies a practice that wasn’t written in the bylaw, following a ticket being issued by a police office which couldn’t be cancelled due to a vacation. The complexities the committee debated included trying to keep heavy trucks out of the urbanized areas, making enforcement manageable for police, and defining who is exempt. The rural exemption requires ratification at the September 28 City Council meeting.

The current shortest route requirements will be enforced on all other trucks in the rural area. Councillor Robert Pasuta (Ward 14), a farmer himself, noted that many trucks carrying between farms do not have MTO farm plates and some don’t qualify for them. Noting the complexity of trying to add these trucks to the exception, he said the amendment was the best the City could do in the circumstances.

Committee of Adjustment

Over at committee of adjustment, three applications in rural Ward 14 caused lengthy debate as the committee, Councillor Robert Pasuta, and City planning staff negotiated a series of rural severances to split farm houses from farm lands, while merging the farming land with neighbouring farming land – all within the Greenbelt.

The Greenbelt regulations allow for farming families to remain living in their homes while recognizing the now-corporate nature of farming which requires large fields of crops to maximize the benefits from automation and efficiency resulting from economies of scale.

The Greenbelt discourages non-farmers living in the rural area to protect food production. A family cannot build a second home on a farm property, as an example.

In the end, after about 35 minutes for three properties, the committee found agreement among the stakeholders and the severances were approved.

One of the smart decisions in the past year by planning management at the City was hiring specialized rural planners.

Don’t Be A Jerk

In two other CoA hearings saw jerks lose, and those who took the respectful route win. That story is on The Public Record here: Don’t Be A Jerk at Hamilton’s Committee of Adjustment

A Shout-Out for Great Work

Closing today’s Take-Away, a positive story about a City Hall official going above and beyond to help a resident achieve their dream backyard: A Shout-Out to City Hall Staffer for Great Work

 

We’re back on Tuesday with Planning Committee as the fall term begins. Take a break this long weekend and enjoy the great weather. (Trust me, Hamilton politics will be busy from Tuesday until the October 25 LRT vote.

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