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Deal reached would lessen restrictions on development in downtown cores

Posted May 7, 2014

Among the list of outstanding matters and multi-party appeals still playing out before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) as they relate to Simcoe County's Official Plan (OP) and its fit within the legislated Places to Grow provincial planning policies, is agreement on a new set of guidelines for land use on or near (active/closed) waste disposal sites.

As currently constituted, Section 4.9 of the OP "requires that development being located in close proximity to waste management sites be reviewed in detail with respect to potential impacts to the landfill activities and the potential impacts to the use and enjoyment of a property."

As set out by the Ministry of Environment, and copied by the County, "close proximity" is within a 500 metre buffer zone from the perimeter of an identified site (See maps below). Development proposals within that area are required to undertake studies that would consider "compatibility (traffic, noise, pests, etc.) and environmental concerns (groundwater contamination, leakage of methane gas, odour etc.)."


Pictured above the landfill buffer in Alliston, and below, in Tottenham, as mapped out in Simcoe County's Official Plan 2007.


The OMB issues list related to this matter notes New Tecumseth's concerns that the County's proposed policies "would be overly restrictive and would have the effect of unnecessarily placing the entire downtown areas in the communities of Alliston and Tottenham in a "holding" zone." Alliston and Tottenham each have decades' old closed landfill sites whose buffer zones encompass the business districts and residential areas. As such, any development proposals are subjected to detailed environmental assessments.

The agreed to amendments, which still have to be approved by the OMB, provide that "where current information exists to demonstrate there are no landfill-related impacts associated with the closed sites, the D-4 Assessment Area may be reduced without the need for an Assessment Area Environmental Study."

Deleted entirely from Section 4.9 under the revised deal is "ASSESSMENT AREAS, WASTE DISPOSAL SITES refers to land areas adjacent to former and existing waste disposal sites where adverse environmental effects may be evident as a result of waste disposal operations. This is generally the area within 500 metres of the perimeter of the waste disposal site but may vary according to the physical characteristics of the land or type of waste disposal operation."

Included is: "BUFFER AREA for Waste Management Sites means the area adjacent to the Fill Area for which no non-Waste Disposal Area related use can be made of the lands. Generally, the minimum distance for a buffer zone is 30 meters but can be extended to 100 meters or more at the discretion of the owner and operator of the Waste Disposal Site or at the direction of the Ministry of the Environment."

This agreement also settles concerns in Collingwood and Innisfil. The OMB is scheduled to resume sitting in June when it will deal with among others, Adjala-Tosorontio's proposal to expand Everett by 10,000 people.

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