Decision on Tim Hortons zoning amendment deferred 0
Haliburtonians will have a little while longer to wait before they find out if they can get a Tim Hortons coffee in Haliburton.
A decision on whether or not to amend a zoning application for a property on County Road 21 to allow for the construction of a Tim Hortons was deferred by Dysart et al council at their May 28 meeting.
The decision was made following a public meeting on May 7 where neighbours of the proposed property voiced concerns they had, including traffic congestion, safety and noise.
Concerns were brought forth to council and another public meeting was held on May 28, allowing for additional input from the community.
"We don't want to hear the same arguments," warned Dysart et al Reeve Murray Fearrey before opening the floor to public comment.
Fearrey said the concerns that were raised have been taken into consideration and that a process was being followed by the municipality.
Municipal planner Pat Martin reinforced the Dysart official plan designated the property in question as highway commercial, allowing for the village to grow.
"Highway 21 has always had a mixed use," said Fearrey.
A traffic needs study is being conducted by the county of Haliburton and it has already concluded a left-hand turn lane is warranted for the development, said Doug Ray, roads superintendent for the county.
The county will not allow parking on the highway and will likely enter into a site plan agreement with Tim Hortons, said Ray.
Local real estate agent Kim Stamp said it didn't matter where Tim Hortons decided to locate, people will still go there.
"This is not a profit concern but a safety one," she said.
Representing Tim Hortons, Leo Palozzi asked council to approve the zoning amendment with a list of conditions to be met, allowing the project to move forward.
"Tim Hortons is not looking at other sites. There is no back-up plan," said Palozzi.
The corporation would like to see this project underway by the summer and if held up Haliburton could risk losing the possibility of a Tim Hortons altogether, said Palozzi.
"If it's not Tim Hortons there it will be someone else [corporate]," said Palozzi.
Palozzi said the concerns raised by the municipality have been brought back to the corporation and included in the planning.
"I want to emphasize that it is a county road and we will be working with them," he said.
Fearrey said decisions made by the county had to be approved by county council, suggesting the project would be on hold until at least July.
Councillor Steve Pogue questioned whether council wanted this type of establishment in that location, based on input from neighbours.
"Let's not hide behind traffic studies if council does not want this," he said.
Citing the official plan, Palozzi said the area in question would not look the way it does now in the future and a Tim Hortons won't just bring traffic, but also jobs.
"There really aren't a lot of other areas for them to go, we can't have a drive-through restaurant in the village," said Councillor Andrea Roberts.
Palozzi said he has been working on the site for over a year with Martin and that he was not looking for a building permit yet.
Fearrey said the restaurant must be located on a property that is on a sewer, which the proposed property is.
The north side of County Road 21 is designated commercial, while the south side is residential, according to Martin.
Neighbouring property owner Don Dunsmore spoke in favour of the development, saying the restaurant is a good employer with good community relations.
"We should be thankful it's Tim Hortons that wants to go there . it will help slow traffic down. Right now people sail by at 60, 70, 80 kilometres an hour," said Dunsmore, who lives at 5036 County Rd. 21.
Dunsmore also believed the development would raise property values.
"Let's be positive. We knew nine years ago this was going to happen and we had a chance to say something then," he said.
Fearrey suggested deferring the decision to allow council more time to deal with safety issues and traffic concerns.
"Nobody's against Tim Hortons, but I don't want to see someone getting killed out of this," said Fearrey.
The application is requesting the zoning be changed from residential to highway commercial.
A special meeting of council will be held on June 11 at 3 p.m. in Dysart council chambers.