Committee nixes gas station plan

By Angelica Ingram

Published Jan. 17 2016

A proposed gas station for the property next to Tim Hortons on County Road 21 has hit an obstacle.

On Jan. 9 the Dysart planning committee recommended denying the zoning bylaw amendment application which would change the zoning of the property from suburban residential to highway commercial. The zoning change is a requirement for the project to move forward.

The gas station proposal was first brought to council last August by Leo Palozzi of Sunray Developments. The property is owned by local businessman Jerry Walker.

Dysart planning and development director Pat Martin told the committee she continued to have concerns with the proposal for a number of reasons including the submitted site plan does not meet the required minimum street setbacks and vegetation buffers.

The proposed property is in a designated commercial area as outlined by Dysart’s official plan however Martin said the property is not suitable for the desired use.

“Not every commercial use has to be permitted” she said. “In my opinion this use does not comply with the official plan.”

However Palozzi disagreed saying according to the official plan this was the ideal location for this type of business.

“This is a compatible use for the area” said Palozzi.

Martin said a number of written concerns had been received by the municipality including issues such as increased traffic noise lighting and a drop in property values.

Palozzi said he would like the opportunity to resubmit a site plan based on the concerns received. He also said not all of the concerns and comments were submitted to him in a summary like he would have wished.

Nearby property owner Sherry Schell spoke to the proposal and said she was vehemently opposed as it was not a good fit for the neighbourhood. Schell said a gas station would only be good for neighbouring Tim Hortons as it will bring them more business.

Schell said she was concerned if there was blasting it would damage her well. She said she would pursue legal action should that happen.

Other concerns she mentioned included environmental such as possible gas leaks; and increased truck traffic resulting in accidents.

Palozzi said a traffic study has been conducted by an independent consultant and that no blasting would be required for the proposed gas station.

Councillor Nancy Wood-Roberts said she thought the applicant should resubmit the site plan to see if they can meet the required minimum setbacks and wished to defer the file.

Councillor Susan Norcross had a different opinion outlining her concerns with the proposal including increased traffic between Tim Hortons and Whispering Pines a nearby housing development on County Road 21. She also pointed to the height of the property as a problem.

“I’m not comfortable with this type of use” said Norcross. “It’s not a good fit.”

Chair of the planning committee Dysart Deputy-reeve Andrea Roberts said she was worried about nearby property values and aspects such as 24/7 lighting and volume of traffic.

“That area is a gateway to our community” said Roberts.

Palozzi said the lighting can be contained and that the company will be spending millions to develop the property and creating jobs for the community.

Wood-Roberts voted to defer the zoning bylaw amendment while Roberts and Norcross voted to deny it which was passed.

The recommendation to deny the zoning bylaw amendment will be brought to Dysart council at its Jan. 23 meeting for a final decision. Following the decision there is a 20-day appeal period.