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Council officially denies the marijuana micro-cultivation facility

March 6, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Robert Belardi

New Tecumseth Council officially denied the zoning by-law amendment that would permit a cannabis micro-cultivation facility on 11th Line.

That doesn’t mean the saga is over. The applicant was entitled to appeal this decision to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) a day after it was denied – as early as March 3.

As the discussion opened, Ward 2 Councillor Michael Beattie shared his perspective on this application. He elaborated that the applicant complied with the Federal regulations and is accepted in the eyes of OMAFRA.

“Federal government satisfied, provincial government satisfied, D6 guidelines are a high bar set to be met, that’s been satisfied,” explained Beattie, along with the Regional government, the Town of New Tecumseth’s guidelines and the Conservation Authority guidelines met.

He warned Council an LPAT appeal can be made and Council will be subject to another discussion regarding this application.

Beattie pleaded to Council that he would like to see this Council lean forward and be part of the solution; that is, until another level of government steps in.

Although marijuana is considered an agricultural crop under OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs), the zoning by-law states that is to be used under the industrial umbrella.

The applicant’s property is within 400 metres of another resident. The industrial zone is expected to vary and it could be in closer proximity to this distance.

“We can’t deny the application, we can’t approve the application outright,” said Beattie.

In June, the zoning by law process will begin and can take between 12 to 18 months to complete. By that time, the applicant’s appeal could be won.

Beattie went on to add the applicant is open to a site control system.

The Town can oversee the applicant’s work and if they are not satisfied with something that he is doing, Council can step in and enforce changes to his structure. This gentleman is good with that.

Upon the end of Councillor Beattie’s remarks, Ward 5 Councillor Donna Jebb stepped in to reiterate her view: the facility is approved in the industrial zone, not the agricultural zone.

Ward 6 Councillor Stephanie MacLellan and Ward 7 Councillor Shira Harrison-McIntyre defended the applicant.

MacLellan appreciates the validity of the medical uses of cannabis and this small business would aid those in need of medical marijuana.

Councillor Harrison-McIntyre said she supports the proponent and that his openness and willingness to a site plan means they are member of the community worth doing business with.

Deputy Mayor Richard Norcross stepped in to the debate and shared his knowledge he obtained from a conference with other mayors and members of staff from rural municipalities struggling from the same thing. 

He explained that when Health Canada issues a resident a license to grow marijuana it removes the criminal element and the Police.

He then asked Director of Planning and Development Bruce Hoppe about the technicalities of site plan control.

“Site plan is a provision under the planning act that allows the municipality to enter agreements with proponents,” replied Hoppe. “Basically, they’re typically, we have a site plan control by-law, that speaks to what property’s we would enter into agreements on. They are typically commercial, industrial properties.”

Council voted shortly after, in a recorded vote, to deny the amendment application.

Following the vote, there was further discussion to send this application back to staff to work on. That was unsuccessful.

Council must prepare for the potential of receiving an LPAT appeal from the applicant.

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