Reeve Upham declared the Public Hearing open at 10:35 a.m. with all members of Council present. There were 23 people in attendance.
Krystle Fedoretz, Planning and Development, informed Council that the public hearing was advertised in accordance with section 606 of the M.G.A. and the adjacent landowners were notified.
Krystle Fedoretz informed Council that the purpose of the public hearing is to discuss Bylaw No. 2013-07 as it relates to rezoning PNE 35-58-10-W4 from Agricultural to one lot of Industrial Commercial and three lots of Country Residential (2).
Krystle then proceeded to read the following written submissions aloud to Council.
#1. Concern and objection to Bylaw No. 2013-07 of rezoning Agricultural land to Industrial/Commercial and Residential.
This land has been farmland for many decades, it borders on a slope to the Owlseye lake.
The 3 closest and most directly affected families, Poser, Ellis and Zellweger have resided here for 80 to over 100 years and endeavored to keep the area pleasant and peaceful.
We are also concerned about the increase of noise, traffic and recreational vehicles leading to disrespecting our land and the lake as well as the natural habitat of the many birds and geese.
We beg you, members of counsel to really consider these decisions and take into consideration what we leave for generations to come and how this will affect them.
Please, use the already designated industrial locations near St. Paul that are equipped for just that kind of business.
Harry & Ursula Zellweger
#2. RE: Rezoning of NE 35 58 10 W 4M
To: Council Members of County of St. Paul
We are submitting this letter as we are unable to attend in person.
We are opposed to the rezoning of this farmland for the following reasons.
The expression is used that "farmers are the backbone of our community." They remain and continue working hard for the community while other businesses have come and gone. We are a multigeneration farm family and are concerned about the amount of farmland that we are losing to other types of development. We would like to see this farmland remain as such.
An industrial/commercial complex such as is proposed will decrease property values. Very few people want this next to their backyard.
The roads in our area already are extremely busy. What plans are there to safely accommodate yet more traffic including big commercial trucks, etcetera?
Owlseye Lake gets huge flocks of migratory birds every spring and fall. In other areas where these essential migratory stops have been developed it has had devastating effects on these bird populations. Some may feel these birds are insignificant, but science tells us that they play an important role in our ecosystems.
We respectfully ask that you please consider these issues and how they will directly impact us.
Todd and Tanjah Eadie
#3 - We the Ellis family would prefer it be left as agricultural not rezoned into commercial or residential. The rules allow for one yard site per quarter we would not be concerned about that.
If the land is rezoned to commercial, how will containment of hazardous material be handled, for example oil, antifreeze, batteries things of that nature. If leakage happens, how is cleanup of property to take place, to protect lake and ground water? We will also have to deal with noise from test driving of vehicles.
If subdivision is put in, it will increase traffic pass out gate and we feel there is enough cars going pass already.
For these residential lots what is the water source? Will they bring in trucked water or from Owleye lake or drilling wells? Also what are they going to do about sewage for these lots?
Since the lake and area is already under stress, there will be more traffic driving around the lake, whether from quads or recreational vehicles.We have this concern, because it will disturb wildlife around the lake and in it.
Temple Ellis and Family
#4 - Concern and objection to the rezoning of part of NE 35-10-W4M
This land has been farmland for a long time.
Every spring and fall thousands of migratory birds touch down on the Owlseye lake and area on they're way north and on they're way south and stay for a time. It also is a natural habitat for other many animals and living things.
I have lived along the lake and close vicinity all my life and have always been interested in protecting what we have.
I am totally against this industrial commercial proposal. The pollution from all of the Antifreeze, Oil, Gas is not what such a nice peace of land should be used for.
And what about all the extra traffic, the noise and the overuse of roads ?
Please consider carefully.
#5 - Dear Members of the Council and Fellow Residents of St. Paul County:
We, Anita MacKinnon and Josh MacKinnon and Tia MacKinnon, do hereby vehemently oppose the rezoning and development of the land at NE 35-58-IO-W4M. We would like to go on record with this statement, including the reasons in this letter.
As a land owner in the County (NE-2-59-10-W4M), located less than I mile from the land in question, we strongly feel this development is not congruent with the landscape of this agricultural district and does not comply with your 2013 Strategic Plan and the 11 sustainable priorities itemized on Page 4. The very first 2 priorities read:
". Preserve the rural character of the County through the conservation of the quantity and quality of the agricultural land, maintaining the beauty and accessibility of the lakes, and good partnerships with urban neighbors.
• Encourage environmentally sound and sensitive development"
Rezoning this beautiful agricultural piece to RESIDENTlAL and COMMERICIAL would be in conflict to this 2013 Strategic Plan.
Secondly, we are extremely concerned about the environmental implications this rezoning will have near sloping lakefront property and kindly request that the findings from a third party environmental impact assessment be conducted to thoroughly assess potential environmental damage. Owlseye Lake has already had many stresses on it over the last few years, and the water has receded considerably. The primary function of this lake has been aquatic life, a resting and nesting place for literally thousands of birds, and a general safe haven for other animals. This lake needs to be protected from any further stresses of any kind of further development. This would be in harmony with the 2013 Strategic Plan.
Thirdly, once the land is rezoned, the soil pollution is also legally allowed to change. For example, lead levels are allowed to jump up 8.57 times higher. Mercury is allowed to jump up 7.6 times higher. There are 8 pages and well over 80 different chemicals and substances that the CCME (Canadian Council for Ministers of the Environment) has made public. We know that if some of any of these levels were achieved, that it could contaminate adjacent AGRICULTURAL land and/or the lake through runoff.
There are people not aware of the resulting implications that encourage this kind of development, however St. Paul County has always provided leadership when these kind of conflicts arise. You have made the County a safe place to raise families, caring for the health and welfare of their residents and the protection of the environment they live in.
Kindly consider these implications when making your decision.
Anita, Josh & Tia MacKinnon
Further to the letter of March 14, 2013 regarding the rezoning of NE 35-58-10-W4M; please accept this letter as an objection to the rezoning of the said property. As a family that, lives approximately 1 km from this area and has been a resident for the last 28 years; we have enjoyed the beautiful nature walks with our children/grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The amazing animals/birds and geese that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren see and ask about are priceless moments.
Instead they would be seeing unsightly destruction because of the Auto wreckers being so close to the lake, allowing commercial/industrial environmental damage; making an unsafe haven for the wonderful nature of animals/birds and geese. This would also affect the value of the properties in this area (decreasing). There would also be an increase in traffic/noise/dust-bringing more recreational vehicles such as quads and snowmobiles.
I would think it would be our duty to preserve all that that we can regarding the beautiful and wondrous of the our world's nature for future generations.
Joann Fika and Family
Reeve Upham then requested if anyone present wanted to speak in opposition to the proposed rezoning.
Paul Zellweger, on behalf of his family, does not feel it is appropriate to have an industrial site adjacent to Owlseye Lake. He is concerned about the environmental impact it will have on the lake as the property sits higher than the lake. He also feels that good agricultural land should be conserved for the future.
Carmel Riski, joint owner of SW 2-59-10-W4 is concerned about the impact that the shop will have on the environment. She also feels that the property will be unsightly which will decrease the value of her property.
Cora Lee Beaulieau owner of NE 2-59-10-W4 requested that the following letter be placed on the County record:
08 April 2013
RE: Opposition to By-law No. 2013-07 (A Change to Land Use Bylaw No.1486) Affecting future use of land at PNE TWP 35-RGE 10-West of the 4th Meridian
We are writing in opposition to the proposed change in land use zoning in the area described. We wish to have this letter of opposition placed on the County record.
The change proposed would allow both development of residential lots (potentially many homes located on each lot) as well as industrial/ commercial structures and activities. Such developments are extremely problematic for several reasons.
We chose this area carefully and located a farm here to enhance personal health and lifestyle but also to generate additional income and maintain our property values. We relied on the County's land use designations when we very specifically sought an area free of industrial and commercial, as well as dense residential uses. This farm is the largest investment of our lifetime and its value derives from not only qualities of our own land and improvements, but very much from the area and surroundings as well. Along with our friends and neighbours, this is what we need to protect.
We were encouraged to read the County of St Paul Strategic Plan-2013 online. The inclusion of Guiding Principles, points 1 and 2 (p. 3) and the first three bullets of Sustainable Priorities (p. 4), let us know that the County has committed to retaining the rural/agricultural character and also to protecting natural settings and water bodies. We trust that these stated priorities are reflected in all of the actions and decisions of staff and elected officials.
The noise and disruptive activity of industrial sites is not wrong or harmful in itself-it simply goes along with the nature of work done in industry. The placement is key however, as noise, pollution, the glare of night lighting and so on, are not at all compatible with this area and the current and longstanding history of sparse rural residential and agricultural use. The CCME's "Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines Summary Table" (see first table page attached) referenced also by other opponents, shows chemical pollution guidelines as much as 1,000 times higher for industrial versus residential or agricultural land uses. A change in zoning would effectively, then give permission for use of polluting chemicals at levels never before seen in this area. Worse, the slope to the lake shore from the midpoint of this property is about 8-10%--certainly adequate for storm runoff or spills to carry down into the lake water and vegetation.
The ongoing protection of Owlseye Lake is also very important to us and to other members of this community. This lake is a natural history landmark. There are literally thousands of Canada Geese, Snow Geese and other migratory birds that rely on this lake each fall and spring. These are very susceptible to all of the noted disruptions common to industrial activity. In fact, there are existing protective notations recorded for this east side of the lake and these are still to be clearly identified and considered.
We have relied on the County's land use zoning, with the focus on orderly development. This zoning avoids continuing ad hoc and piecemeal placement of various activities throughout our county. We strongly believe that this industrial/commercial (and also more dense residential development) is best placed within the zones already created and intended for such use. These do not belong within this peaceful and historically agricultural area.
Sincerely, Mark and Coralee Beaulieu
Valencia Poser spoke on behalf of Lothar, Irma and Mario poser who have been operating a family farm in the area for over 80 years. They do not feel that this prime agricultural land should be used for industrial purposes. The proposed development borders Owlseye Lake which is a natural habitat for many birds and animals and they feel that is will endanger this environmentally sensitive area. They also feel that the proposed development will decrease their property values.
Lynn Statter stated that there is already enough land zoned for industrial/commercial in the Town of St. Paul. She is concerned about prime agricultural land being swallowed up and the environmental damage it would cause to lakes and wetlands.
Reeve Upham then requested if there was anyone present to speak in favor of the proposed rezoning.
Scott Noel, applicant, spoke in favor of the proposed rezoning. He stated that he is proposing to build a mechanic shop not an auto wreckage as indicated by some of the residents in opposition and there will be some light duty vehicles parked on site. He also stated that he is prepared to build a berm around the site if required by environment and there are ways to address any noise concerns. They want to proceed with this development the right way, according to County Bylaws.
Lewis Noel also spoke in favor of the proposed rezoning. He too stated that it is not an auto wreckage. Adjacent landowners have shops along Owlseye Lake and he does not feel that he should be treated any differently. He then presented Council with a list of signatures in favor of the proposed rezoning.
Cora Lee Beaulieau concluded by suggesting that Council check the title to see if there is a protection note registered on title which pertains to the body of water.
After hearing from everyone present who wanted to speak in opposition to or in favor of the proposed rezoning, Reeve Upham declared the public hearing closed at 11:35 a.m.
The meeting was called back to order at 11:36 a.m.
Council requested that Administration check on the Protection Notice (PTN) which the delegation suggested was registered against PNE 35-58-10-W4.
Reeve Upham recessed the meeting at 12:00 p.m.