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Proposed amendments for Hillier Avenue area struck down by Stephenville council

Coun. Mike Tobin shared his views on two proposed amendments for the Hillier Avenue area at the Stephenville town council meeting. He was one of the four council members who voted in favour of the proposed amendments not going ahead.
Coun. Mike Tobin shared his views on two proposed amendments for the Hillier Avenue area at the Stephenville town council meeting. He was one of the four council members who voted in favour of the proposed amendments not going ahead. - Frank Gale

Two proposed amendments that would have allowed development in the Hillier Avenue area of Stephenville were struck down by council on Thursday.

The amendments would have allowed Country Living Residential and Rural development to take place in the area.

During the regular general meeting, Coun. Maurice Hynes said the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment had advised the town that the Water Resources Management Division will not support residential development with individual wells and septic tanks.

He said the department made some strong recommendations where it will not register these proposed amendments, so he moved the town not proceed with approving the two amendments.

Coun. Laura Aylward said her view is that a proper assessment of the area needs to be done and that a desktop assessment done by FracFlow Consultants Inc. back in 2008 didn’t have the detailed analysis they need.

She said the town had used the road in the Hillier Avenue area for 25 years and during the 25 years she’s been on council this has been an ongoing issue.

Aylward said 20 years ago council approved for people on Hillier Avenue to have services and they do have some services but also pay full taxes like others.

She said as the years went by she disagreed with development taking place in the area but has now changed her mind again and believes landowners there should be able to develop.

“There is a need to do a proper assessment of what’s going on there. I will not vote in favour of this this motion to stop these people from being able to develop,” she said.

Coun. Mike Tobin said there was money spent and studies done in 2008 and 2011 and he doesn’t believe more money needs to be spent.

“I’m not in favour of any more consultations,” he said.

Hynes said that maybe council raised the hopes of people developing in the Hillier Avenue area when it proposed these amendments, but they have received key pieces of information that has changed things.

“There are strong recommendations on what could happen and I think we need to err on the side of caution,” he said.

A vote was taken and four council members: Coun. Don Gibbon, Coun. Tobin, Coun. Hynes and Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow voted in support of the motion; while Coun. Aylward voted against.

Coun. Mark Felix was absent from the meeting and Mayor Tom Rose had declared himself in a conflict of interest and left the room.

Details of proposed amendment – Hillier Avenue

Proposed changes to the Country Living Residential Zone:

Remove Condition 1, which requires development to be connected to municipal water and sewer services.

Increase the minimum lot size for single dwellings from 450 square meters to 5,550 square meters.

Change the provisions of Condition 2 to establish a ceiling of six Animal Units for the number of animals that can be kept on a single property and set a minimum lot size based on the number of animals to be kept.

Proposed changes to the Rural Zone:

Set the minimum lot size of 5.0 hectares for an agricultural property.

Proposed rezonings:

Rezone approximately 15 hectares of land in the vicinity of Hillier Avenue from Comprehensive Development Area-residential to Country Living Residential.

Rezone approximately 50 hectares of land in the vicinity of Hillier Avenue from Comprehensive Development Area-Residential to Rural.

Rezone a 20-meter strip of land along the shoreline of a pond located west of Hillier Avenue from Comprehensive Development Area-Residential to Environmental Protection to create a conservation buffer.

Source: Town of Stephenville

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