Monarch Plastics – a letter to SouthFields Village Community

The residents of the Southfields Village Community

I am pleased the residents of the Southfields Village community continue to take the time to become informed and contribute to their community’s planning and, in particular, the proposed application by Monarch Plastics.

As of this writing (December 8, 2014) a site plan application for Monarch Plastics has not been submitted to the Town. As many of you know, processing a site plan applications does not require public notice however, as the Monarch Plastics application comes forward, I will work with you to keep residents of the Southfields Village community informed of its status.

To recap the planning context for this proposed application; the land currently owned by Monarch Plastics was zoned “Prestige Industrial” on May 26, 2008 – the same time as the adjacent residential and open space uses were approved.  Monarch Plastics’ proposed use does fall within the purpose and intent of the approved ‘Prestige Industrial’ zoning.  As such, and subject to meeting the conditions contained within the Prestige Industrial designation, Monarch Plastics has ‘as of right zoning’ permission to develop its property under the town’s current, approved (i) Official Plan, the (ii) Mayfield West Secondary Plan and our (iii) Zoning By-Law.    

The question has been asked, can the Town not simply change the zoning to restrict or eliminate this particular use? The Town can initiate a rezoning based on (i) the need to change a particular land use so that it is consistent with the Official Plan, or (ii) to develop interests for Town-driven activities. The costs associated with a Town led rezoning are borne by the taxpayers, and may include the value of the land if purchased by the Town, and associated legal costs.  In this case, the zoning of the Monarch Plastics property is consistent with the Official Plan and the Mayfield Secondary Plan and there are no Town interests to be served by rezoning the property.

Candidly, I could not, in all good conscience, support spending taxpayer’s dollars pursuing a course of action to invent a ‘Town interest’ in order to frustrate the Monarch Plastics application.

As I’ve mentioned, a site plan application for Monarch Plastics has not been submitted to the Town.  If and when it is submitted Monarch Plastics will be seeking approval to construct a proposed facility on their lands – they will be required to meet all zoning and development guidelines and standards of the Town. The site plan is submitted and reviewed by Town staff.

If it is in conformity with all planning guidelines under the Town’s Official Plan and the Zoning Bylaw, it will be approved.  General information on the site plan approval process can be found here: http://www.caledon.ca/en/townhall/Site-Plan-Approval-intro.asp.  It is important to restate there is no requirement under, The Planning Act or the Town’s polices for public consultation within the site plan approval process.

Some have asked if the Town or the residents can appeal the site plan application to the Ontario Municipal Board.  In fact, only the owner of the property can appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) if the Town chose not to approve the site plan application. 

As many of you know, Ken Bokor of the SVRA and I met with senior representatives of Monarch Plastics. I believe Monarch has demonstrated a willingness to work with the Southfields community to ensure our collective, legitimate concerns are addressed.  Just to be clear, as a resident of Ward 2, I share our community’s concerns and as your council representative I will actively carry them forward.  However, representation is not exclusive; like many other businesses and landowners in Ward 2, I must also represent the interests of Monarch Plastics.

I believe Monarch Plastics has taken a positive step toward working with our community; a less conscientious developer may have proceeded directly to site plan approval on an as of right zoning permission without engaging the public at all.  Given the planning framework and the facts surrounding this application and considering Monarch Plastic’s apparent desire to work with us, it is prudent to work to find a ‘win-win’ solution for both the community and the proponent.

To this end, I am suggesting the following:

I will personally contact the principals of Monarch Plastics to gauge their interest in continuing to work with the Southfields community to explore opportunities to alleviate legitimate concerns about their development during the upcoming site plan application process.

Assuming there is agreement in on the part of Monarch Plastics, we will establish a small community working group (five to six members) to represent the interests of the broader Southfields community and work with Monarch Plastics to address our concerns as they move through the site plan application process.

As I have said, it is important the residents of the Southfields Village community continue to have meaningful input into the development of our community.  I commit to sharing any and all pertinent information I have gathered with you and I encourage you to contact me directly.  I have already met many residents in person and I am happy to continue to do so.  I look forward to hearing from you regarding this approach.

Sincerely,

Johanna Downey

Regional Councillor

Ward 2

416-434-4102

johanna.downey@caledon.ca

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