PAC Minutes – June 6, 2005

The Town of Grand Bay-Westfield Planning Advisory Committee met for a regular meeting on Monday, June 6, 2005 at 8:07 p.m. with Chairman, Larry Chapman presiding.
All Members were present with the exception of Ron Daigle.
“…moved by Jim Burke to excuse Ron Daigle with cause….”
Seconded by Cllr. Little.  Carried.
“…moved by Ralph Stevens to accept as presented the May 16, 2005 Planning Advisory Committee Minutes….”
Seconded by Mel Steffens..  Carried.
“…moved by Cllr. Little to receive and file the Regular Council Minutes of  May 9, 2005 ….”
Seconded by James Evans.  Carried.
The Chairman requested Items 7(c) and 7(d) be added to the Agenda.
“…moved by Jim Burke to add letter received from Leo Hannigan dated June 2, 2005 to the Agenda as Item No. 7(c)….” Seconded by Ralph Stevens.  Carried.
“…moved by Ralph Stevens to add information package received from Doug Smith on June 3, 2005 to the Agenda as Item No. 7(d)….”
Seconded by Cllr. Little.  Carried.
No conflict declared.
Applicant, Doug Smith and lawyer, Stephen Horgan and surveyor, Ed DeSaulnier were present to speak in favor of the application.
Mr. Horgan addressed the Committee and noted that his client would have liked to have access to a copy of the Development Officer’s report prior to the meeting as may be the case in other jurisdictions.  However, it was stated to Mr. Horgan that it is a Policy of Council to provide such information only after the meeting but that he could have copies of the additional letter received.
Mr. Horgan then proceeded to give the following background information on this Application:

  • He noted that the Committee should not take into consideration an application before the Court of Queens Bench for an Order to Stop Work in their decision on this matter;
  • The Development Officer had provided Mr. Smith with a copy of the Zoning By-law sections and an application for an Excavation Permit which has subsequently been filled out and filed with the Town;
  • This Application to excavate land was initiated as a result of action taken by the Town against his client, Dean Construction Ltd., for violating the Town’s Zoning By-law;
  • Mr. Smith did not agree with the interpretation of the by-law.
  • The Town then brought an application to the Court of Queens Bench on a motion to have a Court Order issued to Stop Work on the site;
  • Mr. Smith filled out the Application and paid $1,000.00 and was then told that Council would address the matter after a Request for Variance to excavate within 15 m from a property line was made to PAC.
  • This matter is now being contested and is set to go back to court on Wednesday, June 8, 2005;
  • However, the Judge at the time of the preliminary hearing on June 1, 2005, advised that this should not interfere with PAC’s jurisdiction to make a decision on the request for variance;
  • He advised that prior to proceeding to Council with the application to excavate land, the issue of establishing a setback  within the 15 m is to be considered by the Committee.

Applicant, Doug Smith advised the Committee of the following:

  • He bought the right-of-way including a piece of property (subdivided from Westfield Country Store property) approximately two years ago with the intent of repairing the road (Edgewood Lane);
  • He met with the residents in the area and discussed methods of repairing the right-of-way;
  • He obtained permission by an adjacent property owner, Doug Parker, to remove some trees in order to do the work needed on the right-of-way;
  • The residents agreed to have the culvert removed on the opposite side of the road as it was 1 to 2 ft. higher than the right-of-way, now making the right-of-way a ditch;
  • He hauled in material from Musquash to do the work on the right-of-way, as the soil on the property was not suitable for a base for the joint driveway (private road);
  • He has concerns with regard to a retaining wall on the MacLean property, which is in need of repair;
  • At the time the Towns application to the Court, he was in the process of excavating as a means of removing a knoll to allow water to be directed away from Edgewood Lane.

The Chairman then asked for clarification with regard to No. 4(a) on the Application for Permit to Excavate Land, stating the reason for the Variance Request is to solve an ongoing water run off problem.
Applicant, Doug Smith, advised that the road was so bad that the Edgewood Lane right of way was nothing more than a ditch; it needed fixing and the fill placed on the road has been re-graded several times with his machinery on the site.
Ed DeSaulniers of DeSaulniers Surveys Ltd. was present and addressed the matter as follows:

  • Mr. DeSaulniers made reference to pictures provided to the committee depicting part of the water problem Mr. Smith referred to as being from a  Hydro pole on the edge of the Jackson property looking down towards the river where there is a 4½% grade and where the water accumulates and crosses Mr. Hannigan’s driveway, causing the road to be washed out at that location.
  • Mr. Smith proposes to remove part of the knoll so that it is only a 2% grade;
  • This change in grade from 4½% to 2% will slow the flow of the water;
  • The proposal is to put 1 m deep ditches on either side of the new driveway elevation, and put a culvert to direct water to the lower side of the property;
  • He noted that 1 m ditches are not required to be that deep, but the design follows DOT standard highways;
  • The cut along the proposed driveway work would be about 2½ feet deep on an average of the total length;
  • He had no comment on the amount of material removed from the site to this point, as he has no professional ability to determine exact original grades after the material has been removed.

The Chairman then asked for clarification as to what is actually being proposed, as the Committee has concerns that there will be a huge hole left after the excavation of this knoll is done.  Mr. DeSaulniers stated  that there is no plan to excavate the entire knoll, only enough to change the existing grade to eliminate the water run off problem.
Mr. Smith then advised the Committee that due to the fact he was requested to make an Application, he indicated a depth of excavation at 3 m, which is in excess of what is required.
Mr. Smith circulated a picture depicting water on the driveway where it turns south from the Swan property towards Edgewood Lane, (but not where Mr. Hannigan’s driveway meets Edgewood Lane – the location of the proposed culvert).
There was no one else present speaking in favor of this Application.
The following residents were present speaking against this Application and expressing their concerns:

1. Janet Jackson/Peter Jackson

  •  Mr. Smith was well aware when he purchased the property that it was zoned Residential and had insufficient access;
  • They and other residents in the area are concerned with protecting their water supply;
  • Concerned about future erosion due to loss of vegetation and sod being removed;
  • She is under the impression that Dean Construction Ltd. does not have full legal title to the land and should not be allowed to make any changes until it is cleared.

Mrs. Jackson also advised that she is representing her neighbours, Michael and Jocelyn Steeves, who could not attend but had concerns with a natural spring on their property.
Mrs. Jackson submitted to the Committee for their file, a letter listing her concerns.

2. Leo Hannigan

  • He applauds the work Mr. Smith has done to improve Edgewood Lane;
  • However, his concern is that the knoll in question is only sand and if cut down 3 m, there will be a huge hole left behind;
  • In his opinion, this will create a huge water problem causing erosion and will have an effect on his driveway and undermine his house.

3. Murray/Louisa MacLean

  • Clarification is needed regarding proposal to excavate material;
  • In his opinion, the removal of soil from the site that they have witnessed over the past 2 years is against the Town’s by-laws;
  • He made reference to various criteria/guidelines considered on the Information for Applicants of Variances Form needing to be minor in nature and reasonable;
  • The current excavation has resulted in water run off down the road rather than in the ditches that existed before;
  • He is concerned that the motive for the variance requested is to establish a gravel pit;
  • He also referred to concerns he expressed in his letter dated April 12, 2002;
  • The culvert mentioned by Mr. Smith in his letter to the neighbors on Edgewood Lane has not been replaced;
  • There was no agreement with the residents to have the knoll removed;
  • Would  like to know where the water is going to be redirected once the culverts are removed;
  • He noted that he has witnessed as many as 15 truck loads per day removing material from the property.

Mr. MacLean submitted to the Committee for their file, his list of concerns.
The Chairman then pointed out to the residents that although PAC has taken into consideration all their concerns, the Committee can only deal with the Application before them, which is for a reduced set back to excavate land within 15 m from property lines.
Mr. Horgan then reiterated to the Committee that the area where the work on the property needs to be done, does not come close to requiring a depth of 3 m as indicated on the Application.
The Committee had concerns with regard to the contours depicted on the new information package provided by Ed DeSauliniers Surveys Inc.  The Chairman then recommended that due to the fact the Committee did not have sufficient time to review the information package provided this evening, that the matter be tabled to the next meeting.
“…moved by Mel Steffens that this item be Tabled to the next PAC meeting of Monday, June 20, 2005….”
Seconded by Ralph Stevens.  Carried.

“…moved by Ralph Stevens to adjourn at 9:07 p. m….”
Seconded by Jim Burke.  Carried.Respectfully submitted,

Larry Chapman,
PAC Chairman
Laylia Nice,
PAC Secretary