WINCHESTER – Shaw Road residents that kicked up a fuss and demanded answers over a potential agricultural equipment repair shop, got what they were asking for, but not the result.

The rezoning application put forward by Kees Van Winden to permit construction of a 50-by-55 foot facility on 5.7 acres of land was met with significant opposition during a public meeting Tues., July 16.

Several residents raised key issues and council deferred the decision on the property until answers could be provided.

Director of planning, building and by-law enforcement, Calvin Pol, addressed those concerns in a thorough report to council Tues., July 30.

Increased noise and dust were a primary concern for neighbours, who had asked if it was possible to move the shop further back.

Van Winden agreed to move his front yard set back to 50 metres and his side yard set back to 20 metres, which well exceeds the minimum standards by more than double.

Residents had also asked why another property wasn’t considered. When contacted by the township, Van Winden indicated he had considered 25 different properties and that some were not ready to sell within his timelines and other sites had property limitations or building issues. Van Winden had also solicited feedback from the immediate neighbours and none had objected, which was why he applied for the rezoning.

Pol also referred to the Provincial Policy Statement and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) on permitted uses for the property and in both cases the business is allowable.

Further to that, Pol used a case study from 2012 where the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) issued a ruling against a council and overturned a decision that denied the rezoning for a motor vehicle body shop, with certain conditions.

Traffic, outdoor storage, road load allowance and safety issues were also addressed.

Those in opposition were given an opportunity to review the report and were notified by staff of the meeting, which would render a council decision.

Satisfied with the in-depth report, Deputy-Mayor Al Armstrong voiced his support for Van Winden.

“We’ve indicated, this council and previous council, that we want to be business oriented and help local businesses,” he said. “Even if we were so bent not to encourage items like this, the likelihood of it being adopted anyway and thus making a good situation into an acrimonious situation and having the OMB turn it over and indicate to us that it’s poor planning and poor business conduct on our part is very high. I hope that message is clear. It constitutes good planning. It complies with the planning act and complies with the official plan.”

Mayor Tony Fraser praised the work of staff and Van Winden for his co-operation in the process.

Satisfied with the report, council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning.