Woodstock eyes approving amended municipal plan early in 2024

by | Jan 9, 2024

New planning and zoning bylaws will combine former town plan and rural land-use designations into single document

Woodstock council will oversee final amendments and officially pass the amended Municipal Plan and zoning bylaws early in 2024.

While the issue was not on the agenda for Woodstock council’s first meeting of 2024 on Jan. 9, Mayor Trina Jones said following a public presentation on Dec. 12 that council expected to give first, second and third readings of the bill as early as possible in the new year.

Woodstock Director of Planning Andrew Garnett addressed the regular council meeting following the public hearing, recommending council ensure the new plan meets all concerns before approving third and final reading.

“We have lots of time,” he said. “We have six months from tonight to give third reading.”

Garnett said the all-encompassing bill requires detailed study before approval but noted changes would remain possible after the first and second readings.

“There is a lot there,” he said.

During the public hearing, Jennifer Brown of Dillon Consulting, the firm overseeing the municipal plan and zoning bylaw amendments, delivered a presentation to council.

“It’s an important pinnacle this evening,” she told council.

While the amended plan is near completion, Brown explained, she reminded council it has until third and final reading to introduce changes.

Brown outlined the amendment overview, which provided broad public engagement, and, as she had done in several previous presentations, she detailed the goals of the updated plan. She explained the new plan would integrate policy direction from the South-Central Carleton County rural plan into the Woodstock Municipal plan using the new boundaries.

Brown stressed the proposed amendments aim to increase access to affordable housing, maintain rural lifestyles and character, increase employment opportunities, investment and local business and industry, expand transportation options, improve infrastructure, and enhance recreational programs.

Brown explained she, other consultants, Garnett and others set out from the beginning to ensure the expanded municipality’s rural residents and business owners face little change under the new plan.

“The new town of Woodstock is a rural-based community,” she said.

Brown said the new plan hopes to provide more significant innovation to residential development, noting developers reached out to clarify issues surrounding their projects.

For example, she outlined an unnamed developer’s vision for the former Cosy Cabin property in Lower Woodstock.

She explained the developer envisions constructing 90 residential units in three buildings, with the potential to include one or more retail or commercial businesses on the ground floor of the buildings.

Brown explained that this project and others would benefit from a plan that allows high-density residential combined with low-impact commercial space such as offices, laundromats, low-traffic retail, or convenience stores.

Brown also identified the Lockard Mill Road area of Jacksonville as requiring zoning updates. She explained existing businesses such as Tarp-Rite and Valley Refrigeration will require an industrial designation.

Brown also cited Cooks Construction’s ongoing plans to develop a large parcel of land north of Eastwood Drive, including a 200-unit mini-home park and other residential developments.

Brown explained that some residents had raised concerns about potential mining within the new town boundaries. She added the province requested Woodstock to be “open and receptive” to mining options but reminded councillors the proposed municipal plan requires any mining proposal to go through a public process involving PAC and council.

Brown recommended that mining fall under a special section of the industrial zoning designation concerning resource extraction.

The proposed municipal plan includes a regional commercial centre zone along Connell Street from the intersection with Connell Park Road to the Trans Canada Highway overpass.

Brown explained the municipal plan and zoning is a living document which could be amended by approval of council, adding the new plan would remain in place until a full review in 2030.

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