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Committee of adjustments OK’s bylaw relief for new fire station



 

The town’s committee of adjustment approved granting relief to a front yard setback for the new Amherstburg fire station to be built at the Libro Centre.


That approval did come with concerns from some members of the committee, with the belief the fire station could be pushed back from County Road 18 so that it is far enough away from the road.


“Should Council decide to proceed with the Fire Station, this minor variance will be required to be approved in order for timelines to be met. As such Administration is proactively seeking the approvals to avoid any delays in time which may affect costs should Council decide to proceed,” town planner and committee secretary/treasurer Janine Mastronardi said in a report to the committee. “The applicant is proposing the construction of a Fire Station fronting on County Road 18 on the subject property with a front yard setback of 14m and two driveways, one 6.7 metres in width and one 30 m in width.”

Mastronardi said a minor variance was being sought to allow relief from a section of a bylaw that requires a 25m minimum front yard depth for non-residential uses. The proposed development has a front yard setback of 14 m.


“The applicant is also requesting relief from Zoning By-law 1999-52, as amended, Section 3(23)(i)(ix) which permits a maximum driveway width of 10 m for agricultural uses. The proposed development has one driveway width of 6.7m and one driveway width of 30m,” she added. “Therefore, the amount of relief requested is 11 m in front yard setback to permit a 14m front yard setback from County Road 18 and 20 metres in driveway width to permit a 30 m driveway width on County Road 18.”


Mastronardi said the county road setback is in compliance and the agricultural setback for this public setback is greater than what the county road setback requires. 


Committee member Terris Buchanan wanted Montone’s response to the suggestion from a nearby resident about moving the entrance/exit to Meloche Road. Montone said that was originally considered but “negotiating the intersection becomes difficult and excessively expensive because we would be required to control the traffic signals.”


“The majority of calls we will receive for this station are actually in the core, which means having to turn left,” he added. “We would need to control the traffic signals and that’s in the neighbourhood of $600,000.”


Buchanan noted the request for 11m of relief from the bylaw was being requested and wondered if the building could just be pushed back 9m, noting it is already on municipally-owned land at the Libro Centre.


“By moving the building back, that is going to reduce the amount of open spaces currently used for recreational purposes – soccer fields, etc.,” said Montone. “We’re already by placing the building in the location that it is, that is going to reduce the amount of open space that can be used for recreational activities. So we tried to place it to maximize the location and minimize the negative impact on the open sports fields.”


Buchanan also wanted to know the length of a fire truck, with Montone adding when a vehicle is pulled out on the “apron” outside of a fire station, sufficient space is required.


“We need the vehicles to be able to clear the doors before they begin to turn,” he said.


Buchanan said he was concerned about distance from the road allowance, noting sometimes vehicles have to pull onto it on occasion.


“If you have a 15m truck and a 14m-long front yard, you don’t have enough room to park that without blocking the road allowance,” said Buchanan.


“But not the road,” responded Montone.


Buchanan expressed discomfort with parking that close to the road, particularly when there is room to move the building back. He was concerned about how close the building and driveways are to County Road 18, also known as Pike Road or Simcoe St.


“I would invite you to take a look at what we have right here at town hall. There will be a greater distance than what you see there,” said Montone. “You will be able to be setback a greater distance from the road than what we have here.”


Montone added there has been “sufficient allowance” made for the amount of people that could potentially use the new fire station at any one time. 


Mastronardi added that the driveway in front will not be used for parking, just for the exit, and parking is inside the building or in the rear.


Committee chair Anthony Campigotto noted the distance to turn a fire truck, and believed the way it is set up now “is an ideal situation because it provides an extra buffer for safety.” Buchanan questioned what would happen if the road was widened to four lanes.


“It’s a major road,” said Buchanan. “That’s my concern. We’ve got nine metres in behind. It’s taking away a bit of a field but we’ve got it, why not use it? It would make it safer for everyone. They can pull the trucks ahead nine metres if they want to see the road.”


Campigotto said there is sufficient land, even if the road is widened, and believes there still is a greater degree of safety when exiting. There are traffic calming measures planned to indicate to drivers fire trucks are responding to a call, he added.


Manager of planning services Chris Aspila added if any future development in the area were to occur in that area, it would have to account for the new fire station. If there are any future alterations to County Road 18, it would be subject to an environmental assessment process and an “engineered solution” would take everything into consideration.


Mastronardi said the transportation master plan that is being proposed calls for slowing traffic in that area of County Road 18 and not to widen lanes. 


Committee member Don Shaw said he likes the location of the entrance/exit, noting if there was an emergency when vehicles are leaving the Libro Centre, he wouldn’t want to navigate that.


“It’s a good starting point. You can go in all directions,” said Shaw, of the driveway access. “I’m not concerned about the distance off the road. I think it’s adequate.”

 

Committee of adjustments OK’s bylaw relief for new fire station

By Ron Giofu

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