Change is Inevitable
Change around the lakes is inevitable because residents’ needs and visions change over time.
The Town of Gravenhurst is responsible for ensuring change to properties meets its rules, as defined in documents such as the Official Plan and the Comprehensive Zoning By-law. Change that is consistent with these rules will be approved by the Town.
When proposed changes aren’t consistent with the rules, a zoning amendment or minor variance may be requested by the resident proposing the change.
KLRA Role in Change
It is a core role of ratepayers’ associations in general to play a role in development in its community – the KLRA is no exception. According to our recent survey, residents strongly support this role, which involves two primary areas of activity.
Influencing Planning and By-Law Development
The KLRA has been very involved with the Town on the topic of development, over a long period of time. Both the Official Plan and Comprehensive Zoning By-law have Kahshe Lake-specific sections, driven largely by the Kahshe Lake Plan. Our active intervention has influenced the rules that apply to most development activities.
Commenting on Applications
When zoning amendments or minor variance applications are made, the Town advises the KLRA so that we may provide input into the Town’s decision. Our principal interface with the Town is through letters signed by the President and through the Town and District Liaison.
In 2012 the KLRA Board of Directors adopted the following policy for reviewing Minor Variance and Zoning Amendment Applications:
- The KLRA will request that the Town of Gravenhurst inform it of each Minor Variance and Zoning Amendment Application (“Application”) for properties bordering Kahshe and Bass Lakes, as has been the practice for some time.
- The KLRA’s Town and District Liaison Committee may review each Application, and while doing so, will inquire with the Town’s Development Services staff to determine its stance on the Application.
- In reviewing an Application, the Town and District Liaison Committee will be guided by these criteria:
- Impact on the biological environment: Would the proposed development damage the natural environment in a way that is material, long-term, and unacceptable to the members of the Kahshe community? This criterion would be applied separately to the impact on the forest, the shoreline, and the quality of the adjacent water.
- Impact on the visual environment: Would the proposed development permanently diminish the appearance of the property to the extent that other members of the community, acting reasonably, would report that their enjoyment of the location had been materially and negatively affected?
- Property value: Would anything about the development diminish the property values of the immediate neighbours or of the general Kahshe community?
- Compatibility: Is the requested change reasonably compatible with the use and appearance of the immediately surrounding properties? And with the general property use in the Kahshe community?
- Neighbours: To the best of our knowledge do any of the immediate neighbours object to the application? Conversely, are they in favour of it? Do they consider the proposed change to be good for the immediate area and wish to see it approved?
- Town Staff: Do we have any information from Town staff or members of Council that would make us better informed about the application and help us to render a more reasoned opinion?
- Limiting factors: Are there any aspects of the property – e.g. terrain, nature of the shoreline, location of property lines, location of power lines, rights of way – that restrict the development options of the owner and make the proposed application the only reasonable alternative?
- The Town and District Liaison Committee will involve other KLRA organizational components in reviewing large or sensitive Applications.
- The KLRA’s Town and District Liaison Committee will provide a recommendation regarding the application to the KLRA Board. The KLRA Board (or a designated subset of it) may decide to send a letter to the Town indicating its stance on the Application. If a letter is to be sent, it will be prepared and sent by the KLRA President, and a copy will be provided to the KLRA Secretary for archival purposes.
- The KLRA’s Town and District Liaison Committee will analyze the nature of Applications over time with a view to amending the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw to a) reduce unreasonable demands on residents seeking building permits, and b) to fix weaknesses that may become apparent.
TOWN OF GRAVENHURST PLANNING
A key source of information is the Gravenhurst planning department, which manages official plan and zoning bylaw information. More information can be found here: http://www.gravenhurst.ca/en/yourtownhall/planning.asp