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Sludge facility denied by OMB (updated May 24 2016)

Please click here for FULL TEXT OF SHIRE OMB DECISION (pdf format).

The Ontario Municipal Board has denied the appeal of Shire Corp. to develop a sludge processing facility in Lincoln.

In its findings dated May 17, the OMB’s Blair Taylor highlights a host of reasons the board rejected the proposal.

Chief among them:

TOWN OFFICIAL PLAN

[278] The issue before the Board is whether the development application conforms to the Town Official Plan.

[279] Section 2.1.3(c) of the Official Plan would enable small scale commercial and industrial uses which are directly related to and serving the surrounding agricultural communities.

[280] First the Board finds that the development proposal would not primarily service the surrounding agricultural communities, which do not use NASM.

[281] The Board finds that the development proposal with up to 80 trucks per day, and requiring local road improvements ranging in cost to up to $1.3 million, for a facility that would be large enough to service the waste water needs of a municipality of 2,400 people, fails the test of being a small scale industrial use.

[282] Further the Board finds that no alternative sites were ever considered by the Applicant contrary to s. 2.1.3 (c)(ii).

[283] The Board finds based on the facts of this case, that the development proposal should be encouraged to locate in a hamlet or urban area, that there is an availability of alternative sites in urban areas, that there is no need for nor is it desirable to have the proposed use in the agricultural community, and that the Subject Lands are prime agricultural lands which could be maintained and utilized in a greenhouse operation where the existing lagoons could be part of that operation.

[284] Thus the Board finds that the development application does not conform to the in force and of effect Official Plan.

GOOD LAND USE PLANNING

[285] The Board finds that the development application does not constitute good land use planning as it fails to have appropriate regard for the protection of agricultural resources of the Province, is inconsistent with the PPS as it is not an agriculture-related use, does not conform to the NRPP and required an amendment to be filed, (which was not), does not conform to the Town Official Plan in that there was no demonstrated need or desirability of the development proposal for the Subject Lands, that no alternative sites were considered, and that the Subject Lands ought to be preserved for long-term agricultural use

IS IT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST?

[286] The Board finds that the public interest is best perceived through the lens of the public policy documents, which first and foremost would seek to preserve prime agricultural lands. This application if approved would for the foreseeable future, if not permanently, remove the Subject Lands from any possibility of agricultural use. The fact that the abutting 46 ha of agricultural lands were also acquired on the same date, by the same shareholders, raises questions as to their long-term use in agriculture if the Subject Lands were approved for a NASM storage facility. The Board does not find the development application in these circumstances to be in the public interest.

NEW OFFICAL PLAN

[287] The issue before the Board is whether the appeals against the impugned sections of the New OP ought to be upheld.

[288] With regard to the New OP and the two policies that are under appeal, the Board, finds that the two contested policies being s. 2.1.4.2 and s. 2.1.5.3 are consistent with the PPS seen through the local context, satisfy the Provincial interest to protect agricultural resources of the Province, and conform to the NRPP. In this regard the Board prefers the evidence of Ms. Walton, that in light of nature of agriculture within the

Town, that the prohibition with regard to certain industrial uses including the storage or processing of treated solid material that is left over from the municipal waste water treatment process is not a permitted use within the Specialty Agriculture and Prime Agriculture designations is appropriate.

[289] Additionally with regard to s. 2.1.5.3 concerning agriculture-related uses, similarly the Board finds in these circumstances the policies to be appropriate. Therefore the appeals against these two policies of the Official Plan are dismissed.

[290] Thus all appeals by the Applicant are wholly dismissed.

[291] Although costs were requested by MNECA, the Board finds that this is not an appropriate case for costs.

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