White Horse Plains Planning District’s four board members heard presentations for and against a proposed 45-unit condominium project in St. Francois Xavier at a public hearing on April 10.
The members have to vote on whether or not they approve the RM of St. Francois Xavier’s request to have the former Medicine Rock Café property rezoned from commercial central to residential multiple family use.
The SFX councillors voted 3-2 in favour of passing the second reading of the zoning bylaw amendment on Jan. 15. But before they can give the amendment a third and final reading, the planning board is required to hold a public hearing and then vote.
Planning board chairperson Yvonne Wood said about 50 people attended the hearing.
"The board’s purpose is to hear people," she said.
St. Francois Xavier resident Dwayne Clark was one of those appearing in opposition to the zoning amendment. He and his family run a bed and breakfast out of their home near the Medicine Rock Café property owned by Norm and Peggy Van Eslander.
He said his main objection is that the proposed development contravenes the municipality’s secondary plan passed in 2011 to govern future development.
"Development is supposed to tie into the municipal road network," he said.
While the condo project couldn’t proceed without having the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation review the proposal as part of the development agreement, Clark believes allowing vehicles owned by condo residents to use a single access to PTH 26 will be dangerous.
He said the community’s elementary school, daycare and community hall are located close by, and they generate more vehicle traffic.
He also pointed out that the rezoning would eliminate commercial land within the village.
Wood said she and the other planning board members requested information on the secondary plan to help them understand the implications of the zoning bylaw amendment.
"It’s not black and white," she said.
The board is meeting again on April 17, but it’s possible that they might defer a vote on the amendment. In the case of a split vote, the amendment will be approved, and the planning board’s decision can’t be appealed.