By Belle Hatfield
Yarmouth Town Council has approved a proposal to open up lands east of Pleasant Street for commercial development.
No one appeared to speak at a public hearing held on Thursday, March 14. Later that evening at its regular meeting council voted unanimously to open up the lands in question.
These changes are recommended by town planner Arthur MacDonald and come in response to an application to rezone a property at 101 Forest St. The rezoning will change the use of all the lands between Clements Avenue and Pleasant Street and between Parade and Forest streets that are now zoned M-I (general industrial) on the future generalized land-use map.
When the proposal was considered at the February meeting of the planning advisory committee, the committee voted to recommend refusing the application.
The committee’s objections were outlined in the planner’s written request for a decision from town council. The committee felt “the proposal would significantly increase the amount of land zoned for commercial uses and would be detrimental to existing commercial areas that are struggling and that this was not the right time to increase the amount of commercially zoned lands.”
In his report MacDonald wrote, “Staff felt that the re-designation and rezoning to enable commercial uses will create new opportunities rather than take away from existing commercial businesses.”
So council had to weigh the recommendation of its planner against the recommendation of its advisory committee (on which four members of council serve). In the end council heeded the recommendations of its planner.
When council’s decision is ratified these lands will become available for both commercial and industrial development in a CI-4 zone. Just about every commercial use that is now allowed in the C-2 zone (Starrs Road) will be allowed in that zone. Some examples are: retail shops, grocery stores, wholesalers, personal service, restaurants, gas stations. About the only thing excluded is that there will be no establishments like lounges, bars and cabarets. The area was considered to be too close to the high school to allow that kind of activity.
These uses are in addition to the industrial uses, like transportation facilities, bulk storage petroleum storage facilities, fisheries-related or marine-related industrial uses other than fish or food processing – that are already allowed in the area.
The proposal is being driven by applications from businesses interested in taking advantage of the new traffic on Forest Street due to the high school and other developments.
Council’s decision must be advertised to provide an opportunity to appeal. The bylaw changes will come into effect at the end of the appeal period.