Public consultation on the new zoning bylaw
Mo Laidlaw
Pontiac

At the September 10 Pontiac council meeting, James Riordan asked about the format for the public consultation on the updated zoning bylaw on Saturday September 14: A presentation followed by question periods with the urbanist (town planner). Questions on individual properties will be dealt with by staff in the following days.

Rick Knox asked if the updated zoning bylaw would address his problems with heavy construction equipment on the neighbouring lot. Mayor Eddie McCann said that the section in the bylaw, requiring a fence or hedge to hide equipment, does not imply that heavy equipment can be stored anywhere in the municipality. The intention is that someone who uses for example a backhoe in their work, can drive home and park their vehicle overnight, not warehouse equipment.

Bill Twolan repeated his demand that the entire length of route 148 should be zoned commercial, which would solve his frequent problems with the CPTAQ. Mr McCann, said, “It’s not going to happen.” (Agricultural zoning is a provincial responsibility, not municipal.) “It’s a rural municipality and that’s what it will remain.”

The public consultation was well attended with over 50 members of the public present. The entire council was there, as well as director general Sylvain Bertrand and assistant dg Ben Kuhn. The urbanist (planner) Stephane Doré, head of planning department Julie Galipeau, and secretary Natacha Papillon were present.

Safety, conformity within the MRC
M. Doré explained that the main changes are removal of allowed uses to ensure conformity within the MRC des Collines, and for safety. Provincial laws on shoreline protection and landslide risk zones are now included. The main addition is the PIIA, dealing with architectural integration. (Plans d’implantation et d’intégration architecturale.)

Many people had questions about their own zone. Pierre Robillard was told that R4 (the McKay subdivision and adjacent residential areas), is subject to exactly the same restrictions as before.

Jacques Lizotte, owner of a farm next to a residential zone worried if this would decrease the value of his farm. “You give permits to build houses next to my farm. What if I want to sell to a pig farmer? Ms. Galipeau replied that permits are issued according to what is there now, not what may be there in the future.

Some of Barrie Marfleet’s questions were to do with definitions of terms in the English translation, which confusingly included the word “coastline” as well as “waterline.” (Obviously, to mother-tongue anglos, there is no “coast” in Pontiac.) “Coastline” is a translation of “littoral”, meaning from the high water line towards the centre of the watercourse (the shore), as distinct from “shoreline” or “rive”, used to describe the area above the high water mark (the riverbank).

Carl Hager asked about the PIIA - “Does this mean that all houses will have to look the same?” Mr McCann replied, “No, we don’t want all houses looking the same, but we do want to preserve our old and historical buildings.” The PIIA will be enforced through building permits.

Kevin Brady thanked council for their efforts on updating the bylaw. He suggested that some of the guidelines in the PIIA may conflict with energy efficient housing. “My house is oriented south to take advantage of the sun, to reduce heating costs in the winter.” (Passive solar heating). Mr Doré conceded that this is a good point and he will take a look at it.

Mayor McCann explained the delays in holding this consultation as due to absent councillors. “It was not deliberate to hide anything or rush it through. There will be minor adjustments to the text following the public input.” He said he expects the bylaw to be passed at a special meeting on October 1. This is open to the public.