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Official plan not yet official

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Objections filed late Friday by a major property owner has prompted town council to delay putting the new official plan into bylaw.

Coun. Deane Cunningham, who served as acting mayor for Monday night’s meeting in Mayor Witherspoon’s absence, said Abitibi-Consolidated’s lawyer had come forward with some concerns regarding some of its properties as they related to the new official plan.

Council gave the zoning and official plan bylaws first reading only Monday, and referred the concerns to the Planning and Development executive committee and the Planning Advisory Committee.

Those two committees are to meet with Abitibi-Consolidated to try and get the issues resolved. And hopefully, Coun. Cunningham added, the bylaws would get second and third reading at the next regular council meeting.

“If someone should appeal it, the appeal would be to the Ontario Municipal Board,” noted Planning and Development manager Ted Berry, adding it could be six months to a year before there would be a hearing there.

“We’d like to get the issues ironed out with the company sitting across the table rather than having them go to the OMB with an objection and further delay the project,” Coun. Cunningham added.

Delays could lead to confusion. Berry said the town has a potential developer who may require a zoning amendment but added being in transition between the present and the new complicated matters.

“You can’t deal with the new one until council adopts the bylaws,” he said, noting that obtaining a zoning amendment is a longer process under the current system.

The new official plan leaves the town with four land uses, down from 17 in the current one.

The town has been working on its new official plan for more than a year, with the total cost of the project coming in around $40,000.

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