By Chad Ingram
Published April 28 2016
Minden Hills council has denied arequest from Allsaw Pentecostal Church for “an accessory use of upto nine trailers” on the church property along County Road 21.
Earlier this month councillorsdiscussed a rezoning application request from the church'sadministration which is constructing an addition to the building.
Technically the church which hasstood at the location some 75 years is a legal non-complying usesince the property has been under rural zoning.
To permit the construction of theaddition the request was for the 2.5-acre property to be rezoned ascommunity facilities exception four (CF-4).
That rezoning request was an easy onefor Minden Hills councillors to grant at their April 28 meeting.However granting permission for a number of trailers to be used andstored on the property was not.
As reported previously in the Times during an April 14 committee-of-the-whole meeting the issue oftrailers on the church property was discussed. For a number of yearsthe trailers have been stored on the property used for short periodsduring the summer months for what township planner Ian Clendeningcalled “staging” purposes. Basically it's customary for speakersand members of church groups to stay on the property typically a dayor two at a time before heading off to camp in other parts of theprovince.
A neighbour told councillors during anApril 14 public meeting that she was concerned about sewage from thetrailers as well as noise.
In 2011 the church applied for arezoning permit to accommodate the trailers but following whatClendening has called “poor advice” from a township planningconsultant at the time applied for a temporary use permit instead.
That temporary use permit was grantedby the previous council expiring in 2014. Clendening toldcouncillors at the committee-of-the-whole meeting that he believedchurch members thought they had done due diligence and that the usewould be eventually be rolled into a bylaw.
The trailer issue came to light earlierthis month because of the rezoning application for the addition.
During the April 28 meeting churchmembers made a presentation to councillors.
“These trailers are not forcommercial use” Donna Both said. “We absolutely don't considerour property a campground or plan to become one.”
Both added that sewage did not drainonto the property that the trailers were typically used just onenight a time and suggested that the township grant accessory use tothe current owners only.
“We are a well-established and strongchurch body” she said. “We don't plan on leaving.”
Councillor Pam Sayne said she had adifficult time understanding how the situation was any different fromallowing a cottage owner have their friends stay in trailers on acottage property.
Councillor Jean Neville called thesituation a Pandora's Box and said she didn't want to see thetownship setting precedents.
“I have a lot trepidation about thistrailer use” Neville said. “Anybody with two acres of land cansay 'Well I can have one as well.'”
“My concerns are around settingprecedents also” said Councillor Jeanne Anthon.
Deputy-reeve Cheryl Murdoch stressedthe only reason council was even having the discussion was becausechurch members had come looking for a building permit for theiraddition.
“The process is what the process isand I feel badly about it but we have to play by the rules we have”said Reeve Brent Devolin.
Council voted to deny the request foraccessory use.