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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Huron County Examines Changes To Bluewater Official Plan

Huron County | by Peter Jackson  

Suggested changes include changes to tree plantation rules.

Tree planting and severances were at the heart of debate by Huron County's Committee of the Whole, in passing Bluewater's Official Plan amendment.

Under provincial law, municipalities must review their Official Plans every five years.

County staff proposed a recommendation to remove designation of tree plantations for agriculture or natural environment, depending on the wishes of the landowner.

Changes in the wording of a proposed building inspection directive and removal of a proposed severance policy were also recommended.

County Councillor Tyler Hessel -- who is also Mayor of Bluewater -- says he doesn't take issue with timelines for changes, but they should be the result of Council discussion.

He believes it's fair for property owners to decide for themselves whether a planted woodlot would be become an environmental feature of the land, or be used as a cash crop.

Hessel says municipalities should be able to let their building inspectors decide whether an empty house can be lived in, or if it's beyond repair and should be demolished.

He contends that the municipality should be able to sever any land containing an empty schoolhouse or church which can be renovated as a home, or demolished and replaced.

Hessel notes that the idea comes from driving past long-unused institutional structures that are included on large properties.

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