Severance decision provokes appeals

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Three groups plan to appeal a Huron County decision to create a non-farm rural residence in a prime agricultural area


My farm is less than a mile away from the proposed severance, and, as such, I have seen this property almost every day for over 50 years.

For about the first half of my life to date, the property proposed to be severed was used as a cow pasture, simply because it was too low-lying, and therefore, too wet to be used for anything else - for the past 30 years, it has been re-forested and not used for any agricultural purposes at all. Therefore, to say this subject property is, in any way, shape, or form, prime agricultural land, is somewhat of a mis-representation - more to the point, it isn't even good residential land, but I digress.

It's just as much of a stretch to say this severance would restrict local agricultural operations because the closest farm is already limited by three existing houses, and the addition of another house, wouldn't adversely affect that farm any more than the already-existing residences.

Ther biggest problems farm groups face in this situation, is that they're trying to re-argue the politics of "domino theory", and that could easily backfire on them because Hearings Officers sometimes get quite-testy with people who aren't prepared to focus on the merits of the case at hand.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Agreed, as most planners and OMB decision makers will tell you, one of the key overriding principles of the planning act is to be “flexible” in interpreting local and provincial guidelines in conjunction with each application's merits. Therefore, the weights of the "merits" of "each individual severance application" have the "flexibility" to trump local and provincial guidelines. Furthermore, each OMB decision is NOT to be deemed as “precedent setting” as in initiating the “domino effect”.

If everyone stopped the hand-wringing about what this severance will "mean", but instead looked at this property, then looked at the properties adjoining it, and then looked at the properties adjoining them, and then asked themselves - "Does this severance make sense?", I suggest the answer would not only be a resounding "yes", it would also be, to quote Central Huron Reeve, Jim Ginn, a "no-brainer".

Anyways, it doesn't bode well that each side is claiming their point of view is effectively a "no-brainer" - this not only means somebody is going to lose, it also means somebody is going to be a sore loser.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

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