Driving range owner seeks land-use bylaw exemption

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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TRURO - The owner of a local golf driving range is seeking exemption from a town land-use bylaw despite failing to remove temporary shipping containers from the site's flood plain.

Chris Clarke, owner of Marshland Golf Driving Range at 323 Marshland Dr., approached Truro town council on Monday, asking to be exempt from the bylaw so he could permanently keep the containers on the land.

"I'm surprised and upset this is an issue," said Clarke at the meeting.

The town has been telling Clarke to remove the containers since the fall of 2011 in accordance with the land-use bylaw and flood plain requirements.

The containers are used for the business's operations and were relocated from the site's flood plain to another area on site that had been raised using fill material from ditching spoils that were also obtained on the property.

They are only allowed to be on site from May to October, said Jason Fox, director of the town's planning department.

Clarke has three unpaid summary offence tickets for not removing the containers by Oct. 31 of last year and this year. Although they were temporarily moved in the spring, it was past the deadline.

Clarke also asked the town to remove the fines. He said after receiving input from a soil and water engineer, he was successful in applying for a town permit for the containers in August 2010.

"I was not informed before that that I had to remove the containers by Oct. 31 of each year. I've done everything necessary to comply with the requirements of the town's land-use bylaw. I have consistently sought advice from town officers and not intentionally broken any bylaws," said Clarke.

The town's solicitor, John Rafferty, advised council that it couldn't accommodate Clarke on Monday unless the bylaw was amended.

Truro Mayor Bill Mills said he was having a "very, very difficult time" with the issue.

"Seeking to build up a piece of land you knew was on a flood plain ... a bylaw is a bylaw," said Mills.

Terry Baillie, a resident who lives near the golf range, voiced his opposition to Clarke's request at the meeting.

"I'm protesting this because of flooding concerns. If you change a bylaw what are you saying to residents of Marshland?" Baillie asked.

Fox said if council approved the request, it could take upwards of six to 12 months to then be approved by the province as well.

"This issue has dragged on," said Fox, adding caution must be taken by council.

"If we allow it for one then we have to do it for others and it could allow development on flood plains," said Fox.

Council referred the issue to the planning department for a recommendation that will be reported to council in the near future.


Organizations: Truro town council

Geographic location: Marshland

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Recent comments

  • Frequent Floater
    November 09, 2012 - 10:28

    Stan, the apartments are on the other side of the road where development is allowed.

    November 09, 2012 - 09:13

    Buddy's problem here is that he is a non conforming commercial business in an agricultural zone.....plus the area he is using for the containers was built up with imported fill TOO, not just on site soils. The previous owner ran a "sod farm" which fit the zoning, and on the side, rented out golf balls. That owner removed his "one" onsite tractor trailer golf storage facility every fall. That was the rule for running the range. The shipping containers now used by Buddy, and thats what they are, shipping containers, are too many, 3, too big, too unsightly-non fitting with the surrounding area uses, and HERES THE KICKER... are used for storage purposes other than just a few golf balls and a lawn mower. At least having to remove them every year will keep Buddy honest, less stuff for him to move. These containers in this location are an eyesore, stick out like a sore thumb, and actually look like a flood may have deposited them there or a boat sank. In this location, if left, they would disrupt wind and snow patterns in winter causing potential considerable drifting along the Marshland road that the town street crews would only be able to clear between the hours of 5am and 1pm Monday to Friday This would cause considerable problems for the travelling public......Stick to your guns MAYOR BILL and Council. Out with the containers. HAPPY

    • Me
      November 15, 2012 - 12:53

      So they should be taken down because you don't like the way they look? That's an outstanding piece of logic right there. I'm kidding, of course.

  • garrett
    November 07, 2012 - 18:13

    the town will hand out building permits to company's like wallace realty on marshland drive but will not allow a guy to keep two shipping containers on a 30 foot mound of dirt on a flood plain.? you would think the town would be open to the idea of shipping containers as aposed to two twelve unit apartment buildings that become islands whenever we get alot of rain. i think the town needs to get its bylaw team together and get its; lets say "stuff" together.

    • Stan
      November 08, 2012 - 13:03

      I think that it is ridiculous a small business owner is given this much grief. The containers are level with the Town owned sewage pumping station. If it has been allowed for apartments than why not containers.