Property line variance permitted for Upper Onslow fertilizer plant to construct replacement facility

Harry Sullivan
Published on April 30, 2014
Cutline: Truro Agromart plant receives property use variance approval to construct new fertilizer handling facility.

TRURO - A property line variance has been granted to a fertilizer company in Upper Onslow despite an appeal by some residents to prevent the construction of a new building from occurring on the proposed site.

"That to me is certainly detrimental to my property for many reasons," area resident Gary Atkins told Colchester County council during a public hearing Tuesday night.

"Our wells are not that far away from the site," he said, regarding the proposal by Truro Agromart Ltd., to replace an existing, aging building with a new, modern fertilizer handling facility.

Normally, for such projects, construction cannot occur at less than 15 metres (49.2 ft.) from the property line. Because of where the company plans to locate the building, however, it had requested a variance to the county land-use regulations to reduce the minimum setback to 5.5m (18 feet), a difference of 9.5m (31.2 feet).

"And other than the existing location there's no other replacement options for that site," development officer Colin Forsyth told council, of the reasoning behind his decision to permit the variance.

The county bylaw permits the company to be operating in an industrial capacity at that site, Forsyth said, and even though the new building will be slightly larger than the old one, it is a replacement structure.

As well, the new facility will be built to today's codes and safety requirements, "which should make it safer than the existing building," he said.

"In permitting the variance I didn't think it was going to cause any undue hardships (to adjoining property owners)."

Atkins, however, expressed concern about the amount of time that residents had to appeal the decision after receiving their notices and of potential noise and dust issues if the new building were situated closer than the old one.

Company representative Nicholas Juurlink said the new building should alleviate noise and dust concerns because activity involving forklifts and skid steers will all occur inside.

"There should be zero dust coming out of that building," he said.

After voting to uphold the variance approval, council asked staff to review the process regarding notification to adjoining property owners for similar future applications.

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