Martintown OMB driveway decision will be upheld, says county

The county says it will uphold an OMB decision on driveways concerning this property at 19001 County Road 18, east of Martintown, Ont. The dispute between the county and the landowner has opened a bigger discussion about the future of circular and shared driveways. (Google Maps via Newswatch Group)

SD&G – The county has reaffirmed its stance it will uphold a ruling from the Ontario Municipal Board on its driveway policy for county roads.

It comes after South Glengarry resident Michel Lalonde wanted to sever part of his property at 19001 County Road 18 but wanted a separate driveway for the property.

In June 2016, council gave conditional approval for the severance but it would mean Lalonde would have to get rid of one leg of his U-shaped driveway and have a shared driveway with the newly severed property.

Lalonde appealed the conditional approval to the OMB where the board ruled in the county’s favour during a hearing in November.

Still, some councillors are not happy with the decision.

“The part that he’s trying to sever currently already has a lane. It has a foundation where there was a previous home, and there’s a well there. According to the OMB hearing…was based on no new entrances. This isn’t a new entrance,” Coun. Jamie MacDonald said.

County Engineer Ben de Haan said they have different classifications of entrances, set out by bylaw, and would classify that existing entrance as a “field entrance” servicing nothing but a field.

“Perhaps there was a residence there. But if you think about the front of his property any one time in history there has only been one residential entrance in front of his property,” De Haan replied.

De Haan told council they have applied the driveway policy “fairly and unbiased for everyone.”

“I do have some concerns about removing that second (leg) of that (existing) driveway. It’s been there for approximately 30 years. My personal opinion, by leaving that driveway we’re not adding an extra traffic to that entrance way. By removing it we’re causing a liability…the gentleman or family members may have to back out of that driveway (on a county road),” Coun. Frank Prevost said.

“We don’t go out searching for circular driveways and say you got to take this out,” De Haan replied. He said the county will be looking at a refreshed driveway bylaw, which should be coming to council next month.

De Haan said the circular driveways create twice the maintenance for the county because there are two culverts to maintain over a lifetime.

“I think we need to stay consistent,” Coun. Tammy Hart said while agreeing with the report.

“We have a set of rules and policies and the gentleman applied for it (severance) and they’re implemented,” Coun. Eric Duncan added. Duncan said he’s had similar situations in North Dundas where people have had to get rid of circular driveways as a condition of a severance. Allowing this would open “a can of worms.”

As for the Lalonde property, the only way it could happen is an amendment to the county’s Official Plan, which De Haan said would “undermine the approval policies of the Official Plan.”

With the upcoming update to the Official Plan, De Haan said they are looking at taking out the provision for shared driveways because it does “create such conflict” between neighbours.

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