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Mixed-use cluster project to continue in Wellesley

A pilot project launched a decade ago to permit a mix of residential, commercial and agricultural uses in an area of Wellesley Township will continue, council decided at a standing-room-only meeting June 4. Some 40 residents came out to hear township planner Sarah Peck discuss the rural mixed-use/agricultural cluster policy review, which found no negatives with the so-called cluster project on Powell Road north of Posey Line.

The pilot project was approved in 2002, designed to assist with the housing and employment needs of the rural residents who rely on horse-drawn vehicles as their sole means of transportation. The cluster is a grouping of seven lots where each can have a residence, a building for a “dry industrial use” and non-commercial limited agricultural uses.

With council’s approval the cluster will remain part of the township’s Official Plan and may be subjected to change in future reviews.

Over the course of the last year staff collected information about the cluster, including a landowner survey where property owners of the cluster where asked questions about the viability of the cluster.

Property owners within the cluster all responded that they were able to operate a sustainable and economically viable businesses.

“A few of the owners did mention that the employee limit (no more than five) can be restrictive during high demand periods, but they are able to farm out the extra work to others in the community during those peak times,” Peck told council.
The township’s chief building officer conducted pre-planned visits to each property on the cluster to ensure compliance with zone and building regulations.

Environmental testing was also performed by WESA Group both in 2001 and 2011 on the groundwater, surface water and well water and found no discernible impact on any water source across the site.

Peck also reported that no formal complaints regarding traffic flow, visibility and maintenance on Powell Road during the 10-year time span have been received by the township.

Before the meeting the township had not received any formal complaints from the citizens of the township about the cluster.

During the question period numerous concerned citizens spoke about their apprehension with having a cluster in the township and what it meant for future clusters.

At this time, however, the township is not considering additional clusters.

“We have had no formal applications at this time for another cluster,” said Susan Duke, Wellesley’s chief administrative officer. “We are not reviewing even the concept of another (cluster); this is just a policy review of the existing (cluster). This meeting does not mean their will be another (cluster) in the township.”

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