Overcrowded at their current Winterbourne meeting place, a group of Old Order Mennonites are looking for a spot to build a new church. They think they’ve found the right location, and now need Woolwich to clear the way.
The goal is to have the zoning changed on a 3.2-acre parcel at the northeast corner of a 77-acre farm property at 6049 Line 86, which would become the home of the Meadow Grove Mennonite Church. An application submitted by Sidney M. Brubacher was rolled out at a planning public meeting Tuesday night in council chambers.
Bob Black of RBA Planning Consultants told councillors the site at the rear of the property, which would have frontage on Weisenberg Road, was deemed ideal given the travel constraints of the members, who rely on horse-drawn buggies for transportation. Distances are typically limited to three or four miles, he explained.
If approved, the plan would see the construction of a new church building with capacity for 550 people, hitches for some for 180 horses, and a cemetery, said Black.
The proposed church and cemetery would remain as part of the larger property, as Region of Waterloo planning policies do not allow for the land to be severed from the farm.
Aside from Black, the only other person to address the zone change application was Weisenberg Road neighbour Tanya Rempel, who asked whether the cemetery could be moved to the rear of the property rather than along the road as is currently proposed. Berms and trees would also be helpful in sheltering the property, she added.
This week’s planning meeting was for information only, with councillors making no decisions about the application. Staff will come back at a future date with a recommendation report after assessing the planning issues and considering input from the public.