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Conflict between Professional judgement and personal opinion

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Excluding the American Religious Use legislation quirks, I need some advice on how to deal with a situation.

Here are the facts

1 Application to locate a church in an area designated agriculture (prime soils, close to farms etc..)
2) Provincial policy dissuades non AG uses in prime AG areas.
3) Plan says no division of land or creation of lots in an AG area except for AG purposes and a few others, churches are not included.
4) Here is the kicker, the applicant’s are Mennonites, so they pretty much “need” the church in the rural area, at a location that is central to their community because they can't travel to town.

On a professional level I can completely understand why we are going to have to say "no you can’t locate your church there", but on a personal level I am having a really hard time doing it.

What would you do? Please don’t suggest amending the Plan, it has policies related to amendments and this use does not really qualify.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Do they have a right under local or provincial laws to appeal the decision?

I would have to go with the professional responsibility, but also advise them of their rights from that point forward.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
I wonder if you could argue on a professional basis that this church in particular enhances the cultural/historic resources of the area. The particular case seems to have hardships that other churches don't.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
SGB said:
Do they have a right under local or provincial laws to appeal the decision?

I would have to go with the professional responsibility, but also advise them of their rights from that point forward.
They have the right to appeal and I've told them that straight up how to do it and the process. Unfortuantely, due to their culture they tend to avoid the public eye and courts.

This makes me feel about a cm tall.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
This is another instance where our profession can really suck.

Stick with the denial, but encourage them to appeal.

And remember: you can only help those who help themselves. :-|
 

IPlan

Cyburbian
Messages
60
Points
4
In our township, our official plan policies allow for schools and churches in the agricultural areas through a zone change application. Since we many people of the Mennonite background, the policies were put in place to recognize the historical and cultural needs of the area and allow for such uses for the rural community who rely on horse drawn vehicles as a sole means of transporation.

Often times the church or school is located in part of a farm prooperty.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I agree with your way of thinking on this. It is a use that should be permitted. Would this fit under a variance procedure? Might the building be called something that would fit under the plan (i.e., a "school" as opposed to a "church")?
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
A complicating problem to this applicaiton is that they are also applying for a school about 3/4 of a mile away. The school is no problem as the area is designated rural and adjacent to a cenetery so separation distances are already established. They have a list, that is very reasonable to me personally as to why they don't want to colocate the buildings, but from a planning perspective not good arguments.

I do see the church as accessory to the use of the adjacent properties as farms. It is an integeral part of their lifestyle. A similar example would be yeshivas and how they are located in a community and how the community functions around them.
 

SW MI Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
3,194
Points
26
donk said:
A complicating problem to this applicaiton is that they are also applying for a school about 3/4 of a mile away. The school is no problem as the area is designated rural and adjacent to a cenetery so separation distances are already established. They have a list, that is very reasonable to me personally as to why they don't want to colocate the buildings, but from a planning perspective not good arguments.

I do see the church as accessory to the use of the adjacent properties as farms. It is an integeral part of their lifestyle. A similar example would be yeshivas and how they are located in a community and how the community functions around them.
They can't hold church out of the school building? Kind of make the church the accessory use?
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
SW MI Planner said:
They can't hold church out of the school building? Kind of make the church the accessory use?
That is what we have suggested to them as being a reasonable solution, they have reasons why it can't happen that way. the reasons include cultural, economic and a whole pile of other things.
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,523
Points
23
You've probably already been down this path but I would be trying to find them another site in the locality (preferably in the ownership of a member of the church community) that doesn't have the same soils issue. Maybe a disused agricultural industry site for example, a saleyard, drenching yard, some disused road etc. You could then in all good prefessional conscience support the use on the basis the site being sterilised is already not suitable for agriculture. You could therefore have your planning principles cake and eat it too.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
Do you have a "planned development" type of zone -- a contract zone where the uses are established in the plan. I would think a traditional agrarian society with their place of worship in the agrarian area might be okay.

The planned development could be conditioned to require removal of the church if the traditional agrarian community is disbanded. You could craft findings that no one else could meet.
 
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