BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — Matchbox Organics has applied for Site Plan Approval for the development of a micro Cannabis cultivation and processing facility within an existing building located at 31 Walker Street in Markdale. The existing building under consideration for development is a 500 square metre concrete block structure that was formally used as the laundry and storage facility for Four Seasons Party Rentals. The application was brought to Grey Highlands Council on February 19 and explains that, while the existing building footprint would remain unchanged, given the proposed use for the site, the property would be fenced along all sides for security reasons.
Under the County of Grey Official Plan, land use policies and development standards in areas designated Primary Settlement Areas would be in accordance with local official and/or secondary plans. According to the Council report prepared by Michael Benner, Director of Planning for the Municipality of Grey Highlands, the Official Plan promotes the development of Primary Settlement Area land use types for a full range of residential, commercial, industrial, recreational, and institutional land uses.
Benner also recommended that the applicant supply several other assurances to comply with surrounding commercial and residential land use requirements including a limited emission of pollen, dust, and odours to the surrounding area. Adequate security was another concern brought to Council. Further assurances not withstanding, in his report, Benner concluded that the business fit within established land use requirements and was considered to be light industrial in nature.
According to recent rules established as a result of federal Cannabis legalization, the Municipality discourages retail cannabis sales within 150 m of any Municipal Library, playground, park or sports field. Ontario Regulation also restricts any cannabis retail store from being located within 150 m of a public school. But because this application is for cultivation and processing and not retail sales, these do not come into play, despite school, sports field and municipal library buildings all located within 150 m of this building.
With regards to the application, the proposed use of the building for Cannabis cultivation and processing is federally licensed and strictly controlled through Canadian standards. Municipal approvals must be in place and the structures properly constructed for the specific Cannabis cultivation and processing before a Federal License is issued.
Signage on the property and advertising will be very limited and will only denote the building address and company name.
Grey County Planning, Transportation Services and Housing Department each reviewed the subject application and expressed no comments or concerns. Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority also gave their approval to the application but noted that the habitat of endangered or threatened species may be located on and adjacent to the property.
According to the Grey Highlands Strategic Plan, the Municipality is mandated to work with regional partners to address workforce and transportation issues related to business growth and development and create a supportive culture that strengthens business retention, expansion, attraction, entrepreneurial activity, and new commercial and industrial investment.
The matter was referred to the Committee of the Whole following a public meeting to discuss the application. The public meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 10 at 7pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
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