Cars from Mike Knapp Ford sit right next to a residential driver on Aqueduct Street on Wednesday. Welland council sent a staff report on a zoning change for Knapp's property back to city staff for more changes.
Vehicles on Mike Knapp Ford property that borders Aqueduct and Niagara Streets won’t have to be moved for now, despite Welland council’s wishes.
Council was dealing with an official plan amendment and zoning bylaw amendment for the property, 383 Aqueduct Street, at its meeting Tuesday.
The property would be changed for low-density residential to community commercial corridor, which would allow Mike Knapp Ford to use as part of his dealership. The main site sits on the west side of Niagara Street.
At a previous committee meeting, Steve Robillard, who lives beside the Aqueduct property, had raised concerns over noise, lighting, the use of a back entrance to bring in cars, and how close cars were being parked to his property, which sits on the south side.
Tuesday, council asked whether those issues had been addressed.
City planning supervisor Rachelle Larocque said the issues would be dealt with through the zoning bylaw and a site plan agreement.
“There will be a fence placed along the property line of the neighbouring house and the frontage on Aqueduct Street. That should deal with the traffic and noise. There will be no access from Aqueduct to the property, the lot will have to be accessed from Niagara Street,” said Larocque.
Those measures, she said, should also address concerns over vehicles being parked on Aqueduct while being moved on to the dealership’s property.
Larocque said there were discussions about the possible use of motion sensors on the lighting system in the Aqueduct lot to cut down light spilling onto neighbouring properties.
“The applicant has to enter into a site plan agreement to continue to operate there,” she told council.
Asked by Ward 4 Coun. Pat Chiocchio whether the number of cars parked in the section backing on to Aqueduct could be limited, Larocque said yes, through the site plan process.
“It’s jammed right now and that’s not fair to residents,” said Chiocchio.
Ward 2 Coun. Leo Van Vliet asked if site plan agreements had any teeth to them, whether they could be enforced or not.
Larocque said if someone has in violation of a site plan agreement, the city could use securities deposited and complete whatever work needed to be done to bring a piece of property into compliance.
Van Vliet said neighbouring residents have complained about the property and council has done nothing about it.
“We’ve sat on our hands for a year now.”
Van Vliet said there was nothing in the report about noise, lighting or any of the other issues raised by residents.
“It’s not a complete report … and I’d ask someone to defer it.”
Other councillors agreed with Van Vliet and the report was deferred and will be sent back to staff.
Councillors also wanted city staff to ask Mike Knapp Ford to move the cars that were currently in the back part of the lot, but were told by city engineer Sal Iannello the dealership was under no legal obligation to do so.
“The property is considered legal non-conforming and that allows him to park cars there,” Iannello said. “Unless we have to go through the court process we have to be careful of where we go this.”
Iannello said a site plan agreement process would let council control what goes on there.
A new report on the official plan amendment and zoning bylaw amendment for the property is expected back within a month.