An organic farm operation in Egbert, whose locally grown produce has
been served to visiting dignitaries including U.S President Barack
Obama, has secured Essa council's support to amend the Township's
zoning bylaw which would permit an expansion of uses to include on-site
processing, "with conditions imposed through site plan approval."
Cookstown Greens, whose certified organic produce is grown on the 100
acre farm at 6321 9th Line, and sold through a network of specialty
food stores across the GTA and southern Ontario, seeks to "mass
produce" soup and tortillas sourced from local growers.
To do that, it's recommended the property's current Agricultural (A)
designation be amended to a Commercial Agricultural (C5) Zone whose
permitted uses include fertilizer
plants, feed mills, farm implement dealerships, fuel oil dealers, fruit
and vegetable markets, nursery and garden centres, an antique dealer,
artist studio and vet clinic.
"They (Cookstown Greens) will create increased assessment in the
Municipality and local jobs," according to Essa Planning Manager,
Colleen Healey in her report to council which supports the amendment.
"This office thought it best if they conducted their business under a
zoning category/provisions that would allow business activity in the
agricultural area (thinking that they have gone beyond normal farming
practice). This gives neighbours a chance to have input into the
proposed land use, the Municipality a chance to control the use and the
owner protection to carry out operations indefinitely into the future.
The C5 Zone seemed to fit the bill."
In reply to concerns expressed at the July 4th public meeting dealing
with the application by Glenn Applegate, whose family neighbours the
subject site, Ms. Healey explained in her follow-up letter dated July
16, that "the Township found it appropriate to require the property to
be zoned for processing, packaging and shipping to market, on an
"At present, Cookstown Greens exists but operates under the
Agricultural (A) Zone. All farmers can sell what they produce, however,
the C5 Zone provides recognition that the property is being used also,
at least equally, for commercial purposes - commercial but related to
the agricultural resources contained on the lands," she wrote. "Again,
while commercial operations can be carried out, they must be related to
the land otherwise the business would not be permitted in an
agricultural area. ..... All structures to be situated on the property
will be governed by Site Plan Control under the Provincial Planning
Act. This will allow the Municipality to control and monitor what
structures are placed on the property. We can also impose measures to
mitigate for any nuisance to neighbours."