The Commission has considered the submissions of the parties as
well as the evidence, testimony, Official Plan and Bylaws of the Town.
 The Commission finds and determines that
for the reasons that follow the appeal is denied.
 The potential outcome of this appeal was,
in large measure, limited when the Planned Urban Residential Development
(PURD) zone was adopted by the Town of Cornwall as part of the Official
Plan and Bylaws in early 2004. That
is the context in which the Commission must consider this appeal.
 The process followed by the Town that lead
to the designation of the subject properties as a PURD Zone reflect
decisions made more than eight years ago and well beyond the statutory
appeal period to the Commission.
Some residents may not have fully appreciated the implications of
the zoning change and either were not aware of the changes or did not
avail themselves of the opportunity to oppose the zoning when it was being
discussed by the Town.
 However, even if the Town's 2004 Bylaw had
been appealed to the Commission, it is unlikely that such appeal would
have ever proceeded, as the Commission has consistently held since 1999
that it does not have the jurisdiction to hear appeals of a new bylaw, or
a series of amendments to a bylaw arising out of the required five year
review process set out in the
 While providing background to the
Appellant's concern regarding such higher density development on the
subject properties, the Commission has no jurisdiction to adjudicate on
that approval process and must deal with the Official Plan and the Bylaws
as they currently exist and as they have been approved by the Minister.
 The Commission notes that Mr. Lavoie
provided a copy of the 2004 newspaper notice run at the time of the zoning
changes. While he is correct
that the statement "changes to the designation of residential land east of
Eliot Park on the Ferry Road from R1 to R1/PURD" is not as clear as it
could be, it is also clear that some change in zoning was being proposed.
It is also true that R1/PURD is not
a specific zone. However, the information provided under the title of
Changes to Zoning Map is sufficient to alert a reader that some change was
being considered and further action could have been taken to learn more
about the proposed changes. The Notice provided contact information and a
concerned resident could have contacted the Town to obtain clarification.
 The failure of the Town to review the
Official Plan within the time limits specified in the provincial
legislation is regrettable, but the Commission accepts the evidence that
the Minister has exercised his discretion regarding the review requirement
and therefore has in effect sanctioned the continuation of the existing
Official Plan until the current review is complete.
 The Commission, as a creature of statue,
is bound by the Town's Official Plan and the Bylaws in considering the
merits of the appeal.
 Mr. Lavoie presented a compelling personal
argument about the character of the neighbourhood along the Ferry Road,
and his concerns and that of his neighbours about the potential impacts of
the proposed development. It does
represent a change and the Commission recognizes and appreciates the
potential impacts that are deemed undesirable by many residents in this
 Many of the homes are set on larger lots
and shielded from the Ferry Road giving more of the appearance of a rural
setting. However that does not mean
that another approach to development is automatically rejected, especially
when it is permitted by zoning and subdivision bylaws.
 The PURD zone, as defined in the Town
bylaws, permits such a development.
 The Official Plan is cited by both parties
in support of their arguments. In
some instances the same sections and very same statements can be read to
support both those who oppose the development and those who support it.
This is often the case in such appeals.
 The Official Plan, by its very nature,
sets out the broad strokes of the vision for the community.
The Plan therefore encompasses a variety of goals and objectives
that at times can be seen to be in blatant conflict with each other. It
then falls to the Bylaws and zoning to turn the broad views into workable
realities. While the more
powerful of the two documents, the wording of the Official Plan is subject
to interpretation and the various policies and objectives must be weighed
 A reading of the entire Official Plan
indicates that the Town of Cornwall wishes to preserve its rural nature,
protect existing neighbourhoods, and at the same time be open to new
concepts of development that include high densities, maximize land
preservation and the use of services. The
challenge becomes the blending of the objectives.
The Town decided in 2004 that
blending would take place on the Ferry Road through a PURD Zone for the
 While the Appellant made numerous
references to potential farm conflicts resulting from the proposed
development, the Commission notes that no one from the farm community
appeared at the hearing to support such concerns.
A review of the minutes of the public meeting, held by the Town to
gain input on the proposal, does not identify any farmers or farm
representatives who spoke in opposition to the development proposal based
on potential impact on farm land or rural urban conflicts.
The Commission appreciates the points raised by Mr. Lavoie on this
topic and his interest in supporting the agriculture sector.
However, the argument carries less weight than if it had been
accompanied by direct testimony from active farmers.
 The petition collected and presented to
Town Council demonstrates a level of concern about high density
development. It is well
organized and analysed but a petition cannot override a planning decision
based on established bylaws.
By necessity, a democracy must follow the rule of law and therefore cannot
make specific development decisions based on current public opinion and
ignore the bylaws that are in place to provide fairness and certainty in
the development process.
 This causes challenges for communities.
They desire public engagement in the development process of the
community but must also adhere to the zoning and bylaws under which they
operate. The input is desired, but
the decision may not fully reflect that input.
 A development proposal, properly submitted
and meeting the requirements of the appropriate bylaws, is considered an
"as of right" development. It
simply means the Developer has a right to develop if they have met the
necessary legal requirements. A
decision to turn down such a development based on public opposition, might
be very popular, but might have a short life on appeal.
 In this matter, the minutes of the public
meeting, the letters received and the direct comments of residents were
made known to the members of Planning Board and the statements of
Councillors demonstrates those comments were heard.
 The Planning Board and Town Council are
charged with the role of determining if development proposals meet the
requirements of the Bylaws.
 The Zoning and Subdivision Control Bylaw
(Section 3.15) also places a reverse onus on Council in that it "shall not
issue a development permit" if, in the opinion of Council, certain impacts
 The Commission, in considering an appeal
from a decision of a community, first reviews the decision in terms of
whether the appropriate process set out in the Bylaws,
Planning Act and
established laws were followed.
 The process on this specific proposal is
not in question. That process is clearly laid out in the Bylaws and was
followed. A formal proposal was
submitted to the Planning Board and it was discussed.
Some concerns were raised, such as
the use of private roads and the density at the maximum permitted.
The proposal was revised. The
property was posted. Those in
the designated area received letters. Those
that did not get a copy of the map in the mail were hand delivered a copy.
 A public meeting was advertised and held.
It dealt with only one topic and, regardless of how you estimate
the numbers, there was a large crowd that turned out and had the
opportunity to provide input. The meeting lasted two hours.
 The records of Planning Board demonstrate,
to the full satisfaction of the Commission, that the required factors were
considered. The February 27,
2012 meeting considered the requirements of the bylaws, municipal service
and infrastructure, transportation, parks and recreation, future
development goals of the Official Plan and a review of the proposed
 The minute states "Although residents
question the appropriateness of this development Planning Board has
reviewed Mr. Lavoie's presentation made to Council at the Public Meeting
held on January 16, 2012 and noted the comments made."
 The matter was again discussed at Planning
Board on March 5, 2012 and recommended for approval.
 The minutes of the March 21, 2012
Town Council meeting indicate that the Planning Board, in making their
recommendation for approval, provided Councillors with an overview of the
actions taken by Planning Board, including consideration of the petition,
Official Plan and the public input.
 The two Councillors that voted against the
proposal, clearly explained why they did not support the proposal,
referring to the petition and location, thus providing further evidence
those public concerns were heard.
 A second level of test utilized by the
Commission is the adherence to sound planning principles.
Usually, if the proper process has been followed and the decision
is in keeping with sound planning principles, the Commission is reluctant
to overturn the decision of the municipal body which is elected by
residents to make such decisions.
 In this appeal the Commission takes
comfort in the Official Plan and the Bylaws.
It is clear that such type of
development was contemplated at the time the Official Plan and the zoning
was approved. The zoning and
bylaws have been in effect for over eight years and this is not the only
PURD zone in the community.
 The existence of a PURD zone designation
in the Bylaws suggests the Town is not only open to such development but
also sought to encourage such development by clearly established zones
where it would be permitted.
 The Bylaw can trace its origin to the
Official Plan which talks openly about a move to higher density
development in the Town.
 The concept of high density residential
arrangements is becoming more popular and more common.
It may be driven by development
costs, changing residential preferences or greater sensitivity to land and
service utilization. It is however,
recognized as sound planning.
 The Commission has reviewed the specific
proposal advanced by the developers and presented at the hearing.
The proposal is less than the
maximum density permitted in a PURD zone and was reduced from the maximum
in an effort to address some of the resident's concerns.
 The proposal has utilized buffers to
increase the setbacks from adjacent properties, with the proposed setbacks
exceeding the requirements of the Town.
 The area of the proposed development
closest to the Ferry Road will have duplex lots and some of the higher
density buildings may incorporate the features of single level buildings.
 The proposal calls for a quality level of
housing. Space has been made
available for future sidewalks and a trail system.
 The Town has testified that the municipal
sewer and water infrastructure has the capacity to accommodate the
 The Department of Transportation and
Infrastructure Renewal does not have any concerns about the impact of the
development on transportation infrastructure in the Town.
 The proposal meets all the requirements of
the Bylaws. It can find root in the
 The Commission, hearing the matter anew,
reviewing the documents and evidence, comes to the same conclusion as the
majority of the Town of Cornwall Council.
The development meets the requirement of the Bylaw and must be