Some residents in Stratford's south end don't want to see recently annexed land receive prime industrial zoning and inclusion in the city's official plan.
During a public meeting at Monday night's council session, Lorne Avenue resident Peter Switzer said the move is bad planning. The homes in the area are zoned R1(3), or the "ideal residential zoning" for a single-family home, said Switzer.
He raised concern about what type of buffering would be used to separate the industrial zone from the residential area. Switzer presented a petition to council with signatures from six households in the area.
"We've all heard of the not-in-my-backyard syndrome," he said. "This is different...it is simply not in our front yard."
The lands in question were annexed into the city in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
Ann Bossers, who owns annexed land which is slated to be rezoned as industrial, was concerned about the effect the move may have on her business.
"When the holding provision is lifted,
what legal uses will be permitted?" asked Bossers.
The director of building and planning, Barbara Dembek, said her business would become a legal non-conforming use.
When asked if the city would have an adequate amount of industrial land once the annexed lands were rezoned, Dembek said in her professional opinion, the city still won't have enough.
"Given the location of the new Toyota plant, I don't think we annexed enough," said Dembek.
Bossers questioned when the holding provision would be removed and if the city had a timeline for installing services. George Bowa, director of engineering and public works, stated the holding provision would be lifted and services installed when the land is sold to an interested industry.
If the land is rezoned prime industrial, the city would have about 320 to 350 acres of available industrial land. About 100 to 120 acres of that land is currently serviced.
Council also received several letters from area home and business owners, most arguing the land would be better suited to residential development.
"I believe the businesses in this plaza would all greatly benefit from a residential neighbourhood," wrote Jody Taylor, owner and operator of Herbal One, in a letter to council. "Stratford has rezoned so much industrial/commercial land already."
Tang Dinh, of the Only Deals Dollar Store, agreed with Taylor.
"This is a beautiful neighbourhood within walking distance to the T.J. Dolan trail, sports fields and playgrounds," she wrote in a letter to council. "I believe this should be a residential neighbourhood."
The official plan amendment and zone change application will be considered at an upcoming planning and heritage subcommittee meeting.