Augusta Township Council sends a Maintenance and Care of Property draft By-Law to its Planning Advisory Committee for review
Augusta Matters by Mayor Doug Malanka
In November of 2015, Staff presented Augusta Council with draft property standard, By-Law 3213-2015, respecting yards, refuse, environmental hazards and nuisances in the Township. Council of the day refused to consider the By-Law and instead forwarded it to the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) of the day for input. That PAC reviewed the draft property standard and expressed concerns regarding: entry onto land; maximum fine levels; ability of residents to work on used vehicles; and notice procedures. The By-Law was never adopted by Council.
Property standard By-Laws set minimum standards and are important to ensure that property owners maintain their properties to protect the health, safety and well-being of residents. They also have a positive environmental impact and a positive economic development impact on the Township. Currently, Augusta Township does not have any type of property type standards and the Township’s Solicitor has advised that a Maintenance and Care of Property By-Law is required to allow the Township to respond to complaints in a timely fashion and achieve compliance where a property owner or occupant refuses to comply with non-compliance notices. Staff noted in its report to Council accompanying a newly drafted property standard By-Law that there have been 19 property related complaints recorded with the Office. The main theme of those complaints cite unsightly garbage, weeds and brush, and derelict vehicle and equipment on properties.
At its regular meeting of Council held on Monday, June 24th, 2019, staff submitted a new draft By-Law to Council entitled Maintenance and Care of Property that addresses all of the concerns identified by the previous PAC and recommend that Council receive it for review and authorize Staff to post the new draft forward to the current PAC and place it on the Township’s website for public review and comment.
Staff noted in its report that the proposed Maintenance and Care of Property standard does not prevent a farm operation or practice meeting the definition of agricultural operation or normal farm practice under the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, 1998 from carrying out a normal farm practice as provided for and defined in the aforementioned Act. For certainty, nothing in this By-Law prevents the spreading of nutrients on farm fields in conformity with acceptable farm practice. Staff also noted in the report to Council that the proposed Maintenance and Care of Property By-Law states that it shall be complaint driven.
Finally, Staff also noted in its report that the newly minted draft Maintenance and Care of Property had been submitted to Augusta Township’s Operations Review Committee (ORC) on June 13th, 2019 for their early review and comment. Deputy Mayor Shaver, Chair of the ORC, confirmed that his committee was in favour of the By-Law with one amendment. That amendment was to delete the phrase, lands zoned for agriculture in the draft By-Law as agriculture operations occur on both land zoned rural and agricultural.
To further achieve its goals of Maintenance and Care of Property, the Township will look at outreach programs to communicate its goals and encourage residents to enhance the visual appeal of their neighbourhoods and public spaces.