County Council approval permits planning staff to draw up policy on surplus farmhouse severances

By Dan Rankin
Perth South Mayor Robert Wilhelm left the special meeting of Perth County Council in Milverton on Oct. 26 pleased with the results.
“The county did agree to basically look at surplus farmhouse severances and a county-wide policy,” he said. “Small steps are important.”
County Council is seeking a county-wide approach to permit surplus farmhouse severances that meet a fairly strict set of criteria including: that the severed land must be abutting the main property or farm operation; it must meet MDS 1 (Minimum Distance Separation) requirements; the house must be habitable determined by the local building official; the property must be the minimum allowable size to service the site; the owner must have a farm business registration, and the consolidation must have occurred or been put in the same name and ownership within five years; the minimums of the local zoning by-law would be required to regulate that no other dwelling be placed on the farmland; and that the agreement must be registered on title.
The next step in the process will be for the county planning department to come up with a draft policy on the topic, as well as addressing some of the questions council had, which they could present as soon as the Nov. 19 meeting.
If council accepts that policy, “then it would be submitted to the lower tiers for revision,” Wilhelm said. “After that, if everything is positive, council would go to plan a public meeting.”
Representatives and residents from North Perth and East Perth remain on the side of maintaining the County Plan as it is, but Wilhelm said, even though this decision is less than unanimous, “it was approved by county council, so I would hope that it would continue on in a positive note.”