COUNTY OF SIMCOE
ITEM FOR: CORPORATE SERVICES COMMITTEE
SECTION: Planning - Delegated Authority
ITEM NO. CS 04-218
MEETING DATE: September 15, 2003
SUBJECT: Official Plan Amendment 3 - Township of Ramara
THAT Official Plan Amendment No. 3 to the Township of Ramara Official Plan, adopted by
Township of Ramara By-law 2004.66, be refused;
AND THAT Notice of Decision be provided in accordance with the Planning Act.
The following information outlines the Township’s Official Plan Amendment:
Location: Part Lot 15, Concession 1, Former Rama Township (2944 County Road 45)
Applicants: Ron & Alison Johnston
Proposal: To amend the Official Plan of the Township of Ramara to redesignate the subject
property from “Rural” to “Highway Commercial” to permit public rental storage in
existing buildings on the property.
This site specific Official Plan Amendment proposes to amend the local official plan by changing
the designation to Highway Commercial to permit short term public storage rental units in
existing buildings on the property. These buildings are currently vacant, but were formerly used
for agricultural purposes. The proposed amendment involves a one hectare pocket of land
encompassing the vacant buildings (see Schedule 1). Other uses on adjacent lands (including the
remainder of the Johnston property) are residential, agricultural, and a bed and breakfast.
The subject lands are currently designated Rural in the Ramara Official Plan and are subject to
the rural policies in the Simcoe County Official Plan (SCOP). As noted in the County’s May 31,
2004 comment letter to the Township, SCOP Policy 3.6.7 lists the uses that are permitted in the
rural areas of the County. The permitted uses include agricultural, institutional, residential, and
highway commercial uses. When members of the public travel the roads within the County, they
are moving from their point of origin to their destination, accessing and using highway
commercial establishments to conveniently meet their needs along the journey. In the case of
self-storage facilities, most often these facilities are the destination. According to the County
September 15, 2004 Corporate Services Committee CS 04-218 Page 2
Official Plan, “Highway Commercial uses or establishments are those which provide a service to
the traveling public and include uses such as automotive servicing, accommodation, tourist, craft
and special feature establishments, and restaurants.” The proposed public self-storage or “mini-
storage facility” is not a use that provides a service to the traveling public. The land uses
permitted in the Township of Ramara Official Plan’s Highway Commercial designation also
reflect those uses that would be considered to meet the needs of those traveling on roadways.
Furthermore, the proposed use would utilize an existing entrance from a County Road. The
current entrance design is sufficient for the occasional traffic that is generated by the residence
and the bed and breakfast that exist on the Johnston property. However, discussions with County
Transportation & Engineering staff have indicated that upgrades to the entrance may be required
to service the increased amount of traffic accessing the self storage facility. Notably, the final
report of July 16, 2004 written by the Town’s consulting planner prior to the local municipality’s
adoption of this amendment indicated that no issues had been raised by the any outside agencies.
This statement fails to reference the objection stated in the County’s May 31, 2004 letter.
As noted above, while the County Official Plan does permit highway commercial uses in the
Rural designation, the proposed short term storage rental units clearly do not qualify as a
permitted highway commercial use. Therefore, since this amendment would implement a non-
permitted use in the Rural designation, County staff recommend that Amendment No. 3 to the
Township of Ramara Official Plan be refused.
There are no direct financial implications to this item. Appeal of this Decision may result in related
The following schedules are attached and form part of this item.
Schedule 1 - Location Map.
Schedule 2 - Official Plan Amendment No. 3, Ramara Township / County Comments.
PREPARED BY: Nathan Westendorp
Mark Aitken, General Manager of Corporate Services August 30, 2004
Helen MacRae, Chief Administrative Officer September 8, 2004