In 2011 the town of Hermitage-Sandyville hired Arvo McMillan, a municipal planner, to prepare a zoning plan for the town and to write development regulations according to the Urban and Rural Planning Act 2000. Also in 2011 townspeople were invited to a presentation by Mr. McMillan and to give their input at that time.
On February 6, 2012, the town announced a public hearing to hear and consider objections to and questions about the plan and the development regulations. A requirement advertised was that anyone wishing to present an objection had to submit a written statement of the objection at least two days before the scheduled hearing.
However, there were no written statements or questions so the hearing was cancelled. The council will formally adopt the plan in its next meeting.
The key elements of the zoning are residential (areas designated for new housing development) and town ( most of the present town, a mix of businesses, homes, and other properties). An industrial area is zoned to the north of the highway coming into Hermitage, and the ponds and bog area are labeled as environmentally protected.
Earlier some concerns had been expressed by the residents of the east side who live in proximity to the huge area of land purchased by Cooke Aquaculture. Under the new regulations, however, the town cannot issue a development permit until many criteria have been assessed, criteria including servicing (water and sewer), environmental impact, access from existing roads, and adjacency to homes where noise, smell, and other inconveniences would have to be considered.
Specifically, the regulations read, “Before approving any non-residential development near existing or proposed residential development or residential zones, the town must be satisfied that the proposed non-residential development (a) will not give rise to excessive noise or other forms of pollution; (b) will not generate vehicle traffic which is above the level acceptable to adjacent residential amenities; (c) will not cause an acceptable nuisance or hazard to adjacent residential uses, and (d) in general, can be considered acceptable to the amenity of residential uses.”
Meanwhile, Cooke Aquaculture has said only that the purchase of the land on the east side is to give them a “footprint” in Hermitage, an area where in the future they may consider a maintenance shop or a storage facility.