To: LWRA members
From: Tony Doob (President, LWRA)
Date: Thursday, 24 January 2013
The LWRA recently received a notice from the Town of Huntsville that there will be a public meeting on 13 February at 9 am to consider an application for a lot severance and a rezoning on Jessup (Jingo) Lake. The materials that we have received from the Town are posted on our website. We received this information late yesterday afternoon. Hence the LWRA Board has not yet met to discuss the matter.
On the surface, I personally have a number of concerns about the application. In the first place, there are concerns about the quality of water in the lake. It appears to us, from District of Muskoka data, that the phosphorus level of the lake is above the District’s own threshold for concern.
There are two quite separate matters related to the creation of new lots. There are special concerns, obviously, related to a lake that appears to be ‘over threshold’ for phosphorus. New lots mean new stresses on a lake that already has a relatively high phosphorus level. High levels of phosphorus (a natural result from development) can - and do - lead to blue-green algae blooms, which make lakes unusable for any purpose. An application for severance needs to be considered by the Town and presumably water quality is relevant.
The second concern relates to the application for a change of the zoning classification. It is not clear to me why it is necessary to rezone the existing and proposed lots to “SR-2” rather than the current “SR-5” zoning. There are, of course, various differences between the two zoning classifications. Perhaps the most obvious is that the dwellings on an SR-2 lot can be considerably closer to the lake (20 metres) than dwellings on an SR-5 lot (30 metres). The LWRA worked hard, when the current zoning classifications were created about 8 years ago, to have our lakes zoned SR-5 in order to protect various aspects of the lake. At first examination, there seems to be no good reason to depart from the existing requirements are meant to bind all development and re-development of our lakes.
As I have already mentioned, the LWRA Board has not yet decided what position to take on this application. What does seem clear to me at this time is that although this application deals specifically with only one of our lakes (Jessup/Jingo), its results could have an important bearing on how development (new and updated) occurs on all four lakes. Hence, although it relates to a lake that many of our members may never have seen, the result will almost certainly affect us all.
At this point, I think it would be useful to the Board if you could let the Board know what your own initial feelings are about this matter. In the end the Board will have to decide if it wants to pursue this matter and appear at the meeting. As I have already said, there is no question that this application is relevant for all of our lakes. But in particular, if you own property on Jessup/Jingo, we would be especially interested in hearing from you.
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