CORNWALL - There were tense moments at Cornwall's last council meeting when it decided not to panhandle off the Trans-Canada Highway.
Pam McGuigan owns a residential property just across the highway from the Cornwall Tim Hortons. She asked to subdivide the land, but didn't say what the plans are after that.
The property is on the north side of the highway, just 200 metres west of the traffic lights at the main intersection in Cornwall.
"Traffic leaves the intersection going west and tends to pick up speed along that section, so we have to look at the safety of the situation," said Coun. Peter Meggs, chair of the planning board committee that turned down the subdivision request.
He said the planning board hired a planning consultant to help with this decision.
"One thing the planner did alert us to was the fact that this would create a panhandle lot and that planner's advice to us was panhandle lots are only good planning when other good options aren't available," said Meggs.
He also said future use of land to the north of the property in question may eventually offer better solutions than to bring multiple residents down one or two driveways on to the Trans-Canada.
Couns. Marlene Hunt and Corey Frizzell did not agree, and were joined by Coun. Parker Beer in supporting the subdivision request, causing a tie vote.
Mayor Barney Fullerton voted to support the planning board and its consultant by denying the subdivision request.
Hunt said there are a lot of homes along the Trans-Canada.
"That is the heart of Cornwall. For me, this is where we live. I can't see a problem with it personally, especially if we are looking at a bypass or another route, so eventually it will be a quieter street," she said.
"Cornwall is growing and, unfortunately, we are being stopped for more development all along the Trans-Canada, because it is a safety issue. I don't think it is fair to people who want to subdivide their land."
The council asked for additional information from Kevin McCarville, chief administrative officer. He said there would be challenges in bringing sewer and water service to the subdivision if duplexes were built. It would require multiple water and sewer lines and there would not be enough room for those, McCarville said.
"It's not that we are trying to stop people from subdividing or curb developing, it's just that this particular configuration of the land just can be seen as problematic on a lot of fronts," said Meggs.