Home Hardware seeking zone change to expand truck parking at HQ

Last updated on Aug 03, 23

Posted on Aug 03, 23

2 min read

With the latest expansion plans for its St. Jacobs headquarters, Home Hardware wants more room to park transport trailers. For that, the company requires a zone change, the subject of a public meeting Tuesday night at Woolwich council.

The plan is to rezone for light industrial use 17.3 acres (seven hectares) at the rear of the property that’s currently zoned as agricultural land. The lot is just north of the existing parking area, and south of the company’s expansive stormwater management area.

Scott J. Patterson of Patterson Planning Consultants, representing Home Hardware, called the project “boring” from a planning perspective, amounting to the creating of a gravel parking lot as an extension of the existing lot for trailers.

A nearby neighbour doesn’t share that sentiment, however.

Don Kenesky of 55 Spring St. opposed Home Hardware’s application in a written submission to the township, raising concerns about noise, dust and light pollution.

“We are not in favour of the zone change proposed and do not want a truck shunting yard in our backyard. We are also concerned that if the property is developed or the zoning changed that it would affect our well levels and the water levels might drop and/or dry up,” he wrote.

Noting his home was just metres away from the proposed new boundary, he called for a 300-metre setback to be enforced to mitigate any negative impacts.

Coun. Nathan Cadeau said he’d heard neighbours’ concerns about noise, lighting and dust.

“You mentioned the noise study. Some of the residents have voiced concerns over the potential addition of things like lighting, and maybe the impact of dust should this be rezoned.”

In response, Patterson said a noise study was submitted, adding the company is looking at shifting to electric vehicles for the shunting rather than gas- or diesel-powered trucks. The study concluded noise on the new lot would meet guidelines.

As for dust, Home Hardware would apply calcium and water as needed to suppress it, he added.

Addressing the lighting issues, Woolwich senior planner Stephen Dykstra said the site plan would deal with lighting – the creation of a photometric plan – at the expanded lot.

Coun. Evan Burgess asked if the company would be adding to the existing berm, perhaps with a solid fence or planting trees, to help mitigate any noise.

“I’m sure Home Hardware would consider it,” said Patterson, noting the company wants to be a “good corporate citizen.”

Raising another line of questioning, St. Jacobs resident Julie Shark asked if the construction of a parking lot would be counterproductive in Waterloo Region’s efforts to combat climate change, citing the possibility of an “urban heat island effect.”

“I think that this is a case where we need to look at going above and beyond just planting a few trees or making sure a couple of trees aren’t mowed over is not really good enough compared to where we’re at and what we’re up against in the next few years,” she argued, noting her concerns were purely environmental. “There’s a lot more at stake right now than just having some extra parking lots for some trucks.”

Tuesday night’s meeting was for information purposes only, with the township continuing to solicit feedback. A recommendation report from staff will follow at a later date.

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