By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
The former Sweden Freeze restaurant, located on Charing Cross Road, may be converted into a gas station and convenience store after council approved rezoning the property at Monday night’s meeting.
South Kent Coun. Trevor Thompson made an amendment to the project asking that it return to council at a later date because there was no opportunity for residents to see a final site plan before it receives final approval. He said he would like to give residents another chance to see what it would look like.
“I think it’s important that the residents of Charing Cross who have expressed some concerns to me get a chance to see this project before final approval goes ahead. They do have some concerns in regards to the lighting aspect, as well as just how it’s going to impact their community. So I think it’s important to add that into the process,” he said.
A Site Plan Control application is required prior to construction on the property. The lands are approximately 1.29 hectares.
The project received one deputation from a resident in Harwich who was concerned about the environmental effects a gas station would have.
“Canadians are hard pressed to meet challenging targets for decreasing carbon emissions from the federal government if we allow more gas tanks to be buried in the ground. We need to be thinking more of services to promote green energy, perhaps an electric vehicle charging station. Gasoline will poison the ground with chemicals. In the future we are not going to be using as much fuel as many automobile manufacturers are planning to make electric and hybrid vehicles,” she wrote.
Chatham Coun. Michael Bondy raised concerns that “nobody likes a gas station” and that it would have a negative impact on the future sale of houses.
Ryan Jacques, director of Planning Services, said property value is not taken into consideration when analyzing a planning application, however, this particular property, which is already zoned commercial, is already contributing to property value conditions in the area.
The Zoning By-law amendment was required to implement the proposed severance of a new parcel of land, which was approximately 0.97 hectares, according to the application.
The site plan is expected to be received later in 2021.