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Stephenville council takes next step in Hillier Avenue amendments process

Coun. Mark Felix is seen during discussions at the Stephenville town council meeting on Thursday at noon hour. Felix is one of the council members in favour of the Hillier Avenue amendments going ahead.
Coun. Mark Felix is seen during discussions at the Stephenville town council meeting on Thursday at noon hour. Felix is one of the council members in favour of the Hillier Avenue amendments going ahead. - Frank Gale

The Stephenville town council is proceeding with its next step of the amendment process to allow development in the Hillier Avenue area.

But just as it did in June of this year, the process is still getting opposition from Coun. Don Gibbon and Coun. Mike Tobin.

Both said they are totally opposed to the amendments, which pertain to the rezoning of certain residential land in the vicinity of Hillier Avenue from Residential to Rural and Comprehensive Development Area-Residential to Country Living Residential and exempt Country Living zone from the requirement to be connected to municipal water and sewer services.

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It was noted that property lot size will increase. To proceed to the next step the scheduling of a public hearing is part of the process.

When Coun. Gibbon expressed his total opposition to the amendments, Coun. Mark Felix said the adoption was taking place to simply go to the next stage with public hearings.

After that Coun. Tobin also stated he was opposed for the same reasons given previously in June, which included his thought that the proposed amendments change the direction and philosophy of the Town of Stephenville.

He said this is not a trivial or frivolous amendment and would mean a structural change with many implications for the future.

Tobin said in the last decade Stephenville has seen a number of residential subdivisions developed and millions of dollars spent. He said fairness and a level playing field has to be taken into account for the developers.

Mayor Tom Rose, who was attending the meeting via Skye from St. John’s, declared himself in a conflict of interest due to being a landowner on Hillier Avenue and didn’t take part in the discussion.

The other four council members: Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow, who was chairing the meeting; and Coun. Felix, Coun. Maurice Hynes and Coun. Laura Aylward voted in favour of the motion for the amendments process to continue and the scheduling of the public meeting.

Mike Campbell, town manager, said the public meeting has to be conducted by a commissioner and that person has yet to be appointed. It’s expected the date for the public meeting will be announced at the next Stephenville town council meeting on Oct. 25 and take place sometime during the following month.

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