The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission released its decision, Thursday, (June 14) to reject an appeal filed by a group of residents, led by Andre Lavoie.
Jonathan Coady, counsel for developer Riverview Place Inc., says it means the subdivision can proceed.
"In terms of planning steps, they will move toward final subdivision approval and sign a development agreement with the Town of Cornwall,'' Coady said.
That agreement will set forth the terms and conditions of development which are aimed at protecting the quality and character of development on the site.
Town council voted in March in favour of a resolution supporting the subdivision on Ferry Road. The subdivision will be approximately 16 acres of field and woods along the road, located across from the entrance to the Holiday Haven KOA campground near Eliot Park, turned into 108 units of duplexes and townhouses.
Lavoie said the proposal contravened the town's Official Plan and residents were also upset that the area was rezoned from single-family residential to planned-unit residential (PURD).
In its decision, IRAC pointed out that the outcome of the appeal was limited when the PURD was adopted by the town as part of the Official Plan and Bylaws in early 2004. Because the decision was made eight years ago it falls beyond the statutory appeal period to the commission.
"Some residents may not have fully appreciated the implications of the zoning change and either were not aware of the changes or did not avail themselves of the opportunity to oppose the zoning when it was being discussed by the town,'' the commission states.
In reacting to the decision, Lavoie said Thursday the residents are guilty of waiting too long but still feels the town is still in non-compliance with the Official Plan.
"That's the most shocking part of this,'' Lavoie said. "Why bother having an Official Plan if they're not going to follow it?''
In its Official Plan, the town indicates it wants to preserve its rural nature, protect existing neighbourhoods but, at the same time, be open to new concepts of development that include high densities, which is what the proposed development is.
The challenge, the commission states, becomes blending those objectives and, in 2004, decided that a blending would take place on the Ferry Road through a PURD zone.
IRAC also rejected the petition, which contained 280 signatures opposing the proposed development, saying that cannot override a planning decision based on established bylaws.
The commission also rejected Lavoie and the residents' claim that high-density development isn't sound planning. IRAC points out that is sound planning, based on factors like development costs, changing residential preferences or greater sensitivity to land and service utilization.
Coun. Peter Meggs, chair of the planning committee, said he feels gratified that IRAC supported the town.
"I believe we followed the process properly in the first place when the rezoning happened,'' Meggs said, adding that the town stuck to "the letter of the law'' and did its due diligence when the developers approached the town about the subdivision.
Meggs said he definitely sympathizes with the residents behind the appeal.
"I hope it will be seen that we listened to everybody in this manner but, at the end of the day, we had to follow through with the process as it exists so it's gratifying IRAC saw us as adhering to this process.''