The owners of Freedom Fields Naturalist Ranch in Stone Mills Township are fighting a township decision that denied them the rezoning they need to expand near Tamworth, Ont. on Tuesday, June 25, 2019Elliot Ferguson/The Whig-Standard/Postmedia Network
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Nudists, township start rezoning appeal battle

The two sides in a rezoning dispute for a nude campground faced off in a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning.

Freedom Fields Naturalist Ranch owners Yvonne Gibson and Hector Gravelle are appealing a 2017 decision by Stone Mills Township council that denied their request to re-zone their property to allow the expansion of the campground.

Tuesday’s meeting set a date for a hearing and confirmed the list of people seeking to take part as parties or participants.

But before that, LPAT member Thomas Hodgins asked the two sides if they could find a solution on their own.

“Is there an opportunity to settle this?” Hodgins asked.

Freedom Fields Naturalist Ranch owners Yvonne Gibson and Hector Gravelle leave the Stone Mills Township municipal office after a Local Planning Appeals Tribunal meeting in Centreville, Ont. on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.
Freedom Fields Naturalist Ranch owners Yvonne Gibson and Hector Gravelle leave the Stone Mills Township municipal office after a Local Planning Appeals Tribunal meeting in Centreville, Ont. on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. Elliot Ferguson/The Whig-Standard/Postmedia Network

Gibson said she and Gravelle were open to finding a settlement but the township’s lawyer Tony Flemming said his clients want the issue to go before a hearing.

Five people – mostly neighbours of the Freedom Fields – and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture applied to be participants in the hearing, allowing them to submit written comments for consideration.

All of those applying for participant status are opposed to the campground’s expansion, and included Jim and Susan Denison, Michael Mulroney and Chris Howland.

“I am very interested in this matter,” said Mulroney, who described himself as the third-generation of his family to live on a property adjacent to the Freedom Fields site.

The OFA opposed the campground being expanded on land that could be used for agricultural purposes.

Gibson said she objected to the tribunal allowing her neighbours take part as participants.

She argued that none of those applying failed to show the re-zoning application violated the township and county official plans or provincial policy statements about rural development.

Gibson said most of their submissions were “biased, discriminatory and libellous” and focused on the nudity at the ranch rather than planning issues.

Continued…Read full original article…

Source: Whig Standard

Original publication June 25, 2019

Posted on NatCorn 4 weeks ago

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