Exception to zoning bylaw made to permit Gros Cap chiropractic clinic

Prince council approves special exception to zoning bylaw

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Home-based businesses have come and gone in Prince Township over the years, but Dr. Alfonso Tavormina and his wife, Carmela, told council that the chiropractic clinic they plan to establish in Gros Cap will be there to stay.

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The couple attended the meeting to answer questions about their application for a special exception to Zoning Bylaw 2015-19, Section 1.22, which  prohibits ambulatory health care clinics from operating in the hamlet.

A written report from Steve Turco, the township’s planner, recommended that council approve the application,  pointing out that “a chiropractic clinic would function in a similar manner to other permitted home-based businesses, such as massage therapists.”

The application was also vetted by Algoma Public Health and the Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority, neither of which raised objections.

Mayor Ken Lamming and council gave the couple a hearty welcome, then voted unanimously to approve the application.

The Tavormina property is located at the south-west corner of Second Line West, where it intersects with Pinder Drive. The couple, who operated a home-based clinic in Brantford, Ont., for 18 years, are building a new home on the site. The clinic will occupy the home’s lower level and have its own entrance.

Carmela, who will manage the clinic office, said she understood the need to retain the site’s residential aspect by keeping the signage low-key.

“There won’t be any obscurity of the prettiness that made us buy this property” she said. “It will still look like a home.”

“We left a very successful practice … to come to your area after visiting it last year. We fell in love with it and knew we wanted to retire here.  We found a piece of property and fell in love with that. We are continuing our work here,” she said.

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The couple wants to see the clinic open sometime in October.

In response to questions submitted by residents about parking spaces, Alfonso said the site would have enough parking spaces for up to four patients’ vehicles, even though even though he didn’t expect appointments to overlap by more than five minutes.

“No one will be parking on Second Line,” he told council. “I’d never agree to that. (The clinic) is not high volume. It’s ç That’s what I chose … I didn’t do it for the money. I did it because I want to help people,” he said.

He added that the clinic’s outdoor lighting would consist of low intensity LED lights, which would be timed to shut off automatically late at night.

One Gros Cap resident asked whether the special exception zoning would permit a new owner to change the type of business at the site if the property were to be sold.

Turco stated in his report that  a new owner could not do so, unless the new business use was already permitted under the zoning bylaw’s home-based business provisions.

If it was not permitted, the new owner would have to apply to council to have the property rezoned.

Not that such a scenario is likely; the couple said that after they retire they plan to remain in their Gros Cap home.

“I feel I’m blessed to be there,” Alfonso said.

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