GUELPH/ERAMOSA – Another farm in Guelph/Eramosa has been given the green light from council to operate as a seasonal special events venue.
On June 6, council approved a zoning bylaw amendment for CJ Equestrian Centre and CJ Country Events, located at 5725 6th Line, which would allow the venue as a secondary business to the main agricultural use.
The site is currently operating as an equestrian farm and seasonal camp.
Permitting existing structures to also be utilized as an events venue would accommodate events such as weddings, receptions and workshops, the report to council noted.
The approved request will allow CJ Equestrian to host events of up to 180 people from March 1 to Dec. 31, despite recommendations from county and township planners to cap attendance at 140 and limit the season to April to November.
The applicants also requested an increase to the maximum gross area of all associated buildings and structures from 327 square metres to 650 square metres.
MHBC planner Pierre Chauvin, on behalf of the applicant, referred to the amendments as “red line revisions,” asking council to approve the changes as they reflect the centre’s vision for its operations.
“Not every on-farm diversified use is the same,” Chauvin said.
“They all have different nuances, different ways of operating and certainly, CJ Equestrian is one of them.”
Applicant Lyssa Caine added the centre hosts its events around its own farming activities and being able to spread events throughout the year would give them more flexibility.
“We are the farmers and we do want to protect our farming operations for generations to come,” she told council.
“As such we are requesting these items above out of not only the experience and the knowledge, but also to help our future generations with balancing out farming and on-farm diversified uses.”
Mayor Chris White said the numbers were a good compromise from what was initially brought forward,
He described the township as having a “pro-business council,” noting it’s good for the community.
“What we do here, [sets precedent] and everybody’s got to be on a level playing field,” White said.
“The intention here is to make sure that it’s secondary, protects the neighbours, doesn’t set bad precedence.”
White added, “That said, there seems to be a reasonable compromise here that some of the original numbers you may have wanted, we kind of sought out a middle ground here.”
Council received the planning report and approved the zoning amendment, making CJ Equestrian the second business now permitted to operate as a seasonal on-site venue in the township.
Last June, council approved a site plan approved Thatcher Farms as a special events venue.