Glamping pods need building permits

Long Point Eco-Adventures has hit a snag in its drive to diversify its outdoor recreational offerings near Turkey Point.Last fall, Norfolk’s building department flagged 16 of 22 “glamping pods” for failing to follow the building permit process.The pods in question have a floor area of more than 108 square feet. As such, they required a building permit before they were installed.Eco-Adventures took a step in correcting the situation this week when Norfolk council gave the green light to fit the pods with indoor plumbing and an on-site septic system. However, many more steps are required that will take time and cost money.Adam Van Paassen, site manager at Long Point Eco-Adventures, says the miniature camping huts have been in high demand since the first ones went in three years ago. Van Paassen says Long Point Eco-Adventures is willing to do what it can to comply with county and provincial requirements.“We’re hoping for the best and expecting the worst,” he said at Governor Simcoe Square Tuesday.Compliance could be expensive and time-consuming. It remains to be seen whether the affected camping sites will be available for the 2019 tourism season.In a report to council, Norfolk’s building department says it will require an engineer’s report or similar certification that the pods are safe and fit for human habitation. Detailed drawings by a qualified architect or equivalent will also have to be submitted.Building permit fees must also be paid based on the value of construction.“All fees will be subject to a 100 per cent penalty fee for construction prior to the permit being issued,” the planning report says.Long Point Eco-Adventures also needs a construction permit from the Long Point Region Conservation Authority. Ministry of the Environment permits are required to service the site with toilets and a septic system.Speaking to Norfolk council, Adam Van Paassen said his group simply didn’t know the rules regarding legal development when it established the camping huts on site.Van Paassen says the process has been frustrating. In working with Norfolk’s planning department, he noted that satisfying one set of requirements seems to give rise to a new set of requirements. Navigating the process, he said, produces unexpected costs in the thousands of dollars with no perceivable end in sight.“I feel like I know five per cent of what I have to know to do development,” Van Paassen said. “I know there are people out there trying to do development with zero knowledge.”Mayor Kristal Chopp said this situation illustrates the need for Norfolk to come up with a transparent, predictable process for development that is easy to understand and simple to communicate.Another ambitious piece of the puzzle is the pending addition of a pavilion, restaurant and microbrewery at the property on Front Road north of Turkey Point.Plans were to have the brewery operational in time for the summer tourism season.However, given the requirements of the planning process, the parties to the development are leaning in the direction of setting up temporary brewing facilities on site and taking the summer to install the permanent brewery in the basement of the pavilion, which is also working its way through the planning process.Working in partnership with Long Point Eco-Adventures on the brewery is Hometown Brew Co. of Norfolk County. Hometown Brew currently brews its products at the Ramblin’ Road Brewery north of Delhi near La [email protected]

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