The informal public meeting is the first step in the zone change process. During that meeting, councilors are not allowed to give an opinion, just ask questions of the various delegations.
The area is currently zoned "agricultural" as so much of the west side of Waterloo was before development began years ago. But don't misconstrue that...it's not a farm. It's a property with a couple of buildings on it.
The Muslim Association of Canada owns the property, and has applied to change the zoning to "institutional" which would allow for the building of a spiritual center, and ultimately the association says a community center. The institutional zoning tag, allows for the development, theoretically, of a six storey building, but that is also limited by the footprint of the land. Right now, there is no proposal in place for a new building.
Concerns expressed so far, have run the gamut, from traffic (Erbsville can be a busy road at rush hour ) and parking to others such as "this neighbourhood is no place for a church"
As well there are worries about noise, and some people are concerned about the impact on their property values.
There have also been letters of support.
Either way, I'd like to hear your thoughts, and when we have a date for the formal public meeting on the issue, I'll spread the word.