18, 2004: For decades the Christian Farmers Federation
has had a firm position on severing scattered lots for houses
in areas of good farmland. “Don’t do it. It’s
bad news for the business of farming.”
It is encouraging that at least one of the latest provincial
policy proposals includes a ban on scattered severances on
But all these provincial discussion documents, like the proposal
for the Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt, have also stirred up new
thinking on old issues. The policy think tanks and the Provincial
Council of the Christian Farmers Federation have taken a fresh
look at the specific issue of a residence surplus to a farming
operation. It happens frequently that a farm family buys the
property next door or across the road to expand their farming
operation. But the family really doesn’t need a second
home. It becomes surplus to the farm.
Historically, CFFO’s members have viewed scattered
severances so negatively that they also rejected the severing
of surplus houses. At last week’s Provincial Council
meeting, the membership voted to modify that blanket rejection
of severing surplus houses to one of support under unique
circumstances, with specific guarantees. CFFO members want
substantial guarantees with such a severance:
Guarantees that the remaining farmland parcel will have no
opportunity to have a house built on it by adding the property
to the deed of an adjacent property or by putting an easement
prohibiting the building of a house on the title of the property.
Guarantees that the existence of the severed house will have
no negative impacts on the farming activities and on the use
of the farm buildings on the remaining farmland parcel.
A local agricultural advisory committee must be convinced
that severing houses considered surplus to a farming operations
is more important to the ongoing farming activities in their
municipality than the negative impacts of a severed house
on those farming activities; and
With so many guarantees attached, this is not a significant
change in policy. Even so, CFFO members voiced many cautions
before voting in favor of the change:
- This house will be smack in the middle of farming.
- Once severed from the farmland, the house will cast an
- Severed, the house has a much bigger urban footprint.
- Severed, the house creates minimum distance separation
issues for the remaining farmland.
- The new owners of the severed house are very likely to
be exurbanites seeking a bucolic countryside experience;
tensions for the farming practices for the surrounding farmers
This is a more nuanced and detailed policy. With enough guarantees
CFFO supports unique and specific severances.
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