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Definition of ‘home based business’ debated by County of Wetaskiwin

Commercial trucks in residential subdivisions was crux of issue

County of Wetaskiwin councilors debated the pros and cons of home based businesses that involve commercial trucks in residential areas, during the regular Planning and Development meeting Feb. 15.

The issue arose as director of Planning David Blades presented his regular report. Councilor Josh Bishop asked about a home based business designation that had been denied.

Development officer Jarvis Grant responded that the business in question was not entirely “home based.” Grant stated the application involved a trucking company that was hoping to include an office in a residence located in a subdivision.

Bishop stated there are many businesses operating like that in the county’s residential subdivisions.

Blades said some smaller vehicles like a one ton truck might not create serious problems, a large 18-wheeled truck in a residential subdivision creates a weight issue for the roads, subdivisions are designed for residences only, commercial trucks also have the potential to create a noise issue and exhaust could also be a problem. Blades also added that if some situations like this are already occurring, it’s possible the businesses are operating without approval.

Assistant CAO Jeff Chipley stated this came to the county’s attention after internal and external complaints about the 18-wheeled truck in the residential subdivision. Chipley also stated it’s likely this issue will come to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.

Bishop said the county should consider supporting local businesses rather than hindering some of them. “It just seems very ‘anti-business,’” said Bishop.

Councilor Dale Woitt asked how long the subdivision in question has been there, and was told about seven years.

Councilor Kathy Rooyakkers stated other residential subdivisions in the County of Wetaskiwin contain businesses such as an autobody shop and boat business, and they seem to operate okay. She stated the applicant in question only has one truck and refusal doesn’t seem fair.

Councilor Ken Adair stated a fully loaded truck could cause problems, but an empty truck shouldn’t be an issue.

Rooyakkers stated that the county should avoid having everything going to appeal, as that can get expensive.

Councilor Lyle Seely said he felt the county’s Land Use Bylaw Committee should take a look at this issue and send a recommendation back to councilors. Councilors passed a motion to do just that.

As an update, the applicant has appealed the refusal to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board and the appeal hearing will occur on March 12, 2019.

The overall issue will be discussed by council in the future.