The County of Wetaskiwin council voted against rezoning a parcel of agricultural land to country residential after a public hearing was held at the Planning & Economic Development meeting Apr. 12.
According to the meeting agenda, an application was sent to the county from Tracy Mullin to rezone nine acres or 3.64 hectares of land located at NE 21-47-23-W4M from Agricultural (AG) to Country Residential (CR).
The memo also stated the property is located West of Coal Lake along Township Road 474. The applicant would like to sell the farmland and retain the acreage with the two dwellings to support herself and daughter.
Director of Planning and Economic Development David Blades presented the application to councilors for the public hearing. Blades noted there are already two dwellings on the land in question and Mullin’s request, if granted, would create a non-conforming status. Blades also noted Mullin has a family member with health issues is involved.
Blades noted county staff had some concerns about the request. “We do have some issues with this proposal,” he said. “The soil is very high quality.” He noted the soil rating in question is 90 per cent, or Class 1, with some Class 2 and 3.
County staff stated in the agenda memo that subdividing off a nine acre parcel with two dwellings on it could set a precedent. “The other thing is that if we approved a nine acre rezoning I hope that we would not be sending them a message indicating that its acceptable to now try and subdivide off 9 acres,” stated the memo.
Also, rezoning would create an issue for the compassionate dwelling noted staff. “…once this parcel gets rezoned and subdivided off the rules change and there would need to be a doctor’s note in place,” stated the memo.
Councilor Josh Bishop noted that granting this application would result in a situation that doesn’t meet the rules.
Assistant CAO Jeff Chipley said the county could approve this, but 10 or 15 years down the road nobody knows what will happen with that land. He said the parcel could be chipped away and end up a subdivision.
The agenda memo contained a number of somewhat similar applications from the past that council turned down because they didn’t meet the rules.
After the public hearing was closed, Blades stated that staff recommended councilors turn down the request for the reasons given during the public hearing.
A motion to approve first reading of the rezoning was unanimously defeated.