Planning request in County of Wetaskiwin changed at last minute

County of Wetaskiwin council balks at changes that weren’t made public

An area structure plan for a parcel of land in the County of Wetaskiwin was turned down after a public hearing at the regular Planning and Development meeting Aug. 14, and last minute changes to said plan would have to come back to a future meeting.

The area structure plan was submitted for a parcel of land located at NE 35-46-27-W4M owned by Dave McAuley, also the applicant. Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers opened the public hearing and asked Director of Planning and Engineering David Blades to introduce the ASP.

“On June 18, 2018, Administration received a proposed Area Structure Plan from Bob Burdett on behalf of Dave McAuley within NE 35 46-27-W4M,” stated Blades in his report.

“The proposed Area Structure Plan proposes to create a single parcel for a residence for his daughter and her family. The proposed Area Structure Plan is located north of Falun, on the west side of the intersection of Highway 795 and Township Road 470. The current zoning for the 145.33 acre parcel is Agricultural.

“It should be noted that on this same property, at the November 12, 2015 Council for Planning and Economic Development meeting, Council refused a proposed Area Structure Plan to create 14 new Country Residential lots ranging in size from 2.1 acres to 5.0 acres. At the September 11, 2014 Council for Planning and Economic Development meeting, Council also refused the proposed rezoning of approximately 4.3 acres (1.75 hectares) to contain a shop for the maintenance and storage oil field equipment (for ACT Oilfield Services) from Agricultural to Rural Commercial within NE 35-46-27-W4M for David McAuley.”

Blades’ report contained comments from county staff who seemed to have a number of concerns with the current proposal:

“We have recently become aware of a complaint lodged about a second dugout on this property. This second dugout should be referenced within the ASP along with the purpose of it. According to the complaint, the purpose of the dugout is for the sale of the clay from the excavation. Since this is the second dugout on the property an approval is required by the Province under the Water Act. A copy of the approval should be provided. Further to this, if the purpose of the dugout is for the sale of clay (the existing dugout should have enough capacity for the livestock on the property) it would be considered a resource extraction operation and would require a development permit and Alberta Transportation approval as well.”

“What is the intended zoning for the parcels? As both are under 80 acres (that) does not comply with the Agricultural district.”

“We have recently received a development permit application for the property. This application still needs to be reviewed but there may be conflicting land uses between the intended residential use of the new parcel and the proposed development on the remainder.”

“I do not think the County should support smaller Agricultural parcels on this quarter just so that a residence can be created. With the limited soil rating on the south and the size, the Agricultural use of the property would be very limited. If the use of the land is to be Agricultural, the remainder of the quarter as it is now, should remain intact instead of further divided; which may ease further subdivision of it in the future. If a second house is desired, they have over 80 acres and can build one subject to an approved development permit.”

“It is a third parcel out on an Agricultural quarter section that has two yardsites subdivided out of it already an established yardsite on the remainder, a third parcel out that reduces the current parcel of 145.33 acres into two Agricultural parcels both under 80 acres should not be supported.”

“There should be a reference to the off-site sewer levy (that it will be paid at subdivision or upon a development). Section 19 refers to a group of neighbours he talked to with no objections – we need a list of who they were for the record.”

“As I drive past this property, I see non agricultural equipment stored in behind all of the buildings. My concern is that allowing a second parcel (one in the trees), are they just going to hide the equipment where it is out of sight out of mind?”

The applicant’s agent, Burdett, spoke next. He said the land in question is not ideal for much, citing tree cover, depressions and a “disturbed area.”

Burdett said the purpose of the ASP was to create one additional lot, not multiple. “The owner has abandoned his original idea of the 12 lots,” said Burdett. “Our intent was to include poorer land.”

Burdett then stated that county staff told him that, because the lands in question have an agricultural rating on average higher than 30 per cent, they would have to recommend refusal of the ASP on the grounds of protecting productive agricultural land.

So Burdett said he and the owner spent the Aug. 11 weekend developing a smaller proposal, down to about 40 acres. It was noted during the public hearing county staff only received this revised ASP on Monday, Aug. 13, a day before the public hearing.

Assistant CAO Jeff Chipley noted the revised ASP had not been made public; he stated the ASP before council was the one given to McCauley’s neighbours and advertised in the Pipestone Flyer. “This was not the plan that was sent around for the referral process,” said Chipley.

At this point, councilors and staff discussed options for the application, including adjournment. Chipley pointed out McCauley’s revised ASP, if it moves forward, would have to be re-advertised publicly.

When Rooyakkers asked if the public present had any comments, several stepped forward and stated they took a day off work to attend this hearing. One noted he is a farmer and, if the application comes back in the fall, any public hearing should be held November or later so farmers don’t have to miss another day of work.

Rooyakkers closed the public hearing, and Blades stated staff recommended council defeat the ASP based on agricultural soil rating, which is what they did.

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