Property owner offers to buy Pigeon Lake land so new house will fit

Frank Dyck asks County of Wetaskiwin to sell him a portion of reserve on south side of lake

A County of Wetaskiwin property owner requested to purchase a piece of municipal property located beside his Pigeon Lake property at the Mar. 14 Planning and Development council meeting.

Frank Dyck appeared before council to request the purchase of a piece of property on the south side of Pigeon Lake, “a portion of Municipal Reserve Lot P, Plan 3843KS, adjacent to his lot located within SE 13-46-1-W5M, Lot 28, Block 2, Plan 1523MC,” stated the meeting agenda.

“In February of 2018, I had the house demolished in order to build a new one. Because of a high ground water table we intend to build above ground only (no basement),” stated Dyck in a letter to council.

“We have tried several plans to make fit on our lot, but none seem to work. In view of the aforementioned we would like your Council to consider selling me the portion of land as indicated on the attached.

“The new boundaries will allow me to build a larger house in compliance with building standards. Because of its odd shape it appears to be of no value to the County or anyone else other than the owner of lot 28. It seems to me the county would benefit more by way of taxes.”

Dyck added, “All I’m really asking for then is to see what arrangements we can make for me to acquire that piece of property,” he said, noting the piece of property doesn’t seem to have a lot of value as a drainage ditch is located on it.

The staff memo noted there was some encroachment onto the municipal property. “The purpose of the purchase and consolidation would be to rectify the encroachment of a fence, small boat shed, and drainage onto the Municipal Reserve,” stated the agenda memo.

Director of Planning David Blades said he spoke to the county’s assessment department about this piece of land and its value. The industry standard is to look at whether a piece of property has development potential, and if it doesn’t, the land’s value is much lower than a similar piece which could be developed.

Blades said generally a parcel this size in the Pigeon Lake area that could be developed could have a value as high as $300,000. But if the parcel isn’t suitable for development, the value could be as low as $19,000 he noted.

Assistant CAO Jeff Chipley noted that the Municipal Government Act requires the County of Wetaskiwin to follow rules for the sale of public land and while it appears to make sense for Dyck to buy this land, it will have to go to public advertising plus a re-zoning and the purchaser should pay all the rezoning costs. A public hearing would also be required.

Councilor Lyle Seely pondered whether this request, if approved, would set a precedent.

Dyck said the parcel in question doesn’t have a boat launch and anytime someone tries to access the lake through it, they get stuck, so he doesn’t think too many people use this parcel.

Councilor Josh Bishop said he was concerned moving Dyck’s property line was going to affect the drainage ditch.

Dyck said the ditch is at least five feet from his fence, possibly up to seven feet, and he feels there will still be lots of room if the ditch needs to be accessed.

Councilor Bill Krahn said the request makes sense and didn’t feel public access would be affected.

Chipley noted the public hearing would include lots of information about the ditch and its access.

Councilors moved to investigate the sale of said parcel to Dyck, who would also be required to carry all financial costs of the request.

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