Wetaskiwin county council denied an applicant their request to rezone land located near the southwest portion of Buck Lake from urban commercial to urban residential after identifying land in the county should not be rezoned purely on a tax basis.
The applicant, Erik Erickson, owns commercial land but it is no longer used commercially, but with hopes of using it as a residential lot.
Council says a precedent for the matter was already set in a previous situation located in Mulhurst Bay. Councillors feels the best long-term use of the land is commercial and feel once the zoning is changed from that it would be too hard to change it back in the future.
Assistant CAO Rod Hawken says the county has a responsibility to provide a certain amount of commercial land in the county.
Coun. Lyle Seely says he has spoken with the landowners and relayed they had no idea there is a process they could use to get the taxes lowered, as the land is not being used commercially. Going forward he says he wants it clear they can get their taxes down.
“I’m in favour of keeping it commercial,” said Seely. “They’re paying a whack of taxes on an empty piece of property.”