A motocross track that has a family of motorcycle enthusiasts on one side of the issue and their farming neighbours on the other has been denied again.
The Branco family, Andrew and Erika, had an appeal for a motocross track denied after a hearing July 12 by the County of Wetaskiwin’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. The appeal was filed by the Brancos following the denial earlier this year of their application for a development permit for the track located at S ½ SE 30-45-22 W4M, zoned agriculture.
The appeal decision, provided by County of Wetaskiwin, noted a number of factors which affected the SDAB’s July 12 decision. It noted the county received a complaint in December, 2015 about an unpermitted motocross track on the property in question. The decision stated the Brancos were notified the track was unpermitted, and something had to be done to get the land in accordance with the land use bylaw. The main options included removing the track or applying for a development permit after rezoning the land to recreational, which would allow a motocross track to operate commercially.
The Brancos chose to apply for the development permit and a hearing was held Apr. 14, but the application was turned down. On May 27, the Branco’s application for a development permit to use the motocross track for personal use was also refused by the county. Thus, the appeal.
According to the decision the Brancos wanted to keep the track operating for personal use and at the hearing noted that they felt the track met “extensive recreational use” requirements.
However, at the hearing neighbours were opposed to the track, stating that land was better used for farming, that a motorbike track caused problems for livestock in the area, the environment could suffer and that the track had negative effects such as noise and increased traffic among others.
The SDAB turned down the application for an “Existing Motorcross Track for Personal use” and noted that county council voted down the rezoning which would allow a motocross track to exist; the recreational zoning is the only zoning which allows a motocross track.
The decision also noted, “In the opinion of the Development Authority, the ‘Existing Motocross Race Track for Personal Use’ meets the definition of a race track as defined by the County’s Land Use Bylaw. Therefore, the Development Authority was operating within the County’s Land Use Bylaw when it issued the refusal.”
The decision went on to state “The existing motocross track for personal use does not fall under the definition of ‘extensive recreation’ under the County’s Land Use Bylaw. Extensive recreational use is defined as ‘a recreational land use located in a rural area to take advantage of a natural setting for dispersed, low-impact activities including but not limited to walking, hiking, cross-country skiing and bird-watching and which may include small cabins or chalets for short-term use on a commercial basis that may be subordinate to a principal dwelling.’”
The document notes at the very bottom, “A decision of the SDAB is final and binding on all parties and persons subject only to an appeal upon a question of jurisdiction or law…An application for leave to appeal must be made to a judge of the Court of Appeal within 30 days after the issue of the decision sought to be appealed…” In a nutshell, this means the case would head to a provincial courthouse.