A school bus storage and maintenance facility located in Leduc County has been denied a direct control redistricting request.
The business has been non-compliant with its home occupation type 3 permit for several years and county administration recommended to deny the application, as the business is not following elements of the municipal development plan.
Councillors Audrey Kelto and Glenn Belozer voted in support of granting the redistricting application while the remainder of council voted against it at the Feb. 28 meeting.
Greg and Lorraine Spurrell operate their commercial business — located on the west side of Range Road 241, approximately 200 meters south of Township 502 (Airport Road) — with 20 busses and 15 associated passenger vehicles. The business hold contracts with Black Gold School District and the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic School Division.
When the county first granted the business a permit in April of 2012 it allowed the storage of eight busses. Between April of 2012 and September of 2014 the number grew to 20, making the business non-compliant.
When the couple applied to renew the two-year permit in 2014 the Development Authority refused the development permit, as it was determined the development was not compatible with neighbouring land uses and that traffic levels were not reasonable for the area.
After an appeal late 2014 the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) allowed the appeal and granted a temporary development permit for a home occupation type 3 for two years. However, condition five of the permit allowed the applicants no more than eight commercial vehicles and two additional busses for emergency use only.
Coun. Audrey Kelto was the first to voice her support of the redistricting application. “I think it’s always a good news story when we see our businesses grow.”
Coun. John Schonewille says despite supporting business growth in the county he could not support the application, partially because he felt necessary roads are not in the best shape. “We are trying to control our businesses to go in certain areas.”
He added the business had ample time to re-comply with the terms of the permit. “They ignored it.”
Lorraine says she didn’t think it was fair for the county to turn down the application. “We only work 182 days of the year. We’re not working all hours of the night.”
“We feel like we’ve done everything you’ve asked plus more,” said Greg, referring to the fence they built around their property and several many trees. “We’re providing a service to the community,” he added.
Lorraine informed council the only reason they bought the land was for the business and added they would be appealing any denial. Schonewille stated there are no opportunities to appeal at this stage.
“We’ll get a lawyer,” said Lorraine, as she and Greg left council chambers.