County plan amendments approved, Div 9 application approved, subdivision in Bearspaw approved,
· COUNTY PLAN AMENDMENTS APPROVED
· DIV 9 APPLICATION TO CREATE TWO 20-ACRE PARCELS APPROVED
· REPEAT APPLICATION IN DIV 4 REFUSED
· APPLICATION FOR TRUCK STORAGE FACILITY REFUSED IN DIV 5
· SUBDIVISION IN BEARSPAW APPROVED
· CANADA POST ADDRESSING IMPROVEMENTS REQUESTED
· SPECIAL TAX FUNDING GRANT APPROVED FOR LANGDON
· TAX RECOVERY SALE PROPERTIES – TAX SALE CONDITIONS
COUNTY PLAN AMENDMENTS APPROVED
In response to a request from Council asking for a review of the County Plan, Administration brought forward a report asking for input about the scope of that review.
The County Plan is the high-level document that guides development in the County. Drafted in 2013, the County Plan was designed to last for 10-15 years. While there is no doubt there are aspects of the document that need tweaking, for example, the new and distinct agricultural policy, I do believe that, by and large, the document is both relevant and sound.
There were claims that the plan has not been reviewed since its inception. This is in part true, it isn’t reviewed by Council per se, but Administration does do an annual performance metrics review to ensure that the plan’s goals and objectives – to direct growth to existing areas before opening up new areas – are met.
The hearing started off somewhat reprehensibly when, in an unprecedented move, Reeve Boehlke attempted to start the debate without hearing Administration’s report. Instead, he opted to allow Councillor Schule to start making immediate amendments.
Both Councillor Kissel and I intervened, stating that not only had Administration worked hard on the report, but there were members of the public in the audience who deserved to understand the context of what was being discussed. It was also our first day of live streaming, meaning people were watching from home. Despite pushback from Councillor McKylor, Boehlke directed Administration to give its report.
Administration’s report provided three options:
1. A targeted review – involving minor changes that are more textual in nature
2. A comprehensive review - basically a complete rewrite - triggering the need for input from the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB)
3. A targeted review followed by a comprehensive review
Both options were set to include public engagement – the extent of which would be far greater for the comprehensive review.
For many on Council, the concern over a comprehensive review is the length of time it will take for it to be completed. Changes to populations and identifying additional growth corridors require input from neighbouring municipalities and will, therefore, hinge on the outcome of the CMRB’s Growth Plan, with which the plan will have to align. The Growth Plan is slated for completion in 2020. For those who wanted the changes made immediately, this was too long to wait.
The current County Plan is the result of extensive public engagement and reflects the input of the majority of those who participated in the process. Who it does not satisfy are certain developer interests that were unsuccessful in having their projects placed in the plan back in 2013. While development pressures are always a reality, do they warrant the rewrite of a sound document after only 5 years? Most of my colleagues deemed that answer to be yes.
Councillor Schule’s motion to have target populations removed from hamlets was approved unanimously under a targeted review. However, Schule also wanted to remove the reference to 2.5-3% as part of the plan’s definition of moderate growth, citing that our neighbours Cochrane, Chestermere and Airdrie were achieving much higher growth rates (6-7% p.a.). His motion was supported 8-1. I was the sole opposition.
Removing the target percentage seemed nonsensical. When I asked Administration about the County’s growth rate over the past number of years, Council was advised that the County was barely achieving a rate of 2% per year. How can a goal that we are not even achieving be limiting our growth? We have countless developments that are nowhere near build out and there are thousands of acres available for additional residential/commercial/industrial approvals under existing policy. Furthermore, how does eliminating the 2.5-3% align with our goal of achieving a 65:35 residential to commercial tax split?
For Councillors who didn’t want to hear the report, one would have hoped they would have had a better understanding of how their demands would impact the scope of the review. Policy and Planning Supervisor Amy Zaluski was beyond clear in stating that identifying new growth areas would undoubtedly trigger a comprehensive review involving the CMRB. This seemed to fall on deaf ears as Councillors Kamachi and McKylor continued to push to include the Highway 8 corridor while, Councillor Schule pushed for the inclusion of Glenmore Trail East, all under a simple targeted review.
To alleviate some of the confusion, CAO Al Hoggan tried to intervene. He stated a comprehensive review was just that – comprehensive. It would include a review of the entire document, therefore, having Councillors create “wish lists” about which areas of growth should be included was redundant.
Schule ignored the advice and instead went on to move that the Hwy 8, Hwy 1 West and Glenmore Trail East corridors be included for consideration as part of a comprehensive review. All but Councillor Hanson and I supported his motions.
A targeted review will come forward in the next few months. Followed by a comprehensive review sometime next year. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on dates and timelines as they become available.
DIVISION 9 APPLICATION TO CREATE TWO 20-ACRE PARCELS APPROVED
An application to create a 20-acre parcel with a 20-acre remainder was approved unanimously in Division 9. The application was to change the zoning from Ranch and Farm to Agricultural Holdings using the new and distinct agricultural policy.
The original parcel was split down the middle by Beaupre Lake – making the west side of the parcel inaccessible from the east. As a condition of subdivision, to access the western parcel, the applicant will have to build a road along what is currently a right of way.
A similar application on the same lands was denied in 2016 as it proposed having the parcels changed to Residential 3, not the Agricultural holdings (AH) proposed in this application. Given the area is predominantly agricultural in nature, an AH designation is supported by policy.
REPEAT APPLICATION IN DIVISION 4 REFUSED
An application to create a 11.49-acre parcel with an 11.49-acre remainder in Division 4 was rejected unanimously. The application sought to change the lands from Farmstead to Residential 3. Administration indicated the application was not compliant with policy.
This was the same proposal the applicant had brought before the previous Council in 2016. I asked if the applicants had made any changes to the application that was heard in 2016. The applicant stated he had not and was hoping that this Council was more favourable to the idea. We were not.
APPLICATION IN DIV 5 FOR TRUCK STORAGE FACILITY REFUSED
An application to change a parcel from Ag Holdings to Business – Industrial Campus to accommodate a truck storage facility in Division 5 was rejected unanimously. Administration had stated it was not compliant with policy.
The applicant had been operating a truck storage facility since 2016 but did not have a development permit. The applicant had originally tried to apply for a home-based business but was unsuccessful as he did not live on the property.
Local Councillor Gautreau also explained that this was the gateway to Calgary from the East and as such did not believe that a truck storage facility was a proper fit for the area.
Given that there was no local plan and the lands were outside of the phasing policy for the Conrich ASP, there was no supporting policy for the application. In addition, permission of such a land use would violate our Inter-municipal Development plan with the city of Calgary.
SUBDIVISION IN BEARSPAW APPROVED
The application to subdivide and create a 2.63-acre property with a 3.08 remainder along TWP Rd 262 in Division 8 was approved unanimously.
There was debate around the intent of the wording in terms of water servicing. The Administrative report indicated that lot 1 (the original lot) would stay on well servicing, while lot 2 (the new lot) would require tie in to the Rocky View Water Co-op.
However, further in the document it stated that “Each future Lot Owner is required to connect to County piped water (Lot 1), wastewater, and stormwater systems (Lot 1 and 2) at their cost when such services become available.” The concern raised was that water servicing is available, so both lots should have to tie-in to the co-op.
I asked the applicant to clarify what he was advised. He indicated that he would be able to keep the well on the original lot. As such the application was approved with only Lot 2 requiring tie-in to the co-op. This is something that needs to be looked at when the Bearspaw Area Structure Plan comes forward for review.
CANADA POST ADDRESSING IMPROVEMENTS REQUESTED
In response to a motion brought forward by Councillor Jerry Gautreau, Council voted unanimously to advise Canada Post of the desire to provide all Rocky View County residents and businesses with a County municipal mailing address and postal code.
Currently, only properties in hamlets are assigned a County-based address by Canada Post. Many residents share postal codes with neighbouring city residents or identify Cochrane, Calgary or Airdrie as their place of residence. To add to the confusion, there are places in the County whose mailing address already states Rocky View County. The motion is to create consistency and eliminate potential ambiguity.
SPECIAL TAX FUNDING GRANT APPROVED FOR LANGDON COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
Council voted to approve a $15,517 grant to the Langdon Community Association. The funds will assist with the Adopt-a-Planter program and help cover operational expenses for the Langdon Park. Funding comes from the Langdon Recreation Special Tax Levy.
TAX RECOVERY SALE PROPERTIES – TAX SALE CONDITIONS
Properties with outstanding tax arrears for 3 years are subject to Rocky View County’s 2019 Tax Sale. Section 419 of the Municipal Government Act states that “Council must set a reserve bid for each parcel of land offered for sale and any conditions that apply to the sale”.
This tax sale will only proceed if the outstanding tax arrears as of December 31, 2018 remain unpaid as of 2:00 p.m. on April 26, 2019. Should any properties fall under this provision, a report will be brought to Council in April.