• Samanntha Wright

January 2022 Council Update

Updated: Feb 17


 APPLICATION FOR S-FUD IN CONRICH FUTURE POLICY AREA REFERRED TO ADMIN

 GLENDALE ROAD APPLICATION APPROVED

 CALGARY GROWTH MANAGEMENT BOARD PRESENTATION TO COUNCIL

 SPECIAL MEETING – COUNTY BUDGET – JANUARY 17/18

 APPLICATION TO CREATE S-FUD IN DIVISION 5 TABLED

 MUNICIPAL PLANNING COMMISSION COMING TO AN END

 BEARSPAW AREA STRUCTURE PLAN REVIEW

 BRAGG CREEK EXPANSION STRATEGY AND CONRICH FUTURE EXPANSION AREA


JANUARY 11 TH COUNCIL MEETING


APPLICATION FOR S-FUD IN CONRICH FUTURE POLICY AREA REFERRED TO ADMIN

Council heard an application to redesignate a 147-acre parcel and a 10-acre parcel to S-FUD (Special, Future Urban Development District). Both parcels are located on the same quarter section in the Conrich Area Structure Plan’s Future Policy Area (Division 6).


The intention behind S-FUD is to allow for a range of temporary land uses until the land is developed to an urban standard. Administration recommended refusal. Despite claiming the business only required 10-acres for truck storage, the application sought

to redesignate the entire parcel. The applicant stated that he had been waiting for six years for the County to provide direction on land uses in this area and felt the S-FUD designation would allow him to operate the truck storage business until it was determined what would be the highest and best use of the lands.


Local Councillor Samra’s motion to approve the application failed 4-3 with only Councillors Boehlke and Schule supporting him. In my opinion, the application created piecemeal development and was premature. Not to mention, it was pre-determining what the community would like to see happen with those lands without allowing for proper input.


Administration noted that amendments to outline land uses in Conrich’s future policy area were currently in the review process. As a result, a subsequent motion referring the application back to Administration pending a review of the Conrich ASP’s future policy area passed unanimously.


GLENDALE ROAD APPLICATION APPROVED

An application to create an 18 and 17.6-acre parcel from agricultural lands to R-RUR in the Glendale Rd area of Division 3 was approved unanimously. Administration had recommended refusal because the applicants had not provided a concept scheme and the lands required panhandle access.


During the hearing, the applicants addressed the issue of the panhandle access. With regards to the concept scheme, the applicants claimed it would provide limited benefit on such large parcels and that other parcels in the area hadn’t had to do one. Of note, a decade ago, these applicants already had a concept scheme waived when they initially divided their lands, citing at the time that they would not be seeking further redesignation of their lands.


It is true that an 18-acre and 17.6-acre parcel would have nominal impact on the surrounding community, however, the redesignation to R-RUR allows for a parcel to be subdivided into 3.95-acre parcels without a public hearing. As a result, Administration recommended placing a modifier on the redesignation that would restrict further redesignation without a land use amendment and another public hearing. Deputy Mayor Kissel’s motion to approve the application with these requirements passed unanimously.


CALGARY GROWTH MANAGEMENT BOARD PRESENTATION TO COUNCIL

CMRB Board Chair, Greg Clark, and Chief Officer, Jordon Copping made a presentation to

Council, as they are doing for all the member municipalities’ councils. Clark gave a brief history and high-level overview of the process. He also discussed the newly implemented appeal mechanism and the fact that everyone is currently waiting on Minister Ric McIver (Municipal Affairs) to approve the final Regional Growth Plan.


While it is no secret that the previous council was vehemently opposed to the CMRB, it is

becoming increasingly evident that the CMRB is here to stay. One of the key concerns has been Calgary’s veto power and rightly so. However, having the ability to appeal decisions to the Land and Property Tribunal (formerly the Municipal Government Board) provides a more level playing field. I am also really hoping that having Councillor Hanson as Council’s CMRB representative, along with Calgary’s new mayor, allows for a fresh start – one that will focus on creating wins for the whole region and not just Calgary.


SPECIAL MEETING – COUNTY BUDGET – JANUARY 17/18

The key takeaway from Council’s 2022 budget meeting is the proposed 4% tax increase. If you recall, Council approved a 0% tax increase last year. To reflect the general impact of inflation on the County’s costs and to provide staff with a cost-of-living pay raise (something they haven’t had for three years), Administration recommended a $4.1 million or 4% increase would be required for 2022.


While this pales in comparison to the 10% increase being imposed by some of our neighbouring municipalities, I believe that there needs to be a major review of the County’s finances, servicing, debt and debt servicing to identify possible efficiencies.


Administration did announce that there would be a customer satisfaction survey coming forward. Hopefully, the survey results combined with the hiring of a new CAO sometime in Q2, will help identify where these efficiencies can occur.


In addition to Administration’s recommendations, Council brought forward several

amendments. Firstly, $500,000 will be taken from the reserve for stormwater improvements that funds Policy 459. This will allow the County to address some of the 30+ projects currently sitting on that list. Admin had recommended not including any funding for these projects again, for what would be the third year in a row. Thanks to some great questioning by Councillor Hanson, Administration confirmed that there was a reserve of $577,000 built up in earlier years. By taking $500,000 from the reserve, outstanding stormwater improvements can be dealt with without any additional cost to ratepayers this year.


A request by Councillor Schule to have snowplowing continue on the Langdon’s east side of Main Street was approved 4-2 with Kissel and me in opposition. Schule recused himself from the vote as he owns property that would benefit from the request. However, his recusal came long after he had brought forward the original motion and weighed heavily into the debate.


Administration recommended discontinuing the project as the sidewalk is in front of private property, however, Schule maintained that it was part of Langdon’s pathway system. After some debate, it was decided that the east side of the road could be plowed as part of the pathways plowing programme but not the west. While the cost is minor, approximately $5000 a year, in my opinion, either we provide the service for all businesses or none.


Fees for dog licenses will be reinstated but not until January 2023. If you recall, the previous Council removed them stating they thought it would help encourage residents to license their dogs. This has not been the case. As a result, the County has been processing dog licenses for free. Come 2023, dog licensing fees will be $15 for spayed / neutered dogs and $20 for intact dogs. This is estimated to generate over $100,000 in revenue which will offset dog license processing costs as well as the costs of having officers respond to impound requests.


Lastly, Schule’s motion to continue spraying for mosquitoes in Langdon and Church Ranches was tabled unanimously. Last year, Council decided to discontinue spraying (cost of $52,000 p.a.), however, it opted to provide a one-year grace period to prepare the communities and allow them time to make their own arrangements. While I support mosquito spraying, I struggle with the service only being available to two communities and not others. The matter was tabled so other communities can weigh in as to whether this is something they would like to consider and the costs to do so. Once that information is available Council can make an informed decision as to how to best proceed.


JANUARY 25 TH COUNCIL MEETING


APPLICATION TO CREATE S-FUD IN DIVISION 5 TABLED

An application to redesignate a 140-acre parcel from Agricultural Lands to S-FUD in Division 5 was tabled. Administration recommended refusal.


One of the criteria for S-FUD is that the lands be located in an area structure plan. This parcel was not. The proposal was to utilize 10-acres for truck storage, however, the application sought to redesignate the entire parcel, meaning that the entire parcel could theoretically be used as such.


Councillor Boehlke argued that the size of any truck storage operation would be the discretion of the development authority. However, Administration noted it would be difficult to say no to the whole parcel if the whole parcel was approved.


The applicant’s consultant outlined how he believed S-FUD should be interpreted and what its true intent was. Boehlke’s motion to approve the application failed. I then made a motion to refuse the application, which also failed. Finally, a tabling motion was approved unanimously directing Administration to hold a workshop so that Council could understand the intended purpose for S-FUD once and for all. Once that happens, the application will come back to Council for a decision.


MUNICIPAL PLANNING COMMISSION (MPC) COMING TO AN END

Originally, MPC was brought forward on the recommendation of previous CAO Al Hoggan to streamline the development authority process. However, it has become clear that the

Municipal Planning Commission is more of a make-work project for all involved, one that has little benefit to ratepayers, Administration, or Council.


It was noted that the increased workload for Administration to prepare for MPC was not

meeting the strategic goal of timely and efficient customer service delivery. Furthermore, it added a layer of bureaucracy and created a more complicated decision-making framework.


While MPC allows for Council to have greater oversight, it also allows for greater deviation from policy and therefore, provides less consistency. While making subdivision and development permit decisions at MPC allows for adjustments to policy that may be outdated, in my opinion, outdated policy should be revised rather than having council provide exceptions on an ad hoc basis. Council voted unanimously to dissolve MPC.

Since eliminating MPC will impact numerous County policies and bylaws, Administration will bring a report back to Council no later than April 1 st detailing all proposed changes.


Based on Administration’s recommendations, subdivision applications at the request of the applicant will still come to Council, as will subdivision applications where there are any objections from stakeholders in the circulation area, neigbouring municipalities, school boards or government agencies. When Administration brings back its report, Council will have the opportunity to make a final decision on which subdivision and/or development permit applications should be dealt with by Council and which should be delegated to Administration.


BEARSPAW AREA STRUCTURE PLAN REVIEW

Administration requested Council input as to whether it should proceed with the Bearspaw Area Structure Plan (BASP) Review or table it pending the outcome of the Regional Growth Plan and Council discussions around its direction on growth.

Administration recommended waiting until the CMRB’s Growth Plan is approved by the

province to make it easier to develop a revised BASP that will be consistent with CMRB

requirements.


Although the BASP is 27 years old, Administration acknowledged that initial public engagement indicated that Bearspaw residents support their country residential lifestyle and current policy. Administration also noted that work on the BASP is at a relatively early stage making it less disruptive to delay this project than some others where work is significantly more advanced and/or where there are more development pressures. As a result, Council voted unanimously to place the review on hold. Administration will present a report on the project within two months of the Minister signing off on the Regional Growth Plan.


BRAGG CREEK EXPANSION STRATEGY & CONRICH FUTURE EXPANSION AREA

Administration also sought direction on the Bragg Creek Hamlet Expansion Strategy and Conrich ASP Future Policy Area. Unlike with the BASP, in both cases, Admin recommended that the projects continue.


In 2020, the previous Council directed Administration to look at options to increase densities to cover the costs of servicing the 214-acres identified in the Bragg Creek ASP as its hamlet expansion area. Councillor Hanson argued that there was no need to rush and that delaying the amendments would permit proposed land uses in the hamlet expansion area to reflect the recently approved Gateway project in the core of the hamlet and its impact on growth and water / wastewater servicing costs. As such, he moved to table the document pending the outcome of the Regional Growth Plan. His motion was supported 5-2, with Schule and Boehlke in opposition.


With regards to the Conrich Future Expansion Area, Council concurred with Administration’s recommendation to continue the development of land use policies for this area within the Conrich ASP. It has become increasingly evident that there are significant development pressures in this area. As well, the review was well into Phase 3 meaning that amendments were being finalized in conjunction with technical studies.


Administration indicated that they anticipated the project could be finalized for a public hearing in late spring 2022. As such, Council voted unanimously to proceed with the Conrich Future Policy Area Structure Plan amendments.


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