May/22 Council Update
• DEVELOPMENT PERMIT FOR SOLAR FARM IN DIVISION 5 REFUSED
• BUDGET ADJUSTMENT FOR WOODLAND ROAD ACCESS TO HASKAYNE PARK
• MOTION TO REVIEW LIVE/WORK PASSES UNANIMOUSLY
• DIVISION 6 LIVE/WORK APPLICATION REFUSED
• SHORT-TERM RENTALS DENIED IN COTTAGE CLUB
• CAMBRIDGE PARK’S CELL D REVISIONS FINALLY ACCEPTED
DEVELOPMENT PERMIT FOR A SOLAR FARM IN DIVISION 5 REFUSED
The development permit for an 807-acre solar farm in Division 5 was refused 4-3, with
Councillors Hanson, Samra and me favouring approval. Administration recommended approval.
Land use redesignation for the solar farm was provided in February 2019. Since then, the
applicant has done significant work on the application and based on community input had included 13-acres of community gardens with access to water and power. They also noted they were exploring the potential for agricultural pursuits like sheep grazing under the panels.
Councillor Boehlke made a motion to refuse the application on the grounds that it was taking good agricultural land out of production. He also cited concerns about reclamation. I could not support the motion. In a province that is looking for ways to diversify its economy, refusal of this application made no sense, especially considering that the land was rife with wetlands, there was no opposition, and the Direct Control bylaw was created to accommodate a solar farm. It is becoming clear that this Council needs to develop a solar farm policy – not only where they may operate but whether we support their operation at all.
BUDGET ADJUSTMENT FOR WOODLAND ROAD ACCESS TO HASKAYNE PARK
The City of Calgary is in the process of developing the Haskayne Legacy Park. Originally, access was to have come through Calgary’s Rockland Park development which is currently on hold.
To build the Haskayne Legacy Park, construction vehicles accessed via the south end of
Woodland Rd. While originally intended as a construction access only, due to the inability to access the Park through city lands, Calgary approached the County, in collaboration with area landowners, to create a solution for permanent access through Woodland Rd South.
To address the increase in traffic on Woodland Road from the park’s development, Calgary has provided a commitment of $4.4 million towards paving Woodland Road (currently gravel). The County’s contribution is estimated at $300,000 (these amounts include an 18% contingency).
I asked if the road’s slope would be reduced and was advised it would not – paving the road and installing barriers would be sufficient. When Mayor Kochan asked what would trigger future upgrade to the road, Administration answered “new development.” When I asked who would be responsible for costs in the absence of new development, Administration advised that they would endeavour to have a tri-party agreement between the City, County and Province.
While I have some concerns about potential future costs, I do recognize the regional social value of having access to the park. As such, I supported the motion, which passed unanimously.
MOTION TO REVIEW LIVE/WORK PASSES UNANIMOUSLY
The previous Council created a new land use district called Live/Work – B-LWK. Over the past couple of years, the scope of the designation has changed and is not meeting its original intent.
As a result, Deputy Mayor Kissel and I brought forward a motion to have Live/Work reviewed. Unlike a development permit, B-LWK is a permanent land use that goes with the land rather than the business. Under the current process, it is being used as a workaround to allow industrial growth in residential and agricultural areas or to bring properties into compliance.
Our motion seeks to clarify the original intent of the Live/Work land use designation and
investigate if a new Home-Based Business type 3 could expand uses beyond those found in the existing Home-Based Business Type 1 and 2 development permits.
After some fulsome debate, our motion passed unanimously. Administration will bring the matter back to Council with proposed changes in September.
DIVISION 6 LIVE/WORK APPLICATION REFUSED
The application to create a 23-acre Live/Work parcel in Division 6 was refused 6-1 with all but Councillor Schule in support. Administration recommended refusal.
The applicant stated that the lands are in a transition area, located between the Conrich and Omni Area Structure Plans. Of note, the adjacent land within the Conrich ASP is zoned future development area, however, what type of development that will be remains to be seen.
Currently, the adjacent parcel is being used for agricultural purposes and none of the other neighbouring parcels are zoned industrial or commercial – a requirement of Live / Work. The applicant wanted the Live/Work designation for a truck storage facility. When asked how many trucks he would store, the answer wasn’t clear. He also stated that the current house was uninhabitable; however, before undertaking any renovations to the home, he wanted to make sure that the Live/Work designation was approved. Another intent of Live / Work is for residential to be the primary use and work secondary. As a result, I had no problem supporting Councillor Samra’s motion to refuse the application.
SHORT-TERM RENTALS DENIED IN COTTAGE CLUB
An application to amend the Direct Control (DC) bylaw governing Cottage Club at the east side of Ghost Lake in Division 3 was refused unanimously. Administration recommended approval.
At the request of a handful of cottage owners, Council was asked to consider allowing short-term rentals (Air BnBs) as a discretionary use under the current DC Bylaw. The applicant, supported by Administration, felt that since Air short-term rentals were allowed in other residential land use districts throughout the County, the same should be true for Cottage Club.
DC bylaws are typically created to allow for development that doesn’t fit within the County’s existing land use districts, they are stand alone, one-off type developments. When I asked if any other residential DC bylaws in the County permitted short-term rentals, Council was advised that other than Harmony (a hamlet community), they did not.
Those in support stated that the ability to rent out their properties was a key reason they
purchased them. However, those in opposition, including the Homeowners’ Association (HOA), stated that the HOA rules and the DC bylaw were clear that short-term rentals were not permitted. Worse, that some of these rentals had resulted in noise complaints, bylaw enforcement involvement, and damage to communal property.
After a lengthy hearing, Deputy Mayor Kissel made a motion to refuse the application citing the overwhelming opposition, the uniqueness of the community and the fact that some of these properties had become nuisances that involved stop orders. I supported the motion.
In my opinion, renting out property that involves communal amenities is not the same as
renting out a single residence where the amenities are solely for that one property’s use.
Furthermore, Council is not the place to settle an internal dispute. If the HOA rules need to change, it should be done through majority consensus of HOA members. And, while I
sympathize with the fact that people may have purchased the property for rental purposes, that is not a factor in Council’s decision-making. That said, the current rules do allow for rentals, they just have to be long-term (30 days or more).
CAMBRIDGE PARK’S CELL D REVISIONS FINALLY ACCEPTED
Amendments to the Conrich ASP, Cambridge Park Concept Scheme in Division 6 were accepted unanimously. Administration recommended approval.
Due to concerns raised by residents in the 2020 approval for commercial / industrial uses in Cell D of Conrich’s Cambridge Park, the developer came back to Council for some amendments to her plan last November. At that time, she indicated she would be coming back with additional changes. As a result, Council directed the developer to combine the applications and come back to Council.
On May 31st, the developer did just that. After working with the community and creating a solution that was a win for all involved, the applicant replaced the majority of the proposed industrial /commercial uses with 160 fully detached houses. The remaining land will include a 5-acre small scale, local commercial development and park space, including a playground, as well as a public utility lot for stormwater management with walking paths around its perimeter.
The original 2020 application received over 89 letters of opposition. Thanks to the combined work of Administration, the developer, and the Homeowners’ Association, May’s application received 65 letters of support and no letters of opposition – proof of what can be accomplished when people work together.