October 11/22 Council Update
APPLICATION FOR 20-ACRE PARCEL IN DIVISION 3 REFERRED BACK TO ADMINISTRATION
An application to redesignate a 40-acre parcel into two 20-acre parcels was referred to
Administration to address road access and review the proposed boundary lines. The motion passed 6-1 with all but Mayor Kochan in support.
The applicant stated that they were interested in using part of their lands to maintain their horse breeding facility but wanted to use the remaining lands to accommodate a berry growing operation. When advised this could be accomplished without redesignating and subdividing the property, the applicant indicated that she was applying under the County Plan policy which allows for redesignation provided a rationale is provided to support a new or distinct agricultural use.
Administration recommended refusal as they felt that the planning rationale did not meet the intent of the policy and it appeared as though the proposed lot configuration was based on meeting the minimum 20-acre parcel size rather than creating a functional lot that promoted efficient farming operations.
A number of neighbours wrote letters or spoke in opposition to the proposal citing concerns over the impact on traffic and on views. Of note, the proposed berry growing operation was not a U-pick meaning the traffic impacts would be negligible. Furthermore, negative impacts on existing views is not a reason to refuse an application.
APPLICATION FOR TWO 2-ACRE PARCELS IN DIVISION 3 REFUSED 4-3
An application to create two 2-acre parcels in the Camden Lane area of Division 3 was refused 4-3, with Kissel, Boehlke and Schule supporting the application. Administration recommended the application be referred back to them to allow the applicant to prepare a limited scope concept scheme to address servicing and emergency access.
The applicant stated that there were already 2-acre parcels in the area that had been exempted from having to do a concept scheme, therefore, the onus should not fall on them. However, Administration noted that there were two other applications in the queue seeking the same type of redesignation and that all three applicants could work together and share the cost. Administration also pointed out that the applicants could recover costs should future development come forward.
Kissel moved to approve the application without the need of a concept scheme citing that it was unfair to have this applicant do one when previous applicants didn’t have to. I disagreed. Many of the issues in the County are the result of piecemeal development that occurs when applicants do not do sufficient technical studies or prepare a more comprehensive plan for the community. This leaves all County residents on the hook, which in my opinion, isn’t fair.
DIVISION 4 APPLICATION TO WAIVE 6-MONTH WAITING PERIOD FOR REAPPLICATION DENIED
An application to waive the 6-month waiting period for a development permit for a wedding venue in the Woodland area of Division 4 was refused. Administration recommended refusal.
The development permit for a Special Function Business was approved by the Municipal
Planning Commission in May. However, a neighbour appealed to the Subdivision and
Development Appeal Board which ruled that the business was not a secondary use on the subject property (a requirement for this use) and that the proposed development would unduly interfere with the use, enjoyment, or value of neighbouring parcels of land.
The applicant had indicated they were willing to reduce the number of weddings they had originally proposed and that they would reduce the number of people that could attend them. However, what was not clear was whether they were also reducing the number of other events such as markets and conferences. There was also no indication that anyone would be living on the property.
Because the refusal resulted from an appeal, I felt it unfair to waive the 6-month waiting period for reapplication, especially when the applicant was not present to answer Council’s questions. My motion to refuse the request was supported unanimously.
LATE TAX PENALTY WAIVER REQUESTS
Every year, Council receives a number of requests to have late penalties on taxes waived.
Administration noted that the number of people requesting the waivers has remained
consistent over the years. On October 11th, Council heard nine applications and ten more at the October 25th meeting. The final few will be heard on November 15th.
Per Council policy, Administration may only waive late payment penalties where a death in the immediate family of the property owner occurred within 21 days prior to the due date; the tax notice was sent to an incorrect address as a result of the County’s error; or a payment was late because of delays by a financial institution and the property owner provides documentation indicating the payment was processed on or before the due date. A request outside of these reasons comes to Council for consideration. Depending on the reason provided, Council either refused the request, approved the request, or reduced the penalty by 50%.
TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE APPROVED
The proposed Governance Committee will provide a public forum for Council to have more fulsome discussions on matters that do not require decisions. These will include updates and presentations from Administration and provide a venue for Council to provide guidance and direction to Administration on policy matters.
By shifting non-decision items from the Council agenda to the Governance Committee, Council agendas will be shortened and, without the same time pressure, Council will have time for more robust discussion on governance and strategic items. The committee will meet once a month with all seven Councillors forming its membership.