ARP to come to workshop, Summit approved, Industrial lands approved
AGGREGATE RESOURCE PLAN (ARP) TO COME TO COUNCIL WORKSHOP
On a decision of 7-2, Council voted to allow information regarding the ARP to come to a Council workshop. The majority of Council felt that they simply did not have enough information about the ARP and would appreciate getting some background and perspective on the process to date. Councillor Dan Henn and I were the opposing votes.
While I am not opposed to a council workshop, my preference was Administration’s recommendation to perform a rewrite of the plan guided by a steering committee of both residents and industry members. Let’s hope it happens.
SUMMIT PIT APPROVED 7-2
Last year, Summit received approval to zone a 163-acre parcel into Natural Resource Industrial lands to accommodate gravel extraction. While the original plan included four phases, instead of applying to have all the phases approved, Summit applied for redesignation solely on the first phase. Part of their rationale stated that by doing it in phases, it would allow for the public to provide feedback into the process. Administration recommended approval.
Because I had spoken out as a resident on the Summit application some two years earlier, the applicant asked that I recuse myself. After seeking legal advice, it was determined that at no point in time have I ever said that I am opposed to gravel extraction. Gravel extraction involves public interest and the need to consider public policy concerns, this is a key reason behind why I was elected. Combined with my ability to be open-minded and remain amenable to persuasion, I did not believe I should recuse myself. So, I didn’t.
Residents and Rocky View Gravel Watch had asked that the hearing be postponed pending the outcome of a legal challenge of the original Summit hearing. They also asked to postpone the hearing pending the results of the ARP. These requests were rejected on a vote of 8-1. I was the lone vote.
Summit’s reasoning behind redesignating the whole parcel was to remain competitive with the two other pits (McNair and Lafarge) that had subsequently been approved on adjacent parcels. Interestingly, the majority of support letters came from members of the gravel industry on neighbouring parcels. The two residents who provided their support based it on an ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ ideology and stated they hoped to see their lands developed as gravel pits next.
Those in opposition argued that continued reapplication for each phase allowed residents to have input on future redesignation requests. Simply put, they wanted Summit to prove itself before more lands were granted approval. The 24 letters of opposition and four residents who came out to speak, cited concerns about the cumulative impacts of noise, dust, traffic and the potential impact on water, as well as the County’s inability to properly enforce its own rules.
In her summation, Local Councillor Crystal Kissel recognized the opposition and acknowledged that there needed to be an ability to meet both parties somewhere in the middle. As such, she asked Council to support her by only approving half of the proposed lands – phase one and two.
In a 7-2 decision, the majority of Council voted against her motion. I supported Councillor Kissel finding her motion to be both balanced and fair. Council then went on to approve the application 7-2, with Kissel and I in opposition.
INDUSTRIAL LANDS APPROVED IN DIVISION 7
An application to have a 5-acre parcel zoned from ranch and farm to industrial use was approved unanimously. The original application sought a 10-acre redesignation reduced to 5 acres after the applicant adjusted the orientation of his parcel. The application was for a facility to service and store heavy duty equipment.
Administration’s recommendation was to refuse the application as the lands did not fall within an Area Structure Plan. According to Administration “business development should be directed to identified business areas to complement the other businesses, maximize the use of existing infrastructure, minimize land use conflicts, and minimize the amount of traffic being drawn into the rural areas.” The potential conflict with other businesses was stated to be in part with the 12,000-acre Airdrie Airpark. Yet, letters were submitted in support of the application by those who operate in the park. It was also stated that development of the Airpark plan was years out.
While I do my best to follow Admin’s recommendations, in this case there were already two parcels severed from the same quarter section that accommodate other industrial businesses. Furthermore, approval of the application would see the current panhandle access replaced by an internal road, thereby helping to mitigate the traffic impacts of all three parcels.
NINE INDUSTRIAL LOTS IN JANET ASP GIVEN GREEN LIGHT
The application to have a 40-acre parcel in the Janet Area Structure Plan (Division 5) divided into 8 lots with a 9-acre remainder was approved 9-0. Administration recommended approval.
The Janet ASP is an area on the east side of the County (east of Calgary / southwest of Chestermere) designated by the County for business, commercial and industrial growth. The proposal also met with policy outlined in the Rocky View/Calgary Intermunicipal Development plan. There were a couple of questions regarding the design of the internal road that will be reviewed prior to subdivision.