County Plan review, Div 7 redes/Div 3 subdivision applications approved, Springbank MR land disposal
-DIVISION 7 REDESIGNATION APPLICATION APPROVED
-TWP RD 254 CLOSURE
-SUBDIVISION APPLICATIONS IN DIVISION 3 APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY
-REMOVAL OF MUNICIPAL RESERVE DESIGNATION AND DISPOSAL OF LAND IN SPRINGBANK
-COCHRANE LAKES WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICING
-COUNTY PLAN COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW
DIVISION 7 REDESIGNATION APPLICATION APPROVED
An application to redesignate a 4.8-acre parcel into a 2.14-acre parcel with a 2.71 acre remainder was approved unanimously in Division 7. Councillor Kissel was absent.
The City opposed the application. It is in the Calgary Identified Growth Corridor and Calgary claimed it would interfere with potential future annexation of the land. This may be a relevant concern in some areas. However, this particular quarter section had already been fragmented into 20 parcels. As such, Administration found the application to be compliant with local policy.
TWP RD 254 CLOSURE
A road allowance closure at the south end of the Town of Cochrane’s was approved 6-2 with opposition coming from Councillors Kamachi and McKylor. Cochrane requested the road closure boundary to accommodate the relocation of a AltaLink power line.
Concerns were raised over the County landowner’s access. However, it was determined that their access will remain open from the south to Range Rd 40. Cochrane needed approval from the County before it could proceed with the road closure request to the Province.
SUBDIVISION APPLICATIONS IN DIVISION 3 APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY
An application to subdivide a 2.8-acre and a 2-acre lot with a 10-acre remainder was approved unanimously in Springbank.
The applicant had asked to have their municipal reserve (MR) fees waived as they claimed that MR was to have been collected through the subdivision of other lands on the quarter-section through a deferred caveat.
The County received a legal opinion on the matter which stated that MR fees should be collected. The applicant provided a contrary legal opinion. Council felt that there was not enough evidence to support waiving the fees and approved the application with the MR fees as originally determined by Administration.
A second application to approve 9 condominium units ranging from 3.29 to 5.22 acres in Division 3 was also approved unanimously.
The applicant had requested that the Transportation Off-site levies be reduced or placed on a deferred payment plan. The applicant cited a number of reasons to have the levies waived, however, the only reason considered valid by Council was to defer the TOL on the existing 5.2-acre residential lot. In terms of paying the fees on a deferred payment plan, the County has no mechanism for applicants to pay for the costs of subdivision in instalments.
REMOVAL OF MUNICIPAL RESERVE DESIGNATION AND DISPOSAL OF LAND IN SPRINGBANK
Springbank‘s Councillor McKylor brought forward a motion that Administration be directed to initiate the process of removing the municipal reserve (MR) designation and disposing of a 4-acre Municipal Reserve parcel in Commercial Court. Her motion also directed Rocky View County's share of the proceeds towards acquiring a minimum of 14 acres of land on or near the Range Road 33 corridor for a future community centre in Springbank.
McKylor modified her original motion to request that Administration be directed to explore alternatives including the sale of municipal reserves for funding a new community facility in the Springbank area.
Typically, when MR lands are sold the monies are split between the County and the school authorities 50/50, with the County’s share distributed between all County rec boards. In contrast, McKylor’s motion was directing the proceeds go to a specific cause - the Springbank Community Association. When the inconsistency with standard practice was raised, McKylor went on an unprofessional rant that could only be interpreted as personal bias against the Board.
In a motion arising, McKylor also asked that a County-wide review of recreation boards’ governance responsibilities, operation accountability and financial controls be completed by June 30th. Council supported the motion, however, as Councillor Gautreau indicated, this review was already under way.
COCHRANE LAKES WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICING
On February 5, 2019 Macdonald Communities Limited and Schickedanz West presented the Governance and Priorities Committee with a potential strategy for the purchase of Horse Creek Water Services Inc. and Horse Creek Sewer Services Inc. to resolve water and wastewater servicing issues that are impacting both current and future development in the Cochrane Lakes area. The presentation provided information and discussed the merits of the strategy.
On March 12th, Council considered the GPC’s recommendation that Administration be directed to open up discussions with the current utility owner, assess future servicing strategies, and report back to Council on the results of the assessment.
I had originally voted against the County getting involved in private matters, especially since MacDonald and Schickedanz had indicated that they would be willing to purchase the utility outright. However, they felt that the County would have better bargaining power in brokering a deal with the current utility owner, which in turn would benefit the greater community. Given that, the motion was approved unanimously.
COUNTY PLAN COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW
On January 22, 2019, Council approved Terms of Reference for both a targeted and a comprehensive review of the County Plan (Municipal Development Plan).
As they had done with the targeted review at the February 26th Council meeting, Administration recommended that a consultant be retained to conduct the comprehensive review of the County Plan. This would allow the project to be completed in a timely fashion without impacting other currently approved planning projects.
Administration requested a budget adjustment of $400,000 to engage an external consultant to begin this project.
The debate was rather confused and convoluted as Reeve Boehlke and Deputy Reeve Schule attempted to make changes to the terms of reference for the comprehensive review. Among other things, they wanted to eliminate the 65/35 target for the residential/commercial tax split and eliminate consideration of agriculture as a land-use business and service. I tried to point out the absurdity of removing either of these but received significant pushback. Thankfully, CAO Al Hoggan intervened by reminding Council that a comprehensive review meant a total rewrite and removing elements would restrict how comprehensive that review would be.
By the end of the discussion, the majority on Council had approved eliminating the targeted review and the $175,000 budget allocation that had been approved for it and well as eliminating the terms of reference for the comprehensive review. The comprehensive review, along with its $400,000 budget were approved.
Councillor Hanson felt that eliminating the targeted review removed the ability to test the waters with our regional partners by making smaller changes. However, he was alone in his thinking. To me, it was duplicating work and a waste of a $150,000.
Although the targeted review was eliminated, Councillor Schule insisted on bringing forward immediate amendments to the County Plan that had been going to be considered as part of the targeted review. These included removing the hamlet population targets; permitting business development adjacent to existing ASP business areas and including Langdon’s business area as a regional business area. Councillor Hanson and I opposed all three amendments. I also raised concerns that Schule’s approach effectively eliminated public engagement on these issues. If we are reviewing the entire County Plan, we shouldn’t be picking and choosing which elements we want changed before that review is undertaken based on our own personal opinion. As was mentioned, in the latest Rocky View Weekly editorial, we are on a slippery slope if we believe that we as Councillors know better than our residents.