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Council turns down bylaw amendment

Posted on July 2, 2015 by Vauxhall Advance

By J.W. Schnarr
Vauxhall Advance

Council has cried, “foul!” to a land redesignation request that would potentially see lots developed close enough to be affected by a nearby baseball diamond.

During their regular meeting on June 15, council voted down the bylaw amendment that would see the development of residential lots near the baseball diamond.

Chief Administrative Officer Cris Burns said the original intention for the land was to provide seniors housing to the area.

The land currently holds a zoning designation of “Public and Institutional” while the applicant was hoping to change that designation to “Residential.”

But from the outset, council made it clear they did not have much interest in allowing houses to be built near the baseball diamond.

“Who would build right by a ball diamond?” asked Coun. Christie Sorensen. “I don’t know that anybody would buy it, being that close. They might, but I don’t know. I wouldn’t.” She then clarified that it was not a bad idea.

Mayor Margaret Plumtree said there have been issues with collecting enough information regarding the issue. Coun.(s) Linda English and Marilyn Forchuk said they did not have enough information to make an informed decision.

English said the matter was now before council at the request of the developers, who previously requested a council decision at an SDA meeting. English is a member of that authority and said she didn’t agree with the plan because she felt the lots were too big.

“Let’s be realistic here,” she said.

“When you build on a golf course in Taber, everybody complains,” said Coun. Martin Kondor. “It’s bad golfers. They are the ones who hit into the houses, and (the homeowners) are like, ‘My kids can’t play outside without wearing a helmet.’ Now you are going to a ball diamond. For a baseball to go foul, it’s better ball, because it has to do with how hard you hit, and they throw harder. It’s going to be going over there all the time. It’s going to be a nightmare for liability for us.”

Kondor suggested since the land was donated by the town at a cheap rate, perhaps the developer could donate the land back to the town, in order to make a parking lot.

“You could get everybody off the street and out of the way,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people crossing that street and someone is going to get hit,” agreed Sorensen.

“A parking lot would be perfect right there,” said Plumtree. “Although, then you have cars there that are going to get hit (by baseballs).”

Kondor said he would like to know how much the town originally released the land for, so that an offer could be made to the developer for the same amount of money.

Burns then made a recommendation of giving first reading to the bylaw and then defeating it.

“Then he would have to bring it back to the (SDA) to bring it back up,” said English. “If he’s consistent, he will.”

Following discussion, council voted unanimously to defeat the bylaw, this ending the need for a possible public hearing.

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