By Cole Parkinson
In reviewing two new bylaws, the Municipal District of Taber is preparing for a pair of public hearings later this month.
During the M.D.’s regular meeting on Jan. 26, Bylaw No. 1970 — Land Use Bylaw No. 1722 Amendment — Rezone Lot 1, Block 2, Plan 9611496 and Bylaw No. 1971 – Darcy Miller Area Structure Plan (ASP)/Bylaw No. 1700 Amendment – Keeping of Animals, were brought forward for first readings. Bylaw No. 1970 sees an applicant “requesting to rezone Lot 1 Block 2 Plan 9611496 in NW 8-9-16-W4 from Grouped Country Residential to Rural Agricultural to increase the development potential of the parcel, therefore making it more appealing to buyers.”
“Lot 1 Block 2 Plan 9611496 was rezoned to Grouped Country Residential from Rural Agricultural in April 1996 with the vision that it would be subdivided into several smaller acreages,” reads administration’s report. “A soils analysis undertaken by the developer found that the soil was not suitable for multiple septic fields. The parcel has remained vacant and development potential is limited due to the current zoning. The owner is requesting to rezone the parcel back to Rural Agricultural to make it more appealing to potential buyers.”
Council asked if any property could be rezoned to rural agriculture, or if this was a one-off.
“This is a particular circumstance where there has been significant history on the property trying to develop it to grub country residential standard,” replied Bonnie Brunner, senior planner at Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC). “Typically, we look at the number of parcels in a quarter and depending on the number of parcels in the quarter, it may not be eligible to go back to grouped country residential. This is a unique circumstance in that the property is actually bisected by an irrigation canal and given that, and it’s proximity to a rural agricultural property to the south, it may be eligible for consideration to be rezoned back to rural agricultural.”
She also further explained the history of the property and how it has been attempted to rezone it back to rural agricultural over the past several years.
“Back in 1996, the entire property was zoned to grouped country residential and at that time, grouped country residential may or may not have required an area structure plan to demonstrate feasibility and suitability to actually develop to a higher density. This property has gone through many attempts over the past 10 years with respect to trying to create higher density and it has constantly demonstrated that there are subsurface constraints to developing at a higher standard,” she said.
A motion Bylaw No. 1970 be given first reading, a public hearing be set for Feb. 23, at 10:30 a.m. and to notify adjacent landowners within a half-mile radius, was carried.
For Bylaw No. 1971, the applicant requested an amendment in the structure area plan to allow for the keeping of horses on Lots 1-3 Block 1 Plan 0012493 in NW 21-9-16-W4.
“The applicant recently purchased Lot 2 and was under the impression he could keep horses on the property. When he inquired about constructing a barn on the property, he was advised that the Area Structure Plan did not allow the keeping of animals. An application to amend the Area Structure Plan was then submitted to allow the keeping of a maximum of four horses on each property,” reads administration’s report.
Council questioned how many horses the would be allowed.
“The number of horses will certainly be the subject of discussion at the public hearing and the planning department will make a recommendation at that time to the number of horses that is being proposed, and whether or not there are any issues or concerns associated with that,” answered Brunner.
A motion was carried to have the bylaw be given first reading, a public hearing be set for Feb. 23, at 10:30 a.m. and to notify adjacent landowners was carried unanimously.