By Cole Parkinson
The hamlet of Enchant may soon see plenty of new residential lots available for sale.
This summer, the Municipal District of Taber hired Stantec Consulting Ltd. to complete a detailed review and update to the current design completed by Due South in 2008.
From that, two options were sent back to the M.D. — one with all lots within the phase being built to a 65’ width and a second design with a mixture of lot sizing.
After further discussion amongst M.D. administration, they decided 65’ lot width across the phase will produce the best possible arrangement for cost recovery while still providing buyers with a reasonably sized lot to build a residential home.
The findings were then brought forward to council during their Oct. 26 meeting.
“We have come down to a couple of options in terms of lot sizes. The ultimate goal is to sell those lots if and when we proceed to actual construction. There are some options in there,” explained CAO Arlos Crofts. “From a consensus perspective, on the staff side of things, we felt that 65 foot lots were likely the best option moving forward in terms of having sufficient size lots. Again, they aren’t as big as what’s there currently, but they still are bigger than your typical residential lots.”
The estimated future sale price with the lots within the two different designs are — 65’ lot width being $44,000-$57,000 and lot width mixture (50’ and 70’) being $34,000 to $59,000.
The total build-out is estimated at approximately $1.6 million.
“Just wondering how those compared to the development we did in Grassy in size?” asked Coun. John Turcato.
Administration answered that internal lots were 75’ while corner lots were around 100’.
As far as the current lots, administration stated they were 90’.
“The happy medium that is trying to be achieved is an acceptable point of the sale price, as well as an acceptable size,” added Crofts.
With a sizeable development cost, council asked about recovery costs with the proposed lot sizes.
“At the 65-foot lot width, are we cost recovery on those? Is that the actual cost of the lots all in? Like we did in Grassy Lake?” inquired Reeve Merrill Harris.
“They would range from $44,000 to $57,000,” replied Crofts.
Administration also stated the lots would have power, water, a curb and gutter, a road, and a sidewalk.
“We’ve sold five or six Enchant residential lots this year so far, which is quite a bit more interest than we’ve experienced previous,” continued Crofts.
It was stated five lots remained in Enchant at the date of the meeting.
Administration further explained why they felt 65’ lots were the best option moving forward.
“I think the rationale around the thought process of 65 is because it was a compromise of having a 50-foot lot. That’s probably not sellable to most of the demographic that have been buying lots. They prefer larger lot sizes for yards and gardens — 70 is a good size too,” stated Brian Peers, director of Municipal Lands and Leases.
While the lots may be smaller than some of the M.D.’s previous developments, it was pointed out that may not be a bad thing considering some concerns they’ve heard in the past.
“The 65 might meet some needs that we have too. We’ve seen the water issue, it’s not as much to maintain and I worry those big lots have created other concerns that residents didn’t anticipate. Even though that’s not our concern, but we should be aware,” replied Deputy Reeve Tamara Miyanaga.
Council also asked what typical lot sizes are within the town of Taber.
“They are more around 50 feet or even less depending on what subdivision you are in. In the City of Lethbridge like 43 feet,” answered Ben Young, economic development officer. “There might be some (bigger than 50), but for the most part 50, 55 feet. We figured the 65 was a good compromise.”
“I had a quick look in Vauxhall as well this morning — they have 61 by 110ish sized lots for sale there and they’re looking in that $25,000 range,” added Stu Weber, director of Public Works.
Other councillors also stated their opinion on which lot size they preferred.
“I think the 65 foot would be sufficient. If it gets too much bigger than it is probably going to have the same problem as Grassy where people have big high water bills for watering grass if they don’t have gravel or shale,” said Coun. Murray Reynolds.
“I guess it comes down to the demand as well. I kind of like the element of choice for size, but we don’t want to have something that is not saleable if the 50s are too small. We have to consider that as well,” added Coun. Brian Hildebrand.
It was pointed out there would be some bigger lots regardless.
“I do think the corner lots give us that because those are generally bigger,” stated Miyanaga.
Council also asked how the project would get funded.
“It can come from reserves or council can choose to borrow money to do it. That would be part of your budget deliberations,” answered Crofts.
With the need for more residential lots apparent within their hamlets, many councillors voiced their opinion the project was needed.
As the municipality has been able to sell many lots within both Enchant and Grassy Lake throughout 2021, the amount of available lots is quickly dwindling.
“In the previous three years, I don’t think you’ve sold five lots in the hamlet of Enchant — yet we sold five in the last year. I think that’s all attributable to the expansion of irrigation acres of BRID. I think we can expect this to continue as irrigation acres also continue and our hamlets are going to see pressure for residential lots,” said Coun. John Turcato. “We’ve seen it in Grassy where we’re pretty much sold out there as well. I think we need to move forward on this. It’s definitely going to get busier in our hamlets.”
“If they’re going ahead with 80,000 head, that takes a lot of employees and truck drivers. That’s a good idea,” added Coun. John DeGroot.
Council directed administration to proceed with 65 lots and accepted the memo as information.