StettlerLocal.com March 14, 2021 @ 7:25pm
A public hearing was held at the County of Stettler Council meeting on March 10, 2021. The County prepared Bylaw 1653.21 to amend Public Land Use (LUB) 1443-10 to provide for two RVs per lot in Buffalo Sands. The proposed amendment received the first reading by Council at the February 10, 2021 meeting, and it was then circulated for further public review.
The Buffalo Lake Inter-Municipal Development Plan and the Buffalo Lake Shore Inter-Municipal Development Plan identify a maximum allocation of approximately 2900 future development units for the County of Stettler’s growth node. The proposed amendment to provide for two recreational vehicles per lot in the Buffalo Sands subdivision could potentially result in an increase of 50 development units based on current vacant properties or one existing recreational vehicle situated on the property.
The proposed amendment was generated from the County's enforcement letter to the applicant at Buffalo Sands regarding non-compliance issues which is part of the County’s process. The Municipal Government Act (MGA) and LUB enables landowners to apply for an amendment, and this is part of the democratic process outlined in the MGA to provide an opportunity for attendees at a public hearing.
Cara McKenize, Development Officer, reviewed the six letters of support from residents and two letters from the surrounding counties. The general consensus of those supporting the proposed amended bylaw is that it provides families with the ability to own recreational property and use their RVs for dwellings on their recreational property. Residents would prefer to leave their second RV on the lots versus having to remove them and bring the RV back to the lot. Camrose County Administration sent a letter of support as it aligns with the intent of the Buffalo Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan (BLIDP) and had no objections to the proposed amendments. Lacombe County sent a letter noting they had no comments or concerns. Section 75.1 of the LUB does allow use of the recreational vehicle to be stored on the property for a 21-day period.
Jacinta Donovan, Director of Planning Services, read the 12 letters of opposition. The primary reasons in opposition were: increased strain on the infrastructure system, increased traffic, safety, security and environmental impact, excessive noise, emergency services access, minimal tax revenue impact, negative impact on Buffalo Sands and future property and resale values. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 created a significant amount of activity with 5 to 6 trailers per lot at times during the camping season. The bylaw currently permits two trailers, with one as temporary, and residents were aware of the current bylaw when purchasing the property. Section 35.2 of the LUB provides any applicant or landowner the opportunity to submit a LUB amendment application which is what was received.
Donovan reported that revenue would be increased with another RV on the property and that the County is currently endeavouring for increased access to the lake. Concerns expressed by residents about the brown water from the communal well was due to the backwashing to flush the lines. The County was assured that there is an ample supply of water and that the potential 50 units would not impact this water supply. The County is also pursuing additional grant funding to allow for extension of the water system, and fees for water and sewer are being evaluated and adjusted according to maintenance costs. ATCO Electric has advised the County that the transformers in the subdivision are underloaded and could handle any increased demand for power. The third RV would only be allowed for five days as it is in other subdivisions, and the County will be implementing a tag system for any additional units beyond the two in the future.
During the public hearing no verbal submissions were received. Council discussed and deliberated the proposed amendment, and it was defeated on the second reading based, meaning the proposal will not proceed and the current rules will stay in place.
For more information on Stetter County Bylaws, Plans & Policies, visit https://www.stettlercounty.ca/202/Bylaws-Plans-Policies
Jody Craig, Reporter