A number of rezoning requests were taken up at Ponoka County council’s Aug. 19 meeting with some applicants being granted their hope while others were denied.
Following several letters speaking against its approval, Ponoka County councillors denied the rezoning of 29.5 acres of Deer Ridge Holdings’ land.
“This application is for a subdivision on a farmstead and a possibility of three county residential lots in the bush area sometime in the future,” said county CAO Charlie Cutforth.
The application was for the land in question to be rezoned as county residential.
The land is located west of Ponoka, north of Highway 53 along Range Road 265.
Adjacent landowner Robert Wilcox was strongly opposed to rezoning the land because he felt it would lead to increased noise pollution and ATV and recreational vehicle traffic along Range Road 265.
“What once had been a quiet, peaceful area has slowly eroded into a high-traffic area,” wrote Wilcox in a letter submission to council.
Wilcox also mentioned past development of Deer Ridge Holdings, which was sold to be made into a Sharphead historic cemetery despite improper zoning, which he lives next to. “I’m not really happy about that and can only speculate on how much that devalues my property.”
Cutforth and council was also unconvinced, as the land sold was a cemetery when that is not what it was intended for. “So now it becomes a matter of good faith, at least for the county,” said Cutforth.
“How do you expect us to pass another one when we don’t know what you’re going to utilize it for?” added Coun. Mark Matejka.
Shane and Shelley Archibald also wrote to council, as they too were displeased with Deer Ridge Holdings’ past. “We object due to the last time Deer Ridge Holdings had land rezoned as county residential they were able to sell it for another purpose.”
A letter from Alberta Transportation stated no objections or concerns.
The rezoning application made it past first reading but was unanimously defeated at the second reading.
Landowner disapproves of rezoning application
Councillors approved the rezoning request of four and a half acres on a portion of land to move from agricultural to county residential, northwest of Ponoka along Meniak Road and Range Road 265.
The land, belonging to Gerry and Joan Van Wolde, will be used to house a second residential structure for their daughter and son-in-law.
The couple says approximately a third of the indicated land is unseedable.
Adjacent landowner Gus Martens also attended council to speak against the application. He feels, if another house is built in the northeast section of Van Wolde’s land, it will limit his dairy farm’s future expansion opportunities. “For future complaints for smell or dust or working at night, I want to limit that.”
The northeast corner is a wet area and Martens is concerned water will be deflected to his property and affect him. “If that land’s going to be built up to put a house there, that’s going to run onto my quarter.”
“Drainage and everything has to be accommodated. You can’t create new problems for the neighbours,” said Cutforth, during council’s discussion.
Taking into account the steps that would have to be taken to properly divert water if needed, councillors approved the request.
Existing building site rezoned
A 10-acre parcel of land, located long Range Road 15, is being rezoned by Brian and Audrey Altman.
From agricultural to county residential hobby farm, the land is for a parcel of land for their son.
Cutforth recommended the approval and councillors agreed it was appropriate.
Correction: In the Aug. 27 issue of Ponoka News, on page 7, the article headlined “Deer Ridge Holdings rezoning request declined” stated that Deer Ridge Holdings land was sold against proper zoning as a Sharphead historic cemetery. In fact, the land that was sold did not belong to Deer Ridge Holdings and was sold as country residential to the Crown and then became a cemetery.
We regret the error.