After brief deliberations and over one objection, Ponoka County council has rezoned 23.5 acres east of town, adjacent to Highway 53.
The land, which council and CAO Charlie Cutforth admitted has low agricultural value, was rezoned as country residential hobby farm for resale purposes.
“I know we’ve had this discussion with many realtors and financial institutions, that, for financing large acreages, most banks, charter banks at least, will only finance three acres that’s surrounding the residence itself,” explained Cutforth.
“A number of these larger parcels have been rezoned over time to simply accommodate financing . . . But there is potential that this one could be split into two parcels,” he added.
Only one adjacent landowner was opposed to council approving the rezoning application because he, as a service and mineral rights title owner and farmer, believed having a hobby farm nearby with the potential to further subdivide would decrease the value of his own land.
Landowner Ed Hornby, who resides in Stony Plain, also felt if council approved the application they’d belie the county’s ideals of agricultural roots and fiscal responsibility, as well as affect others in the area with intensive agricultural operations.
“Putting a hobbyist with a voice in the midst of an essential industry reduces the ability of that industry, and in my case the economic value of my farm,” Hornby wrote in a letter to council.
The land, which Cutforth feels is pasture at best, was recommended, from an administrative perspective, to be accepted as a rezoned area.