Hearing on MDP put off until October

Ponoka County delays possible development plan amendments for two months

A public hearing on possible amendments to Ponoka County’s land use planning document has been put on hold.

Ponoka County council was supposed to hear from residents in a public hearing updates to be made on proposed amendments to the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) during its Aug. 14 council meeting.

However, CAO Charlie Cutforth explained the hearing and any possible decision on potential amendments are pushed until council’s Oct. 9 meeting.

This is due to the fact that the amendments were to include references to the two area structure plans (ASP) — for the Morningside and northwest Ponoka areas. Both plans were discussed at public meetings on Aug. 13.

Cutforth added that both of those meeting were recessed that day, and may reconvene on Oct. 2, meaning the plans will not be on council’s agenda for Aug. 14.

Both plans have generated a lot of talk among area residents and are somewhat controversial as they aim to restrict the further expansion of confined feeding operations (CFOs) by placing exclusion zones around residences and potential future residential development.

“Both (Aug. 13) meetings will be treated like information sessions,” Cutforth explained.

“Things changed when a CFO application that triggered these two plans was recently approved by the NRCB (Natural Resources Conservation Board). There has also been a lot of questions from operators and residents, all of which has led to some further discussion about details in the two plans.”

Originally, the county had planned to have the two ASPs in place before the NRCB was due to decide, in order for the plans to become part of the decision-making process.

Now, Cutforth noted, the idea is to come up with some changes in the ASPs that will hopefully be acceptable to many of the operators and residents that will be affected.

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