The area in the top left of the photo was proposed to be rezoned, but Ponoka County council denied the application as well as a request to delay the hearing and decision. Image: Ponoka County

Ponoka County council passes one rezoning appplication, denies another

Subdivision may be coming south of Ponoka, while rural residents rally to defeat lakeside rezoning

One approval and one denial was the result of a pair of rezoning applications discussed at Ponoka County council.

Council held two public hearings on applications to turn land into country residential, with an eye to applying for multi-lot subdivision development, during their meeting on July 16.

The first was from Lee McCarty for about 47 acres located south of Ponoka while the other came from Kim Purdy for around 19 acres off Range Road 23 just north of the border with Lacombe County.

The McCarty rezoning was approved, making way for a proposed 12-lot development application to get started for the parcel situated between Hwy. 2A and the CP Rail tracks south of Township Road 424. CAO Charlie Cutforth added that this rezoning complies with the Morningside Area Structure Plan land use outline for possible country residential development for this area.

Only the applicant appeared at the public hearing and no objections were noted by administration, leaving just council’s lone question of what affect Alberta Transportation’s space restriction would do to the proposed development.

McCarty explained he has already taken into account the 70m setback for buildings from the highway and the proposal also includes an agreement with the neighbouring landowner for compensation in order to construct an access road to Twp Rd 424. That also means the removing of current access points to Hwy. 2A.

Delay denied

Meanwhile, the Purdy application wanted to rezone a section in order to move forward with a seven-lot subdivision development application. Although, just one day before the scheduled hearing, she made a request for council to postpone the hearing a month. Citing the neighbours lack of knowledge about what she wanted to do and wanting a chance to address the concerns expressed in the more than 15 written objections, Purdy asked to put off both the hearing and any decision.

However, Reeve Paul McLauchlin and the rest of council decided to listen to those that showed up before considering the issue later in their meeting. Ultimately, council voted unanimously against postponing a decision on the application and then did the same in defeating the rezoning request.

“I don’t think deferring the vote on this is going to change much,” said Coun. Mark Matejka after council returned to its regular agenda.

As for Matejka wondering if they legally had to defer it, Cutforth explained council can proceed as it wishes especially given the 11th hour request for the delay.

“The lone question (for the county) is this a reasonable use of this property without adversely affecting neighbouring property owners?” said Cutforth.

As no one was at the public hearing to speak in favour of the application, the nearly 20 people in the gallery provided ample evidence of the objections and issues they had with the proposed rezoning.

Dale and Joyce Hellemann, whose property borders the north side of the Purdy land, stated none of the neighbours were opposed to what they were originally told was one son wanting to build next to the lake.

“We only found out about it when a road was being built and I stopped a truck I didn’t recognize, then found out it was the son and he said he was building an acreage for himself. We all thought that was fine and left it at that,” Joyce said.

“That was until I read the newspaper ad with this and then get the notice letter. We have a huge issue with the multi-lot subdivision and what comes with it.”

The pair weren’t the only ones to speak up at the hearing, as several other neighbours commented on their concerns — most of which were already in the hands of council through the written submissions on file.

Among the concerns expressed were troubles with potential septic systems and protection of the lake, the number of potential lots, possibility of dogs harassing cattle as well as possible future lake access to the public.

One other issue that was brought up was that none of the Purdy family resides or does work on the land, as most of the property is rented out as cultivated land with two small parcels, consisting of a house and a quonset, recently occupied by tenants that have been subject to police complaints and investigations.

After the application was voted down, Cutforth explained that if Purdy can happen to convince 100 per cent of the neighbours to agree, she can reapply sooner or wait the one-year period before trying again.

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