Some overly vocal opposition saw a Morningside area rezoning application get chopped up by Ponoka County council.
More than a dozen opponents to Brian Glasman’s application for his property just east of Range Road 263 on the south side of C&E Trail showed up in full force at the public hearing held during the Dec. 11 council meeting.
The application, which council ultimately denied by a unanimous vote — Coun. Mark Matejka was absent — later in the meeting, would have seen the land move from agricultural to rural industrial in order to operate a metal recycling business.
CAO Charlie Cutforth first told council about several written submissions and a 25 name petition opposing the application, in addition to outlining what environmental concerns a metal recycling business may pose. The submissions include complaints about traffic, noise, lighting and disruption to the area.
He added the recently approved area structure plan (ASP) states the area is designated mixed use. The plan denotes significant road and intersection upgrades are necessary once industrial use is approved.
Glasman was then given a chance to speak, noting the business in its previous location in Lacombe. He said he was a good land steward and exceeded expectations in an intensive environmental assessment.
“I’m not about to destroy my property through mismanagement. My focus is on serving the local area and I think the road is more than capable of handling the type of traffic coming in,” he stated.
He also explained he’s built berms and planted trees to shield the property. He said the noise generated is far out-weighed by the bigger noise creator in the area — Highway 2.
“I also think I’m being singled out as I watch super-B traffic on these same roads. Plus, the land is only 55-acres that you can’t farm because it’s all sand.”
Those opposed to the rezoning were sternly reminded by Reeve Paul McLauchlin, several times through the hearing and later during the council meeting, to quiet down and respect those speaking in order for council to hear.
There were many who spoke against application arguing its not the right place, or they don’t feel like living next to what they describe as a “junk yard.”
“This isn’t about the quality of business Brian will do, it’s about the location. We know we need recycling, but we need them in industrial parks. Not in the country, not with agriculture and not where there is going to be residences in the future,” stated area resident Ray Reid.
Meanwhile, area resident Jim Lysons focused much of his speech during the hearing on how the ASP relied on to make land use decisions is flawed and that vague language used in the ASP, plus the land use bylaw, leaves many questions.
He also took a shot at the county, even though it has now denied three rezoning applications for the property in the past four years.
“There are so many other locations that could be suitable for a junk yard that I wonder why (they) choose this property for a scrap yard at the risk of becoming so disliked in the community,” Lysons said.
“It makes me wonder if someone or some persons made an assurance to them that there would be no problem in gaining approval to a junk yard on this property.”
Glasman was provided a chance at rebuttal, where he pointed out he understands it’s an agricultural community, but that no one is going to use that land to farm.
It was at that point, more than 40 minutes after the hearing began, McLauchlin had to cut off participation by the public as it was obvious the issue was becoming a revolving argument amongst those in the gallery.