The property outlined had the rezoning application approved by Ponoka County, but most of the concern was about traffic on the yet to be constructed extension of RR 261. Image: Google Maps

Ponoka County passes rezoning of Verberg land

Approval means land sale may lead to subdivision application

A property that last year was denied a request to build a road to it has been rezoned by Ponoka County in preparation for a sale of the land.

The quarter-section of land located just east of Hwy. 2A and north of where Range Road 261 ends at a subdivision had its zoning changed to country residential hobby farm on Feb. 28 in a continuation of council’s meeting from Feb. 25.

Council unanimously approved all three readings of the rezoning bylaw following the public hearing, with just Coun. Bryce Liddle absent and Coun. Doug Weir attending via conference call.

Proposed buyer Hendrik Bos was on hand at the public hearing, while also representing landowner Harold Verberg, in hopes of moving forward towards eventual subdivision of the property into five parcels — four 20-acre lots with the balance for Bos to put a home on.

CAO Charlie Cutforth explained at the hearing, the application is compatible with the Morningside Area Structure Plan (ASP) as it is within the regions designated for subdivision development. However, the one question to be settled was road access as the only way to reach the property now is through another Verberg-owned land to the north.

In the application, Bos stated they would pay to extend RR 261 north since Alberta Transportation will not allow any access to the highway.

It was that construction of the undeveloped statutory road allowance that generated much of the discussion from opponents at the hearing. Many of those opposed assumed a rumour the site would become a country destination wedding venue was true and were ready to fight the amount of traffic that would generate.

However, Bos explained at the hearing that wasn’t the case, but that they did want to operate an in-home mobile catering business.

Cutforth told council that, if the rezoning was approved, Bos would be purchasing the property and building the road extension at his cost whether or not a subdivision application would be submitted.

“All land must be provided road access, but that road will be expensive to build and will need wetlands approval from Alberta Environment along with paying compensation,”Cutforth said.

“However, it is done at the discretion and on a timeline decided by the county. It was also not a surprise that Alberta Transportation stated there would be no further access to Hwy. 2A from the property.”

Cutforth did add that Alberta Transportation has no concerns as the possible extra lots won’t mean an upgrade to the Morningside intersection with Hwy. 2A.

That all said, several of the property owners whose backyards are next to where the road would be built expressed concerns about traffic and what that will mean for the safety of children in the area as well as how that will affect a deteriorating RR 261.

Cutforth admitted the road, which was rebuilt two years ago, is breaking up in part because of the high water table and marshy land it was constructed on.

“Whether or not this rezoning or a future subdivision is approved, we will be working to repair that road,” he said.

Reeve Paul McLauchlin, in addressing the concerned residents, explained the municipal planning commission will deal with road and other issues if a subdivision application is made and that there would be another public hearing held at that time.

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