Cabins application “reconsidered” by Kneehill County, approved on third reading

ECA Review/File
Written by Stu Salkeld

An application to re-zone farmland in Kneehill County that appeared to be defeated on third reading at a Sept. 27 regular council meeting actually wasn’t defeated, it was “reconsidered” later that day, tabled then approved at the municipality’s Oct. 11 regular council meeting.

Bejay and Melanie Baerg’s applied to rezone property near the Hamlet of Linden for a family retreat and campground along with acreages but a few moments later voted against third reading, defeating the application.

“Bejay and Melanie Baerg are looking to create two specific uses on the SW 16-30-25-W4,” stated the staff memo.

“They would like to redesignate a portion of their land to Country Residential District (CR) and another portion to Recreation District (R).

“The remainder of the land will continue to be zoned Agriculture District. The property itself is located just over one mile south of Linden.

“The applicants are also wanting to redesignate a 7.2-acre area as a family retreat with some Airbnb cabins and a common kitchen/assembly hall with the potential for a few RV hookups. They will be utilizing some of the historic looking buildings currently on this site for this purpose,” concluded the memo.

At the Sept. 27 meeting third reading of the application was defeated by a 3 to 4 vote. Deputy reeve Ken King, chairing the meeting as Reeve Jerry Wittstock was attending virtually, noted, “So the third reading was defeated. Okay.”

King asked Chief Administrative Officer Mike Haugen where the application would go next. Haugen answered, “It’s done.”

Not true.

Later in the meeting councillors went into closed session to discuss intergovernmental relations and after about 90 minutes moved back into the open meeting.

After an unrelated motion was passed Coun. Faye McGhee, who was one of the councillors who voted against third reading, stated she was unclear on what was happening when that vote was called; McGhee stated she actually thought the vote was being called on a motion to allow consideration of third reading, not the actual third reading itself.

Therefore McGhee noted she was making a motion under Kneehill County’s procedural bylaw to “reconsider” third reading which then passed unanimously.

A motion was then made to table the Baerg’s application to the Oct. 11 regular meeting, which also passed unanimously.

At the Sept. 27 meeting Deputy Reeve King noted no new information would be available to councillors. “Just to be clear…we’re just going to take time to contemplate the information we’ve been given,” said King.

At the Oct. 11 regular meeting, the Baerg’s application was presented with the same information by Planner Brandy Hay-Morgan.

Coun. Carrie Fobes asked if there was enough water for the five residential lots being proposed. Hay-Morgan answered yes there was enough water and also clarified the applicant doesn’t have to use the Kneehill County risers, they could drill their own well if desired.

Coun. Laura Lee Machell-Cunningham asked if creative architecture was an option if these lots were approved. Hay-Morgan answered that would have to be included in the application now.

Coun. Fobes asked why the two developments, residential lots and recreation lots, were included in the same bylaw, which she noted concerned her. Hay-Morgan answered it’s an option that Kneehill County offers to applicants.

Councillors unanimously approved a motion to lift the tabling from the Sept. 27 meeting.

Then they voted on the motion for third reading which was originally made at the Sept. 27 meeting and it passed by a 4 to 3 vote, King, McGhee, Wade Christie and Debbie Penner voting in favour, Fobes, Machell-Cunningham and Wittstock voting against.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.