County of Stettler council voted 5 – 2 in favour of sending a subdivision plan forward for the Hamlet of Erskine that includes alleys.
The decision was made at the Jan. 13 regular meeting of council streamed via YouTube to meet pandemic rules.
Councillors read a report submitted by Rick Green, director of operations, regarding lot layout options for the Erskine Phase 2 subdivision.
He explained Phase 2 was complicated by the proximity of the former Erskine landfill.
“Council motion 217.07.06.17 required the county development authority to submit a request to the Deputy Minister of the Environment to vary the setback for residential development near the closed Erskine landfill from 300 meters to 50 meters,” stated Green’s report.
Essentially, Green stated councillors were being asked how they wanted the potential subdivision laid out, and whether or not they wanted alleys included. Green added that alleys take up space and also require a certain amount of maintenance.
Council’s preferred layout would then be forwarded to the Municipal Planning Commission for a development permit.
Coun. Les Stulberg stated he felt the county should get on this immediately and let people know the municipality wants to develop the area.
Coun. Dave Grover asked if the ski hill was still at that location. Green responded that some of the material forming that hill was still there.
Coun. James Nibourg stated he’s heard realtors on occasion state that buyers prefer alleys and if no alleys are included it may be a factor in how the lots sell.
Green responded that in his opinion alleys aren’t a factor in how residential lots sell.
Coun. Cheri Neitz stated that the public has told her that they don’t want a mobile home park in Erskine nor do they want the county to spend a lot of money on real estate.
Reeve Larry Clark asked why the options didn’t allow for any basements.
Green answered the proximity of the landfill required that detail. He stated the possibility of landfill gases settling in low spots could result in combustion, and basements would be considered low spots.
Coun. Wayne Nixon pondered that no alleys also helps to reduce crime.
Development Officer Jacinta Donovan stated that the subdivision plan will be publicly advertised so the public can comment on the proposal.
Coun. Nibourg stated he felt more time should be spent on this decision than a few minutes at council and he also suggested the county gather input from local realtors to see what the market is demanding.
Coun. Grover responded that pre-selling the lots might be a good idea and added that realtors might advise the county to sell the lots cheap just to get them moving.
Coun. Nixon noted that the three options provided varied somewhat in lot numbers but there was room for alleys if desired. Neitz added that option number two fit better in the Erskine community.
Coun. Nixon moved that council proceed with subdivision layout number two with alleys included and forward this to the MPC for their consideration.
The motion passed with Neitz and Coun. Ernie Gendre opposed.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter