Decision tabled on Fawn Meadows Estates bylaw

Written by Brenda Schimke

The regular meeting of the Delburne village council and a public hearing regarding a proposed bylaw to include the Fawn Meadows Estates architectural development guidelines in the Land Use ByLaw, were held on April 12.

“The intention was that this development have architectural guidelines to ensure housing and community consistency,” said Coun. Ray Reckseidler who was on council when the idea for Fawn Meadows was conceived as a strategy to attract new residents to Delburne.

A bylaw to make building permits contingent on these architectural guidelines was never enacted. Most people, including the village, were unaware of this oversight until a denied permit request for a garage to be constructed contrary to the architectural guidelines was challenged.

Subsequently on appeal, it was found the garage did not contravene the Land Use ByLaw and a building permit was then issued.

Four residents comprising three Fawn Meadow homeowners made written and oral presentations at the public hearing—two speaking in favour of the bylaw change, one speaking against.

Those arguing for the bylaw said it was the intent that these development guidelines be enforceable.

Coun. Jeff Bourne agreed, “the village council (of the day) assumed it was enforceable, their mistake was not making it a bylaw.”

One arguing for the bylaw also said as it now stands people backing on the golf course could put up a 30-foot-high garage.

The homeowner speaking against the bylaw amendment commented that inconsistencies abound in the neighbourhood—including different fencing materials and some fences 6-feet high rather than the 5-foot permitted, plus a garage that would be in contravention of the new bylaw.

In response to the 30-foot-high garage, he stated his request for a permit was to build a 17-foot-high garage.

“We’re attempting to make an honest effort to try to correct the oversight that resulted from (the village’s) lack of experience with this type of development, said Mayor Tim Wilson. “We’re trying to make the majority happy but that will leave someone unhappy.”

Council wants to enact what the majority of current Fawn Meadows owners want. Do they want the existing architectural guidelines embedded in a bylaw, do they want to revise some of the guidelines to deal with existing inconsistencies? Do they want inconsistencies grandfathered, or just leave it as guidelines not the law?

A motion was made to table Bylaw 1177/2022 believing that all members of the Fawn Meadows community should be involved in this decision.

Village administration will be contacting each owner by letter seeking input. The village council wants a long-term solution that works for the majority of Fawn Meadows owners so the bylaw can be clear for those considering building in Phase 3.

Main Street Park
Brenda Smith was in attendance to present to council the Futures Committee’s proposal for the completion of the Main Street Park.
Items discussed and agreed to were the completion of the grade work around the pavilion, the installation of a 12-foot-wide sidewalk to the pavilion, an arch at the entrance to the park, completion of the parking area and some physical control measures to ensure vehicles aren’t able to access the park.

Eavestroughs are required to complete the pavilion and capping the posts is optional.  Smith will get quotes on both items.

Ten picnic tables weighing 200 pounds each have been ordered from Blue Imp for a total of $14,000 with delivery expected by the end of April.

When the above items are completed, any leftover money or future successful grants could go towards more bathrooms or a canvas siding for the pavilion.

Bistro property
Frustration was expressed after receiving another letter from Alberta Environment stating “the site is not currently eligible for closing”, meaning the village must continue spending approximately $7,000 per annum to test the Bistro site for contamination levels.

The village has been testing every year since 2006 when Alberta Environment gave permission for a restaurant and a housing unit on the second floor to be constructed on a reclaimed gas station site. Over the years, Alberta Environment has changed the parameters prolonging closure. The CAO will contact their Geo Tech firm to determine what’s next.

New business
The National Police Federation have asked all municipalities to join their Call to Action and send a letter to the Premier and MLAs to stop their push for a provincial police force. There was unanimous consent to send such a letter.

Four proposals were received to undertake the village’s strategic planning project. Using a scoring method, Urban Systems was the successful bidder and a motion was unanimously carried to retain their services.

Administrator’s report
There were two new business licenses issued—Round Lake Lawn Care Services and Coal Trail Catering.

The tax notification process was completed on March 28.  There are six properties put on tax notification and one possible tax sale auction.

Imagination Library
Suzanne Seufert presented to council a literacy program that she is spearheading for Delburne and area. It’s called the Imagination Library and is offered through the Dollywood Foundation.

Each child up to age five would receive a book per month, totalling 60 books. When a child reads just one book a day for five years, they would add an additional 290,000 words to their vocabulary.

Seufert estimates there are approximately 60 children in the area who would be eligible. Her goal is to raise enough money to get at least half the area’s children into the program at a cost of $3.55 per child per month or $43 per child per year.

“It would benefit the children in our community so much and increase awareness of the library”, said Seufert. “Once Delburne does it, then other communities may step up.”

It’s a simple and easy program to administer, but she needs community exposure to assist with fundraising.

Council was enthusiastic about the program suggesting different organizations to contact and agreeing  she should make an application for a community grant.

“The program creates a passion for reading and life-time learning”, said Seufert, “and would show how much Delburne cares about families”.

Brenda Schimke
ECA Review

About the author

Brenda Schimke

Schimke is a Graduate with Distinction from the University of Alberta with a BCom degree. She has lived and worked in Alberta, BC and Ontario.