Kneehill County’s amended Land-Use Bylaw (LUB) will drop the number of subdivisions allowed on a quarter section of land from five to three, at their regular Sept. 22 council meeting, and elicited debate among council.
Council was considering third reading of the amended Land-Use Bylaw that went through a public hearing Sept. 8, stated manager of Planning and Development Barb Hazelton.
“On Sept. 17, 2019, administration brought the Land Use Bylaw to the Committee of the Whole, to outline the changes that would be necessary if we were to allow hens in urban areas,” stated Hazelton in her memo to council.
“Since the Land Use Bylaw should coincide with the Strategic Plan, this was also an opportunity for council to ensure this Land Use Bylaw is in fact a reflection of this council’s vision for our county.”
Hazelton stated amendments to the LUB included some information from the Municipal Government Act (MGA) and some new uses to increase opportunities to county residents, plus suggestions from councillors had also been included in the proposed amendments.
Coun. Jim Hugo asked if a section describing solar panels also applied to wind towers.
Hazelton replied that a wind tower has to be sited at least half a mile from a residence that doesn’t belong to the owner.
Reeve Jerry Wittstock stated he felt obligated to bring up this concern, later than usual, but assumed it would come up during the public consultation process. Apparently, it did not.
Wittstock stated he was concerned about the proposal to reduce the number of subdivisions off of a quarter section from five to three.
Wittstock stated he’d heard from some residents that they were not aware of this change.
The reeve stated he felt cutting it back from five to three is perhaps going too far. He also stated he felt the demand for parcels won’t be met.
Lot subdivisions off agricultural quarters are usually sold to developers for acreages.
Hazelton stated that, since 2016, 14 people have done four or five parcels in Kneehill County.
Coun. Ken King asked where in the county that was done, and Hazelton responded it was a “pretty good spread.”
Coun. Glen Keiver stated his personal preference was for three lots and suggested if people want to subdivide, they could look at purchasing quarter sections that have no lots taken out.
Keiver said he was concerned about quarter sections that have four or five lots taken out of them because “…it’s starting to look like cluster housing.”
King stated he understands that subdivision is profitable for landowners but some of the subsequent acreage owners don’t always know a lot of about life in an agricultural area and can cause issues for farmers.
“I don’t mind the idea of having some acreages, but I’m not a huge fan of increasing the number…,” said King.
Wittstock stated he felt this change would significantly affect landowners throughout Kneehill County.
Councillors waited for a few minutes but no one spoke in support of the reeve’s comments.
Third reading of the amended LUB was passed by a 6 to 1 vote, Whittstock the lone dissenter.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter