Selling road allowance for encroaching garage may solve Village of Alix problem

Larry Garrett and Kari Latendre spoke directly to council to ask for help with their property located at 5303 47th Street in Alix, Alta. Garrett told councillors the pair is trying to sell their house but the garage encroaches on a road allowance. ECA Review/Submitted
Written by Stu Salkeld

Alix village council decided they will close an undeveloped road allowance and sell it to the owners of a garage that is encroaching on the public property. The decision was made at the Oct. 5 regular meeting of council.

At a previous meeting property owners Larry Garrett and Kari Letendre asked councillors to do something to resolve an impasse the pair had reached: they wished to sell their residential property located at 5303 47th Street in Alix, but their garage was encroaching onto an undeveloped road allowance owned by the village.

The pair stated it was virtually impossible to sell the home with the encroachment.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White stated closing and selling the undeveloped road allowance is possible.

“The undeveloped portion of 45th Street is 10 metres wide and extends from 53rd Ave. north to 47th Street,” noted White in her report to council. “The garage is encroaching 4.66 metres into 45th street.” That encroachment converts to about 15.2 feet.

“Mr. Garrett is requesting that the village close the undeveloped portion of 45th Street so that the closed area can then be sold to him and added to his property.”

White noted the village’s initial suggestion to solve the problem, a license to occupy, was turned down by Garrett and Letendre.

“Feedback from prospective purchasers as shared by Mr. Garrett indicates that a license to occupy arrangement does not afford them sufficient long term certainty if they were to purchase the Garrett property,” stated White’s report. “As a result Mr. Garrett has not been able to sell the property.”

White stated that she enlisted the help of Parkland Community Planning Services Planner Craig Teal who pointed out the road allowance is only 10 metres wide and if it was developed for use it would need to be widened to 20 metres for use as a public road.

It was noted the village’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP) doesn’t identify the road allowance as key in the future. Also, it was noted the undeveloped road allowance has not been identified as required for future utilities.

Lastly, intermunicipal agreements don’t identify that road allowance in any plans.

The report noted that if the road allowance was successfully closed a purchase price would then have to be agreed upon. The staff report noted two methods that could be used, including having a market value appraisal prepared or using the assessed value of the adjacent Garrett property.

White’s report also noted if that portion of the road allowance is closed and sold, it should not be done as a separate parcel but should be consolidated with the Garrett property.

The report noted costs to the municipality include surveyor work, staff time, advertising, the hosting of a public hearing and possible legal expenses. It was noted the public hearing would be required because the road allowance can only be closed through a bylaw, which requires public consultation along with ministerial approval later in the process.

White also noted several times the road closure process could take “many months” to complete.

Coun. Tim Besuijen clarified that the village cannot sell the property in question until the road allowance closure process is complete. White confirmed that.

Councillors unanimously approved a motion to accept White’s report for information, and acknowledged they would discuss purchase price in closed session in accordance with FOIP legislation.

In an email to the ECA Review Oct. 7 White confirmed councillors passed the following resolution at the council meeting after exiting closed session: “Moved by Coun. T. Besuijen that the Village of Alix council hereby direct administration to present a sale price and terms of sale to the potential purchaser of a portion of 45 Street Alix.”

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.