Stettler County’s Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) tabled an application to place a garage near a utility right-0f-way (ROW) after it was revealed a natural gas line was involved. The issue was discussed at the Jan. 19 MPC meeting.
Development Officer Jacinta Donovan presented an application from Dustin Borbandy for a parcel of land located at Lot 50 Block 2 Plan 0720960, 11 Marina View Close, Rochon Sands Heights which is located in Buffalo View Estates at Buffalo Lake.
The application form noted the property is owned by Travis and Lorraine Tweit.
Donovan stated councillors were hearing a development permit application involving a variance to allow a garage to be built.
“The applicant is proposing to construct a 720 foot detached ancillary building in the front yard of Lot 50 Block 2 Plan 0720960,” stated Donovan in her report.
“The applicant is requesting a 64 per cent variance (from 25 feet to nine feet) to the minimum front yard setback. A development permit was issued for a detached dwelling and raised covered deck with a 61 per cent variance to the east side yard setback (from 10 feet to 3.93 feet) on Oct. 22, 2021.”
It was stated in the staff presentation that detached ancillary buildings aren’t permitted in a residence’s front yard unless directly approved by the MPC, which is composed of members of county council.
Donovan noted only one concern was received by the county over this application, and it came from Stettler County’s operations department.
The department stated it was concerned the garage was proposed to sit on top of the utility ROW and a suggestion was made that a space be left for crews to work on the ROW if needed.
Board member Justin Stevens asked which utilities were involved and Donovan responded water and sewer.
Borbandy attended the meeting virtually and stated the garage was proposed for the front yard because the back yard isn’t big enough and because there was no interest in attaching a garage to the existing house.
Borbandy also stated the garage’s access doors won’t face the street but there would be vehicles parked on the concrete slab. He suggested that if the setback is gravelled crews could dig that up when needed and access the ROW.
Board chair James Nibourg asked how much space the operations department wanted, and Director of Corporate Services Andrew Brysiuk answered that the ROW is three metres or 10 feet and it’s best if that entire space is left open.
At this point Stettler County Director of Operations Rick Green joined the meeting virtually and said if the application was approved the building would be sitting on top of the ROW.
Green said that wasn’t a good idea as crews may need access to that ROW which is why setbacks are included in the first place. Green stated he felt the existing house could have been set further back on the lot which would allow more room for the garage, which he described as being on “the large size.”
Green also stated the ROW was “largely a gas line” with possibly a Telus line too.
Hearing that a natural gas line was involved made an impression on Nibourg. “So that changes things,” said Nibourg.
There was no information presented at the meeting from the owner of the natural gas line, including their opinion of the application.
However, Borbandy stated he did not make the application assuming it would be approved and added that the house was located on the parcel so residents could enjoy the lake’s scenic view.
“So I don’t agree with (Green’s) comment,” said Borbandy.
Borbandy also stated he had no intention of placing a building on top of utility lines and that he is open to suggestions.
Nibourg stated the MPC couldn’t make a decision until they know more about the natural gas line. The issue was unanimously tabled to a future meeting.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter