County to hold public hearing on proposed change to Urban Fringe designation

By staff

Sturgeon County – A 5-2 vote by Sturgeon County Council Tuesday morning passed first reading of an amendment to the county’s land use bylaw that would change Intensive Agricultural Use with Farmstead from a permitted to a discretionary use in Urban Fringe areas within Sturgeon County. With first reading passed, County will now move on to a public hearing to be held in council chambers June 14.

In the existing land use bylaw Intensive Agricultural Use with Farmstead is defined as “a commercial agricultural operation other than a confined feeding operation.” The designation includes nurseries, greenhouses, market gardens, tree farms and specialty crops.

The motivation behind changing from permitted to discretionary use is based on a number of intensive agriculture developments locating near neighbouring municipalities, country residential subdivisions and other locations.

Although the proximity of agricultural developments near to residential subdivisions may be seen as an intrusion affecting the latter, Councillor David Kluthe is concerned the change in bylaw will be an intrusion on property rights.

“If we approve this bylaw, we are going to be doing to the residents of the County the same thing the province has done to us,” Kluthe said, reading from a prepared statement Tuesday morning.

Mayor Don Rigney was also opposed to first reading of the bylaw. Some councillors, while apprehensive about the bylaw, were nonetheless prepared to support first reading to move the matter on to a public hearing.

That public hearing will be split into two sessions on June 14 – 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Should the amendment to the bylaw be passed, Intensive Agriculture Use would still be permitted in urban Fringe areas based on the type, scale and planning merits of the proposed developments.

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