by Tristan Turner
Council adds new land use district after public hearing
Council unanimously passed (excluding the vacationing Mayor Lisa Holmes) 2nd and 3rd reading of Bylaw 1/2015 after a public hearing and much discussion. The bylaw amends Land Use Bylaw 3/2012 to add a new land use district called the Commercial and Industrial Service (CIS) District. The new district allows for a mix of business and industrial, including commercial corridor businesses and offices.
The new district is intended to be used along major roadways and includes requirements for the properties to be visually acceptable and to take into account adjacent developments. One requirement of lands zoned with the new CIS district is the requirement that developments can’t have “a predominantly blank wall,” among others.
While the bylaw does not rezone the land directly, the new district is intended to be applied to the land south of the industrial park and west of South Glens in the South Business Commercial Area Structure Plan, also unanimously passed that evening.
South Glens resident Dolly Bolen was the only person to speak against the bylaw at the public hearing. She has previously offered her concerns to Council about the effects this new district and a related area structure plan may have to her property.
Bolen, a business owner herself, said she “was not opposed to business” but that she just didn’t want the area next to South Glens developed. She said she felt that the passage of this bylaw had a part to play in the South Business Commercial development. “As it directly relates to our quality of life [South Glens residents], we do not want business/commercial development next to South Glens.”
Bolen’s expressed concerns about wetlands present on the land proposed for the development. Town Administration argued the land in question was not a naturally occurring wetland and was previously used as farmland. Standing water had been present on the property only due to human activity, according to Administration.
During the Public Hearing, both Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe and Planning and Development Director Greg Hofmann mentioned many of Bolen’s comments were not related specifically to the topic of the public hearing. However, Dafoe allowed Bolen to read her statement and present a number of questions because of the connection between the bylaw and the Area Structure Plan also voted on Feb. 10.
During her statement, Bolen said she was disappointed in the Town for not acting on her concerns and the concerns of others who live in South Glens about the Area Structure Plan, and that the Town had not done enough to engage members in her development. “I am wondering why the Town of Morinville holds public hearings if they are not going to give any of the concerns brought up consideration..,” Bolen said. “I understand our Mayor and Council were elected to help Morinville grow in a positive way, not ask for public opinion on issues concerning our town, then turn around and not do anything about it.”
Councillor Brennan Fitzgerald took issue with Bolen’s claim, stating Council’s debate at second and third reading was Council’s opportunity to discuss and bring forward concerns head at the hearing and from the public.
Council unanimously passes Area Structure Plan despite disagreement from nearby residents
Council also passed 2nd and 3rd reading of Bylaw 16/2014 to adopt the South Business Commercial Area Structure Plan (ASP). The bylaw is related to 15.72 hectares of undeveloped land at the southern end of 100 Street, a parcel that was divided by the realignment of 100 Street. As Alberta Transportation has control on the southwest section for a promised interchange, the ASP will deal with the northeast area from Cardiff Road to the edge of the industrial park.
The development is expected to utilize the new Commercial and Industrial Service (CIS) District that was amended into Land Use Bylaw 2/2012 earlier in the evening, though the passage of the ASP does not immediately rezone the land. This would allow for commercial businesses and light industrial to be placed in the area, with offices and box stores likely to be occupying the development after it is complete.
At a Jan. 27 Public Hearing, South Glens resident Dolly Bolen, strongly opposed the development due to concerns about local wildlife in what she has described as wetlands. The Town disputes the Bolen’s claim that the land is a naturally occurring wetlands, with Planning and Development Director Greg Hofmann saying that the land was previously used for agriculture, and that any standing water on the development was a result of grading in nearby developments.
The current ASP shows a new road that will connect South Glens to the development and then directly connect to 100 Street at the north end of the development. The ASP will create another entrance into South Glens, something Administration believes will increase the safety of South Glens residents in emergency situations by providing an additional exit.
There is still a long route to development though, with subdividing and design work yet to be done.
Town receives quarterly report from new acting RCMP Staff Sergeant
New Interim Detachment Commander for the Morinville RCMP Staff Sergeant Riz Suleman gave his first in what he hopes to be many reports to council, saying that he wishes to be permanently assigned as the local Staff Sergeant after a final decisions are made regarding employee stationing for RCMP officers in the region.
Suleman said this first report was a bit of a “meet and greet” but said he will work with the Town in the future to focus on areas concern and report relevant data to about policing in the community. For the time being traffic safety and enforcement remains a high priority for RCMP in the community, according to Suleman.
Suleman has more than 20 years of experience in the RCMP including a secondment to the Ministry of Transportation. “I enjoy working here, what I know so far of the community is that it’s great, including the staff at the detachment and members of the community,” said Suleman.