Dear Mayor Flynn & Councilors:
March 20, 2017, Sturgeon County Administration (Land Use Planners) have spent two years preparing the new Draft Land Use Bylaw (LUB) that is currently before Council. The Draft LUB was only released to the public (County Residents/Ratepayers) on January 26th, 2017. Administration refused to provide copies of the Draft LUB prior to the formal release on January 26th (per request of John Wasmuth to Clayton Kittlitz at November, 2016 “Open House” in Calahoo Hall).
The 189-page Draft LUB provides very extensive regulatory powers to Sturgeon County Administration including new zoning regulations, land use districts, classifications, permitted and discretionary uses, plus provision for significant fines and greater powers of enforcement for anyone who does not comply. While some of the proposed changes in this Draft LUB seem appropriate, others are extremely onerous and will stifle future social and economic development in Sturgeon County, including agriculture diversification and small business sustainability and growth.
Other counties or municipalities in the Capital Region have consulted extensively with their respective residents/ratepayers prior to final drafting, Third Reading and implementation of similar land use bylaws. For example, Strathcona County consulted with residents/ratepayers extensively prior to passing their new Land Use Bylaw 6-2015. In fact, even prior to First Reading, Strathcona County provided the initial draft of a proposed Land Use Bylaw (LUB) and held various public meetings over a period in excess of one year with residents/ratepayers to gather feedback from both urban and rural stakeholders. Based on the feedback from these meetings substantial changes were implemented to the initial draft and the resulting amended Draft LUB was then given First and Second Reading on February 10, 2015. The amended LUB was ultimately given Third Reading on March 10, 2015; however, did not come into effect until May 11, 2015. We see no reason why the residents/ratepayers of Sturgeon County should not be given the same opportunity as Strathcona County residents/ratepayers to have input into the proposed Sturgeon County Draft LUB.
Sturgeon United Residents for Effective Accountable Leadership (SUREAL) hereby requests that Mayor Flynn and the six Council Members vote to delay Second and Third Readings of the proposed Draft LUB for a period of 12 months (i.e. to March 31, 2018) with implementation of the new LUB on May 31, 2018, to provide Sturgeon County residents/ratepayers, and any other stakeholders, the opportunity to perform detailed reviews of the proposed Draft LUB, suggest changes and engage in open and transparent discussions with Administration and Council regarding suggested amendments. SUREAL also requests that “Land Use Bylaw No. 819/96”, that is currently in force, apply to all subdivision and development applications in the interim period to May 31, 2018.
John F. Wasmuth