Draft municipal development plan revisted by council

A draft municipal development plan is in the process of being revised for the second time.

A draft municipal development plan is in the process of being revised for the second time, and will be brought before council for a second and third reading at its Feb. 22 meeting.

The draft plan was put under the microscope by council with input provided by Earl Giebelhaus, former mayor and developer in Rimbey and developer Stan Cummings. Both men were present at the Feb. 8 public hearing regarding the municipal development plan and the council meeting following the public hearing. The men added valuable input to the discussion about the municipal development plan and their suggestions were considered in the revised plan.

Both Giebelhaus and Cummings disagreed with a section in the MDP which stated road surfacing shall be done at the developer’s expense upon 80 per cent development or within two years of subdivisions, whichever is sooner.

“If I had to pave after two years I could not have done it,”said Giebelhaus. “That puts an extra burden on the developer. Two years to pave in this town, that’s not fair.”

Cummings suggested eliminating the time frame and changing the policy to read road surfacing shall be done at the developer’s expense upon 60 per cent development.

“More incentive is needed to encourage developers to come to this town,” he said.

“The last thing we want to do is discourage development,” said Mayor Rick Pankiw.

Council agreed to direct planner Liz Armitage to change the clause to state road surfacing shall be done at the developers expense at 60 per cent of development.

Another contentious issue in the draft MDP concerned how much land and/or how many lots would be acceptable before the preparation of an area structure plan was requested. The draft policy stated the town shall require the preparation of an area structure plan before subdivision of any parcel which would be subdivided into six or more lots and/or consist of greater than 1.5 hectares of land.

Cummings suggested 10 lots and Giebelhaus thought the number should be reduced to less than six. Another developer said eight to 10 lots and four lots was also suggested.

“There is no wrong or right answer,” said Armitage.

The town agreed to adhere to the original clause, which stated any parcel of land subdivided into six lots would require an area structure plan.

Giebelhaus also questioned a statement in the MDP stating the town may assume a role in land development, including acquisition, servicing and subdivision, in order to ensure an adequate supply of land.

“I’m not sure the town should be involved in the business of development,” he said. “I’m not sure it’s a wise thing for the town to get involved.”

But Pankiw said the town already owns land.

“Because we do own land now, that has to be in there.”

Cummings said developers should not have to pay the town cash for the provisions of reserves when land is subdivided.

“Money should not be given out. Land should be used,” he said.

Council decided to amend the policy so providing land would be a priority, but cash may also be accepted in unique circumstances where providing land would not be feasible.

Penny Giebelhaus questioned why council didn’t utilize the expertise of Earl and Reuben Giebelhaus, both of whom have done extensive developing in the town, for the new municipal development plan.

“Those were very good resources that should have been utilized.”