Stettler County, Paradise Shores clash during subdivision appeal board hearing

Recreational development permit deemed incomplete, developer appeals

  • Jun. 6, 2019 2:00 p.m.

by Jessica Jones for the Settler Independent

The controversy surrounding Paradise Shores RV park continued during a Stettler County subdivision appeal board hearing on June 5, which was set to discuss an incomplete recreational development permit from the developer.

Stettler County’s development authority reviewed an outdoor recreational facility application from Paradise Shores, which included the development of 318 campsites and RV stalls around Buffalo Lake. It was deemed incomplete, said County of Settler Director of Communications Niki Thorsteinsson.

“There was not enough information to take to the Municipal Planning Commission so the permit was sent back to the developer,” she explained.

“The developer disagreed and thought it was complete enough so appealed the decision.”

The Subdivision Development Appeal Board (SDAB) hearing only accepted arguments in relation to the “completeness” or “incompleteness” of the application, and was primarily a discussion between two parties: Dave Hamm, owner of Paradise Shores, and Stettler County’s development authority.

Hamm’s legal council, Robert Shuett, along with the County’s development authority and legal council, were also present at the hearing. People who opposed the development around the lake, as well as lease holders who have purchased sites, were also in attendance, Thorsteinsson said.

Later in the day, the hearing was closed by the SDAB; it has 15 days to issue a decision.

If the board deems the application now complete, the County’s development authority would process the permit. If the application is still deemed incomplete, “there would be a conversation with the applicant” said Thorsteinsson, who also noted that the developer could be asked to issue a new permit.

The original submitted development permit from Paradise Shores was comprised of a plan to create recreation facilities and activities on approximately 83 acres of land. In partial, the application consisted of walking and biking trails, concessions, docks, a splash park, an “aqua glide” water park, sports courts and parking, in addition to the 318 campsites.

“Our timeline, having been forced off schedule due to the unfortunate decision by the SDAB needs to be addressed this camping season,” Hamm stated in a letter enclosed in the development permit application.

“The resort’s 221 families who have chosen Settler County and Buffalo Lake as their preferred destination for family fun for decades to come, need clear signals and definite action in order to show that this project is not going away,” the letter further stated.

While the June 5 appeal hearing is a separate issue into the ongoing saga between Settler County and Paradise Shores, it comes at the heels of a stop work order issued in May by the county over health and safety concerns at existing leases.

Thorsteinsson says that there were 41 conditions that had to be met. Lease holders are required to move their trailers from the sites before June 17. To date, Thorsteinsson says there are about 70-75 trailers still on site.

“In the event that all of the RVs have not been removed from the Paradise Shores site by June 17, the County will proceed with further enforcement action to ensure the property is brought into compliance with the conditions of the current Subdivision and Development Appeal Board decision,” County of Settler Development Officer Jacinta Donovan, said. According to the County’s Land Use Bylaw, the municipality is able to enter the land or building and take “any action necessary to carry out the order.”

“We are hoping the developer meets compliance, so we can get people back on their camping spots, but we can’t do that at the peril of health and safety,” Thorsteinsson added.

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