Rimbey Town Council passed a couple of land use redesignations during their regular meeting on May 11, including the long-disputed Spelrem home on 51 Street.
After over a decade of denied applications, council passed a motion to redesignate the property as residential.
Keith and Glenna Spelrem’s home, 4502 51 St., was built as a commercial property because the lot was zoned as commercial and the building permit issued was for a business, though it was never operated as one.
Mayor Rick Pankiw says he believes the unique aesthetic of the home was due to personal taste, but it was always intended as, and used as, a home.
According to council minutes, the Spelrems were told verbally by the Town back in 2005 their application to redesignate the lot as residential was denied. The reasoning given at the time was that commercial property was limited.
A discretionary development permit was issued in January, 2007, to construct a commercial building.
The Spelrems again applied for a redesignation in 2013, and were again denied.
The Spelrems submitted a new application package on March 9, 2021. Twenty-six letters were received by the Town from neighbours as part of the application.
The general consensus from the residents was they didn’t want the property to remain as commercial because of the potential for increased traffic, noise and the decrease in surrounding property values if the property becomes a traditional commercial use.
First reading on the amendment to the land use bylaw was passed on March 23 and the public hearing was set for May 11.
Because the residence was built as a commercial building, at the time, it qualified for a tax rebate incentive, resulting in the Spelrems receiving a total rebate value of $$3,028.90 paid over three years (2008 to 2010).
The first motion put forward by Coun. Lana Curle was to allow for the rezoning, but require the Spelrems to pay back the rebates that were received. However, the motion was defeated 3-2 with only Mayor Rick Pankiw and Curle in favour.
A second motion to approve the rezoning without requiring the rebates to be repaid passed 3-2, with Curle and Pankiw opposed.
Pankiw says he wasn’t opposed to the rezoning, but felt it was in the best interest of all Rimbey taxpayers if the money was repaid to the Town.
Overall, he says rezoning the property made sense and was supported by the neighbouring residents.
Council also voted in favour of redesignating 5014 51 St. from Central Commercial (C1) to residential. Pankiw says the building was referred to as the “Pink House” at one time, and used to operate as a tea house.
Third and final readings were given to the Town of Rimbey borrowing bylaw for local improvement and the local improvement tax levy bylaw.
Town administration prepared a local improvement plan for the paving of the Evergreen Estates subdivision, which was approved at the Oct. 27, 2020 council meeting. Property owners were advised of the plan and no petitions were received.
Council passed first reading of a borrowing bylaw on April 13, 2021 to fund the improvement plan.
The borrowing bylaw, passed April 27, authorized the Town to borrow $755,000 to finance the paving.
According to Pankiw, for over 20 years, the Town has completed paving of new roads by initially borrowing funds, and then having local residents who benefit from the paving, paying back the cost through a tax levy.
The property owners can pay the levy upfront or over a period of 15 years.
Any future repairs needed are then covered by the town.
“That’s they way Rimbey has done paving,” said Pankiw.
“I don’t think it’s ever changed.”
Peace officer agreement
Coun. Bill Coulthard moved to approve entering into a Shared Community Peace Officer Services agreement with Ponoka County and The Summer Village of Parkland Beach.
Bylaw committee appointment
Council appointed Allan Tarleton to the Bylaw Committee, effective April 28, 2021 to the next organizational meeting in October, 2021.
Council proclaimed June 7 to 16, 2021 as Senior’s Week in the Town of Rimbey.