County set to update its development plan

With sights set on rural growth, the County of Stettler has presented an update municipal development plan and land-use bylaw

With sights set on rural growth, the County of Stettler has presented an update municipal development plan and land-use bylaw set for a public hearing June 12.

At its monthly meeting in May, county council gave first reading to the MDP that was adopted in 2009 and slightly amended in 2012.

“It helps the county evaluate the merit of immediate development proposals in context of the community’s desired long-term future,” said Johan van der bank, director of planning and development, as he explained the plan he drafted.

Among the proposed changes, the county plans to increase the density in the agricultural district from two private titles per quarter section to three private titles per quarter section. “This means that each quarter section in the county could have two parcels subdivided out of the remainder of the quarter section, while all three titles remain in the agricultural district and rezoning is not required,” van der Bank said.

The plan also proposes to change the definition of a farmstead subdivision so that the setback distances required for private sewage disposal systems from property boundaries are not included.

Under the proposal, the plan would deem any subdivision that proposes the fourth and additional private titles out of a quarter section as a multi-lot subdivision that must follow the rules for multi-lot subdivision.

As well, a new multi-lot subdivision must create at least five new private titles. Certain exceptions are provided to this requirement, to allow less than five new private titles under specific circumstances.

For confined feeding operations, policies in the plan align with the provincial Agricultural Operation Practices Act.

Under the plan, the county would endeavour to:

— Foster traditional rural lifestyle, support the rural sense of community and encourage a thriving rural-based agricultural economy.

— Preserve the rural qualities and agricultural characteristics of the landscape through growth management that balances the rural, historic, and natural areas that provide the community’s unique identities.

— Preserve the rural character of community cohesiveness and strive to remain responsive to the needs of residents, businesses, and the agricultural community.

— Explore opportunities and invest in the means to enhance and diversify economic activity to balance local growth and provide increased employment and economic opportunities for all residents.

— Wisely manage natural capital to preserve and promote agricultural productivity, conserve commercially viable resource lands and preserve ecological functions of the ecosystem.

Among the plan’s guiding principles, the county strives to promote growth in and surrounding existing hamlets, provide a range of housing opportunities and maintain cooperative relationships with neighbouring municipalities.

For more information on the MDP and land-use bylaw, visit the county website at www.stettlercounty.ca or phone van der bank at the county office at 403-742-4441.

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