Stettler town hall. (Lisa Joy/Stettler Independent)

New subdivision beside agricultural grounds edges closer to reality

‘The developer is looking at putting in a berm along the property line with the agricultural grounds’

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Independent

A proposed 17-unit subdivision in the old Rotary Park has taken another step forward.

The privately-owned green space adjacent to the agricultural grounds has received tentative approval from the Town of Stettler council.

“Council did give it approval with conditions,” said Director of Planning & Development Leann Graham.

One of the conditions put before the project is for the developer to work with the Ag. Society to mitigate concerns about the development.

The Ag. Society submitted one of three letters opposed to the project during the April 6th council meeting where a public meeting was held. No letters for or delegations speaking in support of the project were presented.

“The developer was at that meeting too,” said Mayor Sean Nolls.

“One of the letters against was the Ag. Society, but the developer (must) work with the Ag. Society to make sure all the concerns are met. It sounds like the Society is on board with the project as long as they meet those guidelines.”

The developer of the property has already reached out to the Ag. Society and steps are being taken to work on the organization’s concerns.

The Ag. Society was concerned about noise complaints coming from the homes in proximity stemming from events held at the grounds.

As part of problem mitigation, the developer is looking at putting in a berm along the property line with the agricultural grounds to help cut down noise.

Additionally, there will be a back alley between the properties and the grounds to help increase the distance between the homes and the grounds.

“It’s pretty straightforward,” said Graham.

“This land is identified in our (Municipal Development Plan) as long-range residential. It is compliant with our long-range planning document.”

One of the letters of objection to the project cited that Stettler already had enough available property to build on, and that another subdivision was not needed, something which Nolls disagreed with.

“Right now, our inventory is actually pretty low,” said Nolls.

“Right now, we’re below thirty (properties for sale).”

Nolls also cited a recent housing assessment that was conducted in Stettler, which pointed out a lack of transitional housing for seniors between “the home and the lodge,” something that the developer wants to work on by focusing development of the new subdivision for the over 50 crowd.

“If we have that, it will give people the opportunity to move out of their (larger) houses into an (appropriate) sized house,” said Nolls. “That will free up some inventory for young families and such. As long as it is good transitional housing, I think we’ll be in a better spot.”

Another argument against the new development was the removal of green space from the town, something which Nolls believes that the town has plenty of.

“The biggest concerns were losing green space,” said Nolls.

“There is a lot of green space in Stettler. We really pride ourselves in the green space we have.”

While the plan for the subdivision has been tentatively approved, the bylaw rezoning the area from park to residential is being held off until such a time as all the conditions for the development are met.

One final point about the proposed development made by Nolls is that the property on which the project is being held is privately held, and if the developers follow the municipality’s guidelines, it can developed how they would like.

“This was always private (land),” said Nolls.