The County of Stettler Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) approved a subdivision application that resulted in a total of five lots on agricultural land near the Hamlet of Nevis. The decision was made at the April 24 MPC board meeting. ECA Review/ScreenshotStu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The County of Stettler Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) approved a subdivision application that resulted in a total of five lots on agricultural land near the Hamlet of Nevis. The decision was made at the April 24 MPC board meeting.

The MPC is comprised of members of county council and chaired by Coun. James Nibourg.

Director of Planning and Development Craig Teal presented a Parkland Community Planning Services report to councillors including a subdivision application from numbered company 1647718 Alberta Ltd. for its property described at the meeting as the south half 6-39-21-W4M Lot OT Plan 3493MC, further described as 269.1 acres in total. 

The actual location of the land in question became a subject of discussion as it’s touched by two primary highways and rail lines creating a number of smaller agricultural pieces. The Hamlet of Nevis is located roughly 15 minutes west of the Town of Stettler.

“The subject parcels are located 0.27 km southeast of the Hamlet of Nevis,” stated Teal’s report to council. “The subject parcels have Hwy. 12 and railway tracks running through them, and abut Hwy. 11 to the south. The subject parcels are currently used as agricultural land with no residences constructed on them.” 

The application further described the property in question as Lot 1 Block 1, Lot 1 Block 1 (second piece), Lot 2 Block 2, Lot 3 Block 2 and Lot 4 Block 2.

Teal explained the property owner, with this subdivision, would simplify the title situation for all these small pieces of property. 

“This one’s a little bit out of the normal compared to our usual subdivision applications,” said Teal during his verbal presentation.

“There’s no real intent to create any country residential (acreages). It’s an issue of rationalizing the property lines relative to the way the land has been used for crop land or pasture land over the many years. Basically, each field would have its own title.”

As Teal described the application he noted there were virtually no concerns about it, including from a nearby landowner who requested information. 

Alberta Transportation stated the ministry had no concerns but noted if approved the separate lots, if developed in the future, may require new road access. Teal pointed out the primary highways have nothing to do with the County of Stettler.

A large portion of the presentation included municipal reserve (MR) calculations and the county’s Rural Development Fund. Municipal reserve is land set aside for public ownership while the fund collects a fee when land is removed from agricultural production; that money is then used for agricultural projects elsewhere in the County of Stettler.

Staff recommended no MR land be collected but instead a fee of $3,226.25 be requested from the property owner. As for the fund, since the farmland remains in production the fund doesn’t apply here. “…These (parcels) are all intended to be agricultural parcels in the long term,” said Teal.

During discussion board members asked if Lot 1 Block 2, a long, triangular parcel in the centre, had a building site on it suitable for development in the future. Teal responded, “The short answer is yes,” adding setbacks are met by one building site on that parcel.

Chair Nibourg observed that, if approved, this subdivision would create “…a number of sellable parcels.” Nibourg then observed that if the application was approved, “All of these would be prime to sell as acreages now going forward.”

Coun. Les Stulberg stated he felt it could be inferred that, because of all the roads and rail lines dividing this land, the agricultural production was already hampered. “It’s not really a pleasure to farm such little pieces,” said Stulberg.

Board members also discussed a defunct rail line on the land in question and the fact that it appears abandoned and overgrown.

It was also mentioned that Coun. Justin Stevens, who represents this area, had no concerns about this application.

Board members unanimously approved the subdivision application.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 08, 2024 at 08:56

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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