Residents in two parts of the Town of Stettler may have the opportunity to learn more about farming as a proposed bylaw will allow horses, goats, sheep and chickens in proportion to the space available. ECA Review/SubmittedStu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Residents in two parts of the Town of Stettler may have the opportunity to learn more about farming as a proposed bylaw will allow horses, goats, sheep and chickens in proportion to the space available. 

The bylaw passed first reading at the Feb. 7 regular meeting of council.

Town of Stettler Planning and Operations Clerk Angela Stormoen presented the proposed Land Use bylaw (LUB) 22159-23 which would amend the LUB in three ways, which include adding the “farming” designation to the LUB’s general regulations, adding the designation “farming” to DC4 urban reserve direct control zoning and to rezone Lot BAL Y, Plan 2442AE from industrial to DC4 with the intention of giving property owners an opportunity to have certain farm animals on DC4 property.

Stormoen noted that in 2008 a group of property owners requested the town council rezone certain parts of the said property to residential, but the town apparently already had the intention to eventually promote industrial development in that area. Council at that time eventually settled on rezoning the said property to DC4.

However, it seems there is some demand in that particular part of Stettler for farm animals. 

“In 2018 the landowner at 4601 – 47 Avenue applied to have their property rezoned back to urban reserve to allow for a ‘farming’ use,” stated the agenda item’s memo.

“Town of Stettler council denied the rezoning application at the regular council meeting on Oct. 2, 2018. Since that time administration has received multiple inquiries from residents in the area regarding animal housing.

“In November, 2022 Town of Stettler administration received an email requesting councils’ consideration of allowing a maximum of four horses on a property in the same area along 47 Ave.”

The agenda memo stated that town staff looked at the fact a future public park area will be located near the site in question along with the fact so many residents are requesting flexibility regarding certain farm animals and therefore proposed these changes to the LUB.

It was noted that, if the bylaw passed all readings, “farming” would become a discretionary use of the DC4 zoning which would allow property owners to apply to the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) to have certain farm animals on their property. 

Stormoen presented councillors with a chart naming horses, goats, sheep and chickens as possibilities with the exact number of animals determined by the size of each property owner’s parcel. 

It should be noted the chart stated animals other than those listed could be possible, “…at the discretion of MPC.”

After Stormoen’s presentation councillors discussed the proposed bylaw; she reiterated that farm animals on DC4 property would not be approved automatically, but rather would be a discretionary use which means property owners would have to apply to the MPC for approval.

However, Stormoen alluded to the possibility that property owners in the area in question may already have farm animals on their property anyway.

Coun. Scott Pfeiffer clarified that one of the DC4 areas being discussed was located by the seed cleaning plant and that in the past the Town of Stettler received complaints about goats in that area. Pfeiffer added though it was “a huge area” and he didn’t know if the goats were actually causing that much trouble.

Coun. Wayne Smith noted that it seemed to him that this bylaw puts rules in place rather than depend on discretion.

Deputy Mayor Gord Lawlor, who was chairing the meeting, stated the proposed bylaw also includes rules about manure removal and much more.

Councillors unanimously approved first reading of the proposed bylaw. 

It will now be publicly advertised with a public hearing scheduled at a later date.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 16, 2023

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

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