Ashcroft council moves forward on rezoning project

Amendment to zoning bylaw paves the way for new housing development in North Ashcroft

On Monday, June 22 Ashcroft Village council held a public hearing to discuss the proposed new amendments to the Official Community Plan and bylaws related to the development of a new subdivision off Government Street.

After the meeting was called to order, Major Barbara Roden stated that all persons present at the meeting who believed they will be affected by this proposed bylaw would be given an opportunity to be heard. Written submissions were also accepted, of which council received one, which was read aloud.

Pine Street resident Muriel Mertens wrote that she was concerned by the potential impacts of Rezoning and OCP Amendment Application No. RZ 20-1/OCP 20-01 and the following subdivision. Mertens said that disturbing soils in a semi-desert like Ashcroft can have unintended consequences by changing natural draining channels and cause “geotechnical instability.”

“What is the Village’s responsibility to property owners should mud-slides or other environmental catastrophe be triggered because of new development in the area?” Mertens asked. “The density of North Ashcroft will be increased with this proposed development, pressure on the village water supply will increase and it has been shown that water metres have the most profound and immediate effect on reducing water consumption. Will the Village ensure that new developers install water metres and will the Village require the developer to add sidewalks and place utilities underground?”

Questions about what input and oversight the Village would have on the development of the parcel of land should the proposal be accepted, as well as whether future hearings will be held to discuss these plans, were also raised by Mertens.

Alex Crowse, the manager of planning for the TNRD, said he has been assisting the Village of Ashcroft in processing this application that will rezone the 147-acre/59-hectare property located at 1479 Government Street and presented council with a planning services report on the issue. Crowse said the property is large, but the proposed area for the rezoning consists of a 6.7 hectare/16 acre portion of the property no longer being actively used for ranching or agriculture purposes. It is not in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

“The entire property is currently zoned A-1 agriculture, the applicant is requesting to rezone to the R-1 residential zone that would enable the potential for a subdivision to create smaller single-family and duplex residential lots,” Crowse explained.

An amendment has also been requested to be made to the Official Community Plan by the applicant to allow this rezoning amendment. If the amendments are made the owner will seek to create a separate lot consisting of the 16 acre portion of land, which can then be developed into a subdivision consisting of a minimum of 525 square metre housing lots. The current or future owner of the land will be able to do this through the municipal approving officer, meaning future development plans will not be presented before the council or be required to seek public input.

An archaeological impact assessment on the land, which includes the old rodeo grounds, will need to be conducted prior to the land being further subdivided into smaller lots, Crowse said. However, the assessment is not required at this time.

After Crowse concluded his presentation and answered a few questions from council, Roden called for presentations from the public or via live stream three times, and hearing none concluded the public hearing.

During the regular council meeting following the hearing, council voted to give the bylaws in question third reading.

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