County passes land use bylaw amendment in support of potential distillery development

Wheatland County council hosted a public hearing, April 16, regarding Bylaw 2023-30, which proposed to redesignate a parcel of land from Agriculture General to Rural Business district.

The application proposed to redesignate a 2.02 hectare portion of land in order to facilitate the development of a distillery operation and restaurant business.

It was recommended in council’s public meeting agenda by administration that following the public hearing, all three readings of Bylaw 2023-30 to amend the land use bylaw 2016-01 be given and passed.

Subject lands are located 4.04 kilometers north of the Hamlet of Carseland, 1.1 kilometers south of Highway 901, and immediately northwest of the Township Road 224 and Range Road 260 intersection.

Neighbouring lands to the parcel are noted to be predominantly agricultural and residential, with one industrial site.

The application proposed that the distillery operation and restaurant operate three to four days a week from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seasonally, estimating three to four employees once the business is established.

Following a presentation of the proposed project, no members of the public expressed support, nor opposition to the development of the distillery and restaurant.

It was noted by the applicant that a letter of objection had been received, stating concerns surrounding transportation in the development area.

The applicant presented, following a traffic study, existing roadways will be adequately capable to handle the increase in traffic caused by the presence of a business.

Rod Potri, with planning protocol, added concerns had also been raised about potential noise and crime by people coming in and out of the restaurant.

“I think because it is a very small family operation that would be very, very limited, and I think exposure to that would be fairly isolated,” he said.

The public hearing regarding the bylaw was closed without further discussion, following the applicant’s presentation.

Coun. Donna Biggar motioned that council approve first reading of bylaw 2023-30. Following brief discussion of support for the bylaw, the motion was carried unanimously.

Coun. Tom Ikert motioned to approve second reading of the bylaw, which was also passed unanimously.

Coun. Shannon Laprise motioned to grant council permission to hold third and final reading during the same meeting which the first two readings were passed. This motion was passed unanimously without further discussion.

Biggar moved to approve third and final reading of Bylaw 2023-30. No final debate was had, and third reading was passed unanimously.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times