“It is easier for a man to be loyal to his club than to his planet,” wrote American author E.B. White. “The bylaws are shorter, and he is personally acquainted with the other members.”
While the length of municipal bylaws probably falls somewhere between international law and policies for a local club, they lay the foundation for how life operates in any given town, city or hamlet.
To that end, administration and council for Crowsnest Pass have been busy reviewing and amending bylaws dealing with a variety of topics, many of which were voted on during the March 9 regular council meeting.
Let bylaws be bygone
Over the last few months, administration has been reviewing existing municipal bylaws. Individual bylaws were previously passed to deal with a particular issue, such as Bylaw 73-1980, which deals with electors, or Bylaw 474-1998, which establishes rules for voting stations during elections.
With these topics now covered under provincial laws like the Local Authorities Election Act, administration recommended council approve a general repeal bylaw to remove irrelevant bylaws from the municipality’s books.
Seven bylaws were identified, including multiple area-structure plans for developments that no longer exist and a curfew bylaw council felt was no longer necessary to enforce.
No public input was offered during the bylaw’s public hearing, allowing council to quickly pass second and third readings. Although this took only a few minutes, Coun. Doreen Glavin recognized the motions represented a significant amount of time and effort from administrative staff.
“This was quite a task for administration. Job well done,” she said.
Laws of the land
Several land-designation bylaws were amended to accommodate previous and proposed developments.
The first, Bylaw 1061-2021, redesignates two lots in Bellevue from multiple residential to duplex residential. The change comes after administration received a compliance certificate request for the property and discovered the permits issued for the newly built house and garage did not match the original land designation.
Redesignating the lots fixes the administrative error and encourages future development or sales of the parcel for the property owner. The property owner will also not be held responsible for the cost of redesignation.
Another land redesignation, Bylaw 1069-202, proposes to change portions of land at SE-2-8-4-W5. First reading was passed by council to change the zonings to non-urban commercial recreation from non-urban area and recreation and open space, respectively.
Redesignation is also being requested for a non-urban area at Lot 1, Block 1, Plan 0213871.
The zoning change is requested as part of the property owner’s plan to develop an accommodation resort. If approved, phased development would begin this spring to create 12 units for an RV campground, one cottage/cabin site and two duplex sites for golf course vacation rentals.
The development, said Coun. Dean Ward, is a good thing for council to support. “This is pretty exciting stuff for us here,” he said.
Future development at the site may include apartments, tiny homes, and more campground sites, duplexes and cabins. A public hearing for the proposed zoning change will be held March 30.
Finally, first reading was passed for two bylaws dealing with the closure of Aurora Estates subdivision. The bylaws are necessary to allow the landowner and developer to redesign the subdivision to reduce lot sizes, increase density and include a greater variety of home styles, all of which coincide with the newly accepted municipal development plan.
Bylaw 1070-2021 regulates the closure of all the roads in the subdivision. Once council holds a public hearing and addresses any objections it might receive, adjacent landowners and utility providers will be notified.
A road closure package will then be submitted to the minister of transportation for approval before council can vote on second and third readings. The process is expected to take several months.
Bylaw 1071-2021 simply closes the municipal financial reserve for Aurora Estates and removes the municipal reserve designation from the property. The municipal reserve designation ensures land developers dedicate portions of the subdivision to roads, utilities, parks and other recreation areas.
After a public hearing is held and second and third readings pass, the bylaw will be submitted to the registrar of land titles to request the designation be removed. The land may then be sold, though the proceeds must be accounted for separately and used only to acquire or improve land for public use or as a buffer between lands designated for different purposes.
The total area of land designated as municipal reserve in Aurora Estates is 2,297.08 square metres, valued at $116,100. The developer has indicated that 900 square metres will be dedicated to municipal reserve in the new subdivision, which is worth $45,486. As a result, $70,614 will be owed to the municipality once the redesignation occurs.
The public hearing for the Aurora Estates closure is set for March 30.
Atco Gas franchise agreement
First reading of Bylaw 1068-2021 was passed, maintaining the franchise agreement between the municipality and Atco Gas at 25 per cent for the next 10 years.
Companies pay franchise fees to the municipality for the right to provide service within its boundaries, as well as for the right to access municipal land for construction and maintenance of their assets. Companies pass the cost on to their customers, making the franchise fee a sort of indirect municipal tax.
Setting the franchise fee at 25 per cent will not increase the residential fees charged by Atco.
The bylaw also sets the major work clause at $100,000. Any maintenance or repairs Atco wishes to perform that exceed $100,000 must first be approved by the municipality.
The next scheduled regular council meeting will be held Tuesday, March 30, at 7 p.m. at the MDM Community Centre in Bellevue.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze