Kneehill County approves road allowance sale after 18 month wait

Kneehill County council approved the sale of an undeveloped road allowance after the applicant waited 18 months for Government of Alberta approval. The decision was made at the May 14 regular meeting of council.

Councillors heard an update on road closure bylaw 1870 which accommodates the closure and sale of an undeveloped road allowance adjacent west of 25-33-25 W4 provided by Deanna Keiver, planning and development officer.

Keiver began her presentation by reminding this application to close, purchase and consolidate the undeveloped road allowance came to Kneehill County from an adjacent landowner a year and a half ago.

“Lazy H Hastie Ranch Ltd., has approached the county in their desire to purchase the undeveloped road allowance on the west side of the west half of 25-33-25 W4,” stated the agenda memo.

“By closing the undeveloped road allowance and ultimately purchasing the land, it would allow the landowner access to his land.

“The undeveloped road allowance will never be developed into a road as RR# 25-1 was diverted around Three Hills Creek. This portion of road is known as the Hastie north project and was recently resurfaced in 2021.

“This road has a 100-foot right of way. Closure of the proposed undeveloped road allowance will not interfere with legal access to any other parcels.”

Keiver stated in her report that Kneehill County passed first reading of the closure bylaw Nov. 15, 2022 which was followed by an uneventful public hearing; the Minister of Transportation approved the closure about 18 months later on March 18, 2024.

Keiver further noted that after the road allowance closure received ministerial approval Kneehill County contacted the applicant to discuss price.

An assessor valued the two parcels at a total price of $15,500 and the applicant accepted that. Keiver noted they had the option to use their own assessor if they wished.

Coun. Debbie Penner asked why the ministerial blessing took so long. The development officer responded an application to close an undeveloped road allowance typically takes a year, and this one likely took longer because the creek runs through that area.

Coun. Jerry Wittstock, noting the 18 month wait, stated it was beneficial that the Government of Alberta passed several laws to reduce red tape and bureaucracy otherwise the applicant in this case may have had to wait even longer; Wittstock received a number of laughs and chuckles for his observation.

Coun. Carrie Fobes asked why an application of this sort requires a $1,000 fee. Keiver responded such a fee covers costs associated with the application, and since an undeveloped road allowance closure and sale requires expenses such as a public hearing, mail-outs and land title transfer, the $1,000 fee is charged.

Councillors unanimously passed a resolution to accept the $15,500 purchase price, then unanimously passed both second and third reading of the bylaw.

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review