Kneehill County grants second extension for undeveloped subdivision

Kneehill County councillors approved the second consecutive one year extension for an undeveloped subdivision, but heard a staff recommendation this be the last extension. The decision was made at the Oct. 25 regular meeting of council.

Councillors heard a report from planner Brandy Hay-Morgan who stated the owner of subdivision KNE200148 had requested a one year extension to the deadline to complete subdivision requirements, which would be, if approved, the second consecutive extension the county has granted for this application.

“KNE200148 is a subdivision from 2020 relating to a portion of the NW 8-33-23 W4M,” stated Hay-Morgan in her memo to council.

“Landowners are given a year from the date of approval in which to meet the conditions of approval. If the conditions are met, the subdivision approving authority is required to endorse the subdivision to allow registration at land titles.

“The first extension for this file was granted by council until Oct. 24, 2022. The landowner is applying for a second extension, to allow for the response from Alberta Environment regarding the dugout for watering.

“There are multiple factors involved with this specific subdivision. A different engineering firm was employed to take over the file. Additional environmental studies have been done to ensure the land can be used for the proposed use in the future.

“The applicant is also changing the current septic system in place to allow for more land to be subdivided out in the process.

“Due to the length of time required for a response from Alberta Environment and the changes in provincial government and the current season, an extension for this subdivision file is required for the applicant to finalize the conditions set out in the approval on Oct. 22, 2020.

“A typical extension is granted for one year, in this case the extension would be granted for another year until Oct. 23, 2023 (First extension expired Oct. 22, 2022; second extension is asking for Mon. Oct. 23, 2023, as the 22nd of October 2023 falls on a Sunday).

“This would be the final extension allowed. If at the date of the second extension, KNE200148 is not finalized, a new subdivision application will be required and process to start from the beginning,” added Hay-Morgan’s memo.

The planner noted the Municipal Government Act (MGA) gives councillors the authority to grant as many one year extensions as they wish.

Coun. Ken King stated he understood the subdivision would be a benefit to the community so he moved that the request be granted.

Coun. Faye McGhee asked why the county only grants one year extensions, and not two years.

Hay-Morgan stated the MGA uses the term one year to complete all subdivision conditions, “...and typically most people do.”

Hay-Morgan added that it’s uncommon for the county to receive a request for a subdivision extension but it does happen and when it does it’s usually related to approvals from other levels of government.

“We’re just following the MGA,” said Hay-Morgan.

McGhee asked if councillors could grant two years, to which Hay-Morgan responded she wasn’t sure, but mentioned again that councillors can grant as many one year extensions as they like.

Coun. King chipped in that he felt one year extensions were best for two reasons, including that it’s easier for the county to keep track of what’s going on with the application, and secondly that having the shorter deadline might be useful in lighting a fire under other levels of government.

“I think one year is good in this case,” said King.

Councillors unanimously approved the request to grant a one year extension for the subdivision.

“Hopefully a year from now we’re not doing this one again,” said Reeve Jerry Wittstock.

Secret ballot for reeve

Before the regular council meeting Oct. 25 Kneehill County held their annual organizational meeting, where a secret ballot was held for the position of reeve.

Two councillors were nominated for reeve, incumbent Wittstock and challenger McGhee.

A secret ballot was conducted and the ballots were tabulated by Chief Administrative Officer Mike Haugen who declared Wittstock as the reeve.

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