Large house, workshop, sea can application approved by Stettler County MPC

The County of Stettler Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) approved a development permit for a large home, ancillary building and sea can after discussion about the metal storage container’s possible aesthetics. The decision was made at the Oct. 26, 2022 regular MPC meeting.

The MPC is comprised of members of county council and chaired by Coun. James Nibourg.

County planner Rich Fitzgerald presented councillors with a development permit application from James and Vanessa Stuckless for property located at Lot 7 Blk 1 Plan 982 1794 which according to the memo included 7.94 acres of land with the intention of developing a detached dwelling of 2,645 square feet, an oversized 2,520 square foot workshop and a 40 foot sea can.

“The applicant is proposing to construct a 2645 sq. ft. detached dwelling with attached garage, and an oversized ancillary building (2520 sq. ft.) to be used as a workshop and storage.

“The applicant is also proposing to use a 40 foot sea can for additional storage which is a discretionary use in a multi-lot subdivision,” stated Fitzgerald in his memo to the board.

“The ancillary building (oversized) is also a discretionary use in the country residence agricultural district. The proposed development exceeds all the setbacks as set out in the country residence agricultural district in the county land use bylaw (LUB). Water will be provided by an an onsite cistern with water being hauled in. Wastewater will be handled by an onsite septic tank, and leach field, not an open discharge.

“Access is provided via a county road Trestle Court, but there is no existing approach to the property that meets county standard so a condition has been added that this will be a requirement of the permit.

The proposed location of the approach has clear site lines in all directions. The applicant is also proposing to use an RV as a dwelling unit during the construction stage, and only until the dwelling is finished,” stated the report.

During discussion Fitzgerald stated that the applicants have stated they are pondering possibly opening up a greenhouse in the future, but the planner noted that was not included in the current application.

Chair Nibourg asked if there was a chance the oversize workshop could end up being a residence for someone. Nibourg stated the county has seen instances where workshops are built and then people move into them to live there.

Fitzgerald responded the proposed residence included in the application must be valued around $500,000 and thought with that much investment it was unlikely the workshop would be used as a residence. In fact, he noted the residential development permit would have been already approved by staff except for the workshop and sea can parts of the application, which required MPC approval.

Board member Ernie Gendre noted there was no approach yet and asked who would build the new one. Fitzgerald responded that’s a condition of the development permit and is up to the applicants to complete.

Gendre, looking at photos provided by Fitzgerald, stated there didn't appear to be a ditch in the required location. Fitzgerald responded there isn’t a ditch but work will be required to move some topsoil and install gravel to ensure water runs towards the applicants property and away from the road.

Board member Justin Stevens, also looking at the photos, wondered what was located at the far end of the property. Fitzgerald answered there was clay hauled in for an old road project which was then used to build a berm.

The planner stated the berm may have been intended to separate properties and added it’s been there for at least 10 years, has no weeds on it and is mowed regularly by the property owners.

Stevens asked that a condition be added to the development permit that any sea can placed on the property be aesthetically pleasing. Stevens noted he’d prefer any sea can be in “ or reasonable condition.”

Nibourg stated if the house was valued at more than half a million dollars he’d be surprised if anyone involved allowed “...a dirty old sea can” in the yard. Councillors agreed to add the condition anyway.

The MPC unanimously approved the Stuckless’ development permit application.

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