The RM of McKillop Planning and Economic Development Committee met on June 23rd. Present at the meeting was Committee Chair Marilyn Labatte, Reeve Bob Schmidt, Councillor Craig Romanyk, Councillor Garry Dixon, CAO Brandi Morisette, Development Officer Liana Campbell and Administrative Assistant Camille Box.
The CAO presented a draft zoning bylaw amendment to council, which the committee recommended be moved forward to council. Camille Box said the amendment was for trailers and accessory buildings, and there were other items that had yet to be dealt with, such as Seacans.
Review of OCP and Zoning Bylaw
On the agenda were the review of the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw for conflicts, errors and omissions. The committee noted there were numerous issues in the documents. They discussed striking a subcommittee to go through the plan and bylaw to identify the issues. Reeve Schmidt noted development issues would arise the longer council did not address the issues.
Chair Labatte brought it to the committee’s attention that a subcommittee had already been set. However, she recommended the committee take the matter up, using the morning of the next meeting date to address the issues.
The committee decided to meet on July 6th at 9 am. CAO Morisette recommended they meet only as council and staff, and the findings then go to the public committee meeting.
Review of When Trailer Bylaw Permits are Required
Reeve Schmidt noted that last year the RM heard several responses from lot owners that had been identified as requiring a permit for their trailers. He said they have had responses such as - the trailer is taxed - the trailer was being stored - and the trailer was on a special lot at Uhl’s Bay where permits are not required.
Schmidt wanted to know how the RM is handling these responses as he noted he had looked into the taxation issue and said the property owner was not being taxed on the trailer. He also questioned the response that a person was storing their trailer because the bylaw said it was allowed for short-term off-season storage and questioned that offseason would be stored for the winter, to which Councillor Romanyk agreed.
Camille Box said the bylaw officer went out and documented every lot without a dwelling that had a trailer on it. Box said they had received more trailer permits this year than in the previous year. 24 permits in 2020, and this year the RM has 34.
Councillor Romanyk asked what the next steps are as he drives around and looks for the trailer permits, which he isn’t seeing displayed well or at all. Romanyk recommended the bylaw officer put a warning on those trailers.
Box said the Bylaw officer reported 33 trailers, and the RM has 34 permits taken out, with only two that are not in compliance. She noted they do not require permits for trailers on lots with dwellings and that sometimes trailers are brought in for a short period which the RM doesn’t have time to address. She noted there had been a lot of compliance.
Schmidt noted he had seen 15 trailers at Uhl’s Bay and 15 at MacPheat Park. Box noted that Uhl’s Bay has a provision where they can have some of those trailers. Schmidt noted there are eight lots at Uhl’s Bay that are not being taxed and not paying a permit fee, asking, “What are they paying to contribute their fair share to the RM?”
Schmidt suggested the eight lots that have a provision in place be subject to a special services fee for them as they only pay the tax on the land. He suggested they were paying only 100$ when the RM was going after everyone else in the RM.
Romanyk, Dixon and Morisette informed Schmidt it was $525, not $100.
Morisette said after she came to the RM, council passed a resolution to leave the eight lots as they were where the trailers had been granted approval by the former Administrator to be there. She said the RM had not done anything to have those trailers permitted because they were approved.
Schmidt responded that they could have their trailer, but they have to pay something to be there. Morissette responded that they pay $525 in taxes and a $250 garbage fee.
Councillor Dixon noted that one of the lots has two trailers on it, and one should have a permit. Box said that they have a letter from the RM that allows them to do that and that one has a permit which the RM has required. Dixon said the council could discuss that on July 6th and that they need to look at the issue around zoning on July 6th, in particular Uhl’s Bay.
Reeve Schmidt disagreed with the allowance of not requiring the eight lots in Uhl’s Bay not to pay the permit fee.
Development Officer Liana Campbell posed a question to the committee asking that despite the previous agreements, didn’t the new council have the authority to make changes. Which the committee responded they did. Schmidt said that he felt it should be fair and equitable across the RM. CAO Morisette agreed that the eight lots should be subject to taking out a trailer permit, but she said in the RM’s trailer bylaw, it notes “temporary”, not permanent. And that these trailers were allowed to be there permanently, not temporarily.
Schmidt said he agreed with Morisette and suggested council explore other options as they haven’t decided what to do with Belmont, Flavel Beach, and all of the individual lots at campgrounds. Which he said they should all be paying as services are being paid by the RM. Labatte said they would discuss this at the July 6th meeting.
Flavel and Belmont Beach Not on the Agenda
CAO Morissette apologized that she had missed adding the discussion for the assessments for 5 Flavel properties and 23 at Belmont Beach to the agenda and asked council to make a resolution from the committee to add it to the agenda, which they did.
The CAO said they received an email from SAMA about how the RM would assess Flavel and Belmont Beach leasehold properties. She said the other option would be to apply a service fee through a bylaw on the properties.
The CAO recommended they discuss fair taxation of all properties because leaseholds are only being taxed on improvements. She said the email talked about assessing part of a parcel. She said it would mean an assessment would delay the RM’s assessment roll a further 60 days from the date the assessments were mailed.
She said the current assessment closes July 17th, and notices need to be out by August 31st. The delay would push them to mid-September which she didn’t want to do. She recommended that council pass a special service fee this year and then review it for next year. Schmidt said the services cover road maintenance, dust control, cutting of grass and fire service.
Schmidt said they needed a strategy for future service fees for the campgrounds as well. Romanyk asked how the RM could apply $525 through the bylaws directly to the development. Schmidt responded that they would set up a fee structure.
The committee didn’t like the idea of an assessment for this year. Romanyk said the development could just put the fee onto the lease agreement passing the fee onto their tenants.
Councillor Romanyk asked if the RM could look at a service fee for all of the trailers at Rowan’s Ridge, which the Reeve and the CAO said they could. Romanyk said this is the next step and that the RM should be looking at this. Reeve Schmidt agreed, saying rather than raising taxpayers’ taxes, they need to look at other opportunities around them. The committee recommended that the council implement service fees for leasehold properties and campgrounds. The CAO will be writing a bylaw and service fees to bring to the next meeting of council.
Camille Box received training on the Civic Addressing Registry. Box has received the RM’s community profile, noting they are using ISC and aerial photographs to locate all human activity sites. She said the current aerial photographs are ten years old, and there has been a lot of lakeshore development since that time. Box noted the RM’s Hamlets need significant updating, and it will be a big project.
Reeve Schmidt noted the importance of ensuring civic addressing is up to date due to safety issues. He said if the fire department is attending a fire and can’t visually see the fire and can’t find their address would be problematic.
Proposed Agricultural Subdivision
Council discussed an issue around a proposed agricultural subdivision that had to be sent back to the applicant after Community Planning noted issues with the property’s current zoning.
Reeve Bob Schmidt provided history on the matter. He said that every ag parcel in the RM was initially zoned as “AR” – Agricultural Resource District. When the new zoning bylaw and Official Community Plan were put in place, the AR was converted to two zoning districts- making them AR1- a complete quarter section and AR2. Schmidt noted that not every quarter in the RM is a whole quarter section, and because of this, all of the smaller parcels became not compliant.
In the case of the applicant, their parcel is 100 acres in size, and would not be considered an AR1 parcel. Schmidt said that Community Planning recognized this, and the applicant will have to rezone her entire property as AR2 before a subdivision can occur. Schmidt added this determination needs to take place as a first step. CAO Morissette added that it could be difficult because the maps are difficult to decipher due to the way it is colour-coded on the maps. Morissette also said that when the RM approved the bylaw, people who should have been AR2 had the choice to remain AR1 or AR2. Garry Dixon noted that the reason it can be zoned AR1 is that the quarter is cut off naturally by the lake. He added that quarters that are cut off by a highway, rail line, or the lake allowed those properties to remain as AR1.
Dixon, Schmidt and Morisette noted the rezoning to AR2 is a simple process. Morisette said the RM would enter into a servicing agreement with the applicant, and there would be a determination of what cash in lieu of municipal reserve would be required. Schmidt noted that the applicant was upset after seeing the estimated costs by the professional was $6,000. Schmidt said he thought this cost was ridiculous, which was why the council would be talking about hiring a new professional to complete the work. Councillor Dixon didn’t understand why municipal reserve would be required when the parcel would be subdivided into another AG zone. Reeve Schmidt reminded him the parcel had already been subdivided once decades ago.
Review of Current Development Setback Issues
The Reeve said there were two issues around setbacks when two modular homes were installed, one at South Colesdale and one at North Colesdale.
The Reeve said he wanted to bring it up as he wanted to know if there are others with setback issues and how to identify those through Real Property Reports which he said would address all of the issues.
Intermunicipal Agreements Discussion
Chair Labatte asked the committee if they should look at putting agreements in place in case they decide to work with other municipalities in the future. Agreements would be for insurance and equipment usage.
Reeve Schmidt said the Province is pushing for more inter-municipal cooperation. Schmidt said there was discussion around getting together to meet with other RM’s, Towns and Villages, with the RM of 219 calling the initial meeting.
Councillor Dixon brought up issues around development along the lake and other areas across the lake. Councillor Romanyk suggested the RM do some work to deal with their goals.
Reeve Schmidt said there had been a discussion on working together to hire a planning development specialist.
Planning and Development Support
After council suggested the RM look elsewhere for Planning and Development Support, CAO Morisette said she reached out to another individual with an extensive background who provides support for RM’s in the area. Councillor Romanyk said he thought the council should look at working with the individual seriously as it would save the RM a lot of money rather than using Urban Systems.
The committee made a recommendation to council that the RM uses the services of Tim Cheesman.
Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times