Village of Alix residents ask for village’s help with encroaching garage

·3 min read

A pair of property owners in the Village of Alix have a few issues with selling their property and they’re hoping the municipality can help them out. The pair made a presentation at the Sept. 7 regular meeting of council.

Larry Garrett and Kari Latendre spoke directly to council to ask for help with their property located at 5303 47th Street in Alix. Garrett told councillors the pair is trying to sell their house but there is a problem: there’s an encroachment on village property.

Garrett also noted the house is closer to the property line than it’s supposed to be.

Garrett stated they’ve had interest in the property from buyers, but no one wants to buy a property with the encroachment issue.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White stated the garage appears to be sitting on an undeveloped road right-of-way that’s listed as 45th street on village maps.

White presented a real property report to councillors illustrating the issue.

The CAO stated the setback issue on the house may have been caused by the lot’s unusual shape and possibly at the time it was allowed.

However, White noted the house’s rear yard setback doesn’t meet the Village of Alix’ current land-use bylaw. White stated she looked through the village’s files and found the land file in question from 1977 and there was nothing in the file stating the rear yard setback was allowed a variance.

Latendre stated that 45 years ago the Village of Alix staff approved the foundation placement for the house. Garrett added that he was told that when the garage was placed about 40 years ago the Village of Alix had stakes in the ground and there was no problem.

Latendre noted Alix already has two streets there and the undeveloped right-of-way would be a third.

Coun. Barb Gilliat noted she went over to see the location in person on Sept. 7.

Latendre stated that Garrett's father moved the house in from Lacombe and back then the right-of-way was called an alley, not a road.

“They didn’t have real property reports back in 1977,” said Latendre.

White stated the undeveloped road allowance could be important in the future as property next to 45th Street is earmarked for future growth.

Coun. Ed Cole noted the garage was placed five years after the house and wanted to know what the garage’s development permit said.

The CAO stated there is no development permit on file for that garage.

The CAO further stated she contacted Parkland Community Planning Services (PCPS), professional development consultants, and asked their opinion.

PCPS suggested a license to occupy which would allow the garage to encroach until the road allowance is developed.

Latendre responded that wasn’t a useful suggestion when trying to sell a house. At this point Garrett referred to the village’s comments as, “...I dotting and T crossing.”

Coun. Tim Besuijen stated if the road allowance is closed and sold, it’s closed forever which he balked at because, if the eastern lands are developed in the future, it would be nice to have two entrances to them. He wondered if there were any other options available.

White stated she could contact PCPS again and do more investigation before councillors make a decision.

Mayor Rob Fehr stated he wanted to explore all possible options and told the property owners he understood where they were coming from.

Coun. Janice Besuijen stated she would like more information and added she didn’t want to make a decision that hamstrings a future council.

Fehr added the village was making no guarantees to Garrett and Latendre but wanted to ensure every option was presented before a decision was made.

The CAO stated she would plan to have an update for the next regular council meeting.

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