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County approves updated plan with Sundre

Promotion of inter-muncipal program development for economic development a key goal

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has approved an updated intermunicipal development plan (IDP) with the Town of Sundre. 

The move came by way of motion following a joint public hearing hosted by the municipalities on May 26. 

The IDP is a long-term planning document that outlines and maps out updated fringe, referral and urban referral areas on the town-county boundary.

The Town of Sundre was scheduled to consider second and third reading of the plan on May 31.

Sundre mayor Terry Leslie calls the updated plan “a good document” that he expects will pass second and third reading.

“Our two planning staffs, from Mountain View County and the Town of Sundre, have been working for months on this,” said Leslie. “The map hasn’t changed and the language has been improved and brought up to date to be better interpreted.

“It seems that it is clear and it is pretty easy to say it is going to serve the purpose for planning in the future. My expectation is that is should probably pass.”

Mountain View County Reeve Bruce Beattie said the updated plan is good for both town and county residents.

“It takes time to get these things done, but it’s worthwhile,” said Beattie.

Both municipalities had agreed to update the existing 2009 IDP, prompting the 45-minute public hearing as mandated by the Municipal Government Act.

The plan defines fringe areas as priority areas for future annexations by the town, referral areas as future long-term growth areas for the eventual growth of the town while still permitting compatible development to occur, and urban referral areas as lands that are intended to identify those areas where the county has an interest in protecting the adjacent land uses.

The updated IDP includes a number of key changes from the 2009 plan:

• Where IDP fringe, referral and urban referral areas are already located within existing area structure plans (ASPs), specific IDP policies identify that the applicable ASP policies will guide the evaluation of applications for future redesignation, subdivision and development.

• Fringe area not located within existing ASPs have limited redesignation and subdivision potential to a maximum of two titles per quarter section for agriculture or residential use.

• Referral area not located within existing ASPs have redesignation and subdivision potential to a maximum of four titles per quarter section and shall comply with the county’s MDP policies for agriculture, residential, commercial, industrial, recreational or direct control district purposes.

• More direction has been added to assist in the evaluation of future annexations.

• The map of the IDP includes the same geographical areas as the 2009 IDP map. However, the map has been updated to show the existing town boundary and an additional map layer identifies the IDP lands that are already included in existing ASPs.

• The Intermunicipal Planning Commission and the Intermunicipal Subdivision and Development Appeal Board have been eliminated in favour of referral of applications.

• Specific long-term land uses are not assigned in the IDP mapping, but addressed in the policies.

• Any requests for water and wastewater services from the county shall be considered and administered through separate agreement.

During the public hearing, there were no questions from Sundre residents and only a few from county residents, all seeking clarifications. No changes to the mapping resulted from the public hearing.

“We were going to make some changes to the area structure plan when we started considering it (the updated IDP) but there are landowners there who have made plans based on that area structure plan,” said Beattie. 

“We didn’t want to make changes that would negatively impact them so we accommodated that by leaving the area structure plan in place.”

Margaretha Bloem, the county's director of planning, spoke during the public hearing, saying key goals of the updated IDP include promoting the development of inter-municipal programs for economic development that will benefit the greater region and both municipalities, and coordinate the development of transportation systems and protection of required lands for future road and trail network development.

It will also protect physical features and environmentally sensitive areas, and provide effective referral and communication mechanisms for planning applications and disputes, she said.

The complete IDP can be viewed on the county’s website.

Dan Singleton

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