MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - After five years of work, including countless volunteer hours and large-scale community involvement, the updated Eagle Valley area structure plan (ASP) has been approved by Mountain View County council.
The move came during the Sept. 29 council meeting. ASPs are used to provide guidance for council when making decisions on development proposals for specific parcels of land in the plan area.
Coun. Peggy Johnson, whose Division 6 includes the plan area, calls the approval of the updated plan a remarkable achievement.
“It’s been a tremendous journey,” Johnson told The Albertan. “Certainly the huge community support is a highlight. The community went all out and I know that in the introductory portion (of the plan) it talks about the community being tight-knit. I think that’s a very accurate description.
“I’m delighted that the community was able to have the document completed after all this tremendous amount of work.”
The plan’s provisions regarding the protection and promotion of agriculture are among the document’s highlights, she said.
A stated key plan goal is to “ensure that agriculture remains as the dominant land use in the plan area and that alternative land uses may be considered if they are compatible and supportive of the agriculture community.”
The Eagle Valley ASP area is located in the northwest portion of Mountain View County northeast of the Town of Sundre, and includes portions of 76 quarter sections east of the Red Deer River.
The total area of the plan is 10,805 acres, bounded on the north by the river and on the south by Twp. Rd. 334, and on the western side by the river and on the eastern side by Rge. Rd. 43.
Purposes of the updated plan include “reducing land use conflicts by ensuring new development is compatible with existing development and the environment, support and protect existing agricultural operations and the right to farm as stated in the county’s land use bylaw.”
As well, it is to “protect limited groundwater resources and ensure sufficient potable water and safe wastewater disposal for all existing and future land uses, prioritize land conservation measures by allowing limited residential development, and provide landowners within the plan area and potential developers with information on the amount and type of development that may be permitted in the plan area.”
Key updates in the new plan include the following:
• Three policy areas have been identified with the plan area: low density area; environmental area overlay; and the Red Deer River corridor area.
• The plan may only support ‘first parcel out’ subdivisions with maximum of two titles per quarter section subject to redesignation/subdivision approval as an agricultural parcel or small residential parcel (two-three acres). However proposed subdivisions within the Red Deer corridor area are strongly discouraged.
• Additional policies surrounding roads, utilities, water and wastewater, and stormwater.
The plan was updated under the direction of a steering committee chaired by county resident Jim Smith. The committee’s work included several open houses and public surveys, with members working with county councillors, county staff and others on the project.
The complete plan is available for viewing on the county’s website.