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Renewable energy project amendments OK’d

First readings came at earlier council meeting
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MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Council has approved amendments to the land use bylaw (LUB) and the municipal development plan (MDP) as they relate to renewable energy development on agricultural lands.

The changes came by way of motion following a public hearing held in council chambers on Sept. 14

The amendments were made to protect agricultural lands such as higher class soils and environmentally significant areas, and direct renewable energy development to lower class soils, economic nodes and growth centres, said reeve Angela Aalbers.

The LUB definition of ‘alternative/renewable energy, individual' means a use that produces energy that is generated from an alternative or renewable source and that is generally derived form natural and/or non-traditional sources such as solar, water, wind and waste. That energy is primarily utilized and consumed onsite.

The changes to the MDP add policies that rely on existing policy criteria and mapping already established to direct renewable energy development to areas of lower-class soils and not environmentally significant areas.

Renewable energy projects may be acceptable within established economic nodes and growth centres.

The updated MDP specifically states that, “Economic nodes where proposals should not negatively impact the future development of business parks for commercial and industrial uses or growth nodes where proposals shall not negatively impact the existing or future development of residential, commercial and industrial development in accordance with area structure plans.”

The updated land use bylaw states, in part, that, “To preserve agriculture lands the county shall not support commercial alternative/renewable energy development with the agricultural preservation area that consists of Canadian Land Inventory Class 1, 2 and 3 soils, and agricultural regions of Alberta soil inventory database and environmentally significant area.”

The land use bylaw regulation amendments require provincial approvals at the time of development permit application.

Coun. Gord Krebs did not attend the Sept. 14 public hearing and council meeting.