MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - The county's subdivision and development appeal board has overturned an earlier approval of a development permit for a communications tower proposed to be erected just outside Carstairs.
The board found, among other things, that the proposed development “will likely unduly impact the applicant’s lands and materially interfere with the use, enjoyment and/or value of neighbouring parcels of land.”
In December, the county’s municipal planning commission (MPC) approving authority approved a development permit for the communications tower to be set on a 129-acre parcel south of Highway 581 on the east side of Range Road 13.
The 91.5-metre tower was proposed to be located on the westerly side of the parcel near the middle of the quarter.
The tower would replace an existing tower located in the SE 9-30-1-5 within the town of Carstairs boundaries as the agreement for the tower has expired.
The board held the appeal hearing April 4, with members hearing from the appellant, Eastgate Development Group, and the applicant, Rogers Communications Inc. c/o Evolve Surface Strategies Inc.
During the April 4 subdivision and development appeal board hearing, Chris Berry, managing director with Eastgate Development, told members that the tower would negatively impact the residents of the company’s new nearby residential development.
“The proposed tower would be located right across the road and directly east of our development (located at NE 9-30-1-5 and called Kitstone Commons),” said Berry. “The proposed tower would have significant impacts on our development.”
During the hearing, the applicant said the tower was needed at its approved location to meet future customer coverage requirements.
In its decision released last week, the subdivision and development appeal board overturned the earlier MPC development permit approval.
The board cited nine reasons for its decision, including the following (quoted from decision):
• The board determined that the correspondence received from the Town of Carstairs, although not raising an objection to the proposed development, did request for the communication tower to be located to the furthest east section of the NW 10-30-1 W5, thereby identifying that the western section of the NW 10-30-1 W5 is likely an inappropriate location for the proposed development.
• Although the board accepts the submissions from the applicant and respondent as to the necessity to avoid the existing aerodrome in the area, insufficient evidence was presented to the board to exemplify that there was no other suitable area on the lands for the proposed development.
• It is the board’s position that the proposed development is in contravention of Mountain View County Bylaw 01/21 as it will impact the visual appearance of the lands located directly adjacent to Highway 581 and the applicant did not determine any mitigative measures to comply with that requirement.
• The board determined that although the appellant was only able to provide limited reasons as to how the proposed development would impact their lands and future plans for Kitstone Commons, the height and lighting of the communication tower are satisfactory in the board’s opinion to declare that the proposed development will likely unduly impact the applicant’s lands and materially interfere with the use, enjoyment and/or value of neighbouring parcels of land.
• The board did not receive commentary from the applicant as to why the proposed development was a suitable discretionary use for the lands, nor did the applicant outline measures that would be implemented to mitigate the concerns raised by the appellant relative to the impact the proposed development would have on Kitstone Commons.
• The board determined that the proposed development does not comply with Mountain View County Bylaw 20/20 Section 3.3.9 which requires non-agricultural uses to be directed to areas that minimize the impact on agricultural operations. It is the board’s position that there are more suitable areas on the lands that would impact current or future Agricultural operations less than the proposed placement.
• The board determined that although it has the discretion to allow for uses that may pose an impact to adjacent lands, it would be inappropriate to exercise that discretion in this instance where the board did not receive evidence from the applicant as to why the lands, and the placement of the proposed development on the lands, were essential for the operation of the proposed development. Therefore, the board determined that there are likely alternative locations for the proposed development that would have a lesser impact on surrounding landowners.
The applicant could appeal the subdivision and development appeal board decision to the Alberta Court of Appeal.