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Olds rezoning paves way for proposed new manufactured home park

Olds Regional Exhibition currently owns piece of land where developer plans to fill "gap" in housing stock

OLDS — Town council has approved a land use amendment bylaw that allows prefabricated, factory-built homes to be located on a 20.25-acre piece of land south of Olds Regional Exhibition.

Council made the decision during its March 25 meeting after no dissenting voices to the proposal were heard during a public hearing on the proposal. About 15 people were in the council chambers gallery at the time.

The amended bylaw changed zoning of the land at 5200 - 58th Street from urban reserve (UR) to manufactured home district (R4).

Development officer Kyle Sloan noted first reading of the bylaw was passed during council’s Feb. 26 meeting.

He told council that during a 30-day period afterward, the town only received two letters regarding the proposal and both were in favour.

During the public hearing, three people spoke in favour of the move.

The first was Olds Regional Exhibition president James Carpenter. The organization currently owns the land the proposal is slated for.

“I think that what we would say in Olds Regional Exhibition on behalf of the board is that we’re fully in favour of this development,” Carpenter said.

“We believe the need for transition housing in this community is great. R4 zoning is going to support that.

“And we also believe that the developers that are in this community right now have done a stellar job of building our community’s housing.

“But there is a bit of a gap and we believe this development will address that gap and will also support the needs that have been identified in our community around housing to support jobs and the economy and trades that are happening in our community.”

Carpenter said the proposed project will also provide an infusion of cash for Olds Regional Exhibition “and puts us in a very strong financial position on a piece of land that we have not been using.”

He urged town council and the community to back the project.

A spokesperson for a couple of area property owners also came forward voicing support for the proposal. However, she did ask a few questions about it.

She asked if the primary access will be along 53rd Avenue so they can make plans on their land accordingly.

She also asked what the plans are for fencing in the area, as they have horses and she’s concerned about safety.

In addition, she also called for some sort of screening along the property to maintain some privacy; a hedge or row of trees perhaps.

Lastly, she said water currently tends to run off the railway tracks by their property and in a ditch to the west.

She said if that ditch is altered, water would run along the tracks and flood their land.

Brent Williams, the towns’ chief administrative officer, noted the March 25 hearing was just in regard to the rezoning application.

However, he said in general, the town is aware of those concerns and they can be dealt with as the development progresses.

Blair Robertson, representing the developer, B.C.-based Totangi Properties, told council he was spurred to instigate the proposal when his son begin going to the Olds College of Agriculture & Technology.

“I was really impressed with the community; great staff to work with and then through Olds Regional Exhibition we came to an agreement,” Robertson said, adding his team is “really excited” to begin working on the next stages of the project.

Mayor Judy Dahl offered the opportunity for anyone in the gallery opposing the rezoning application to come forward and speak.

None did.

No councillors had any questions, and Sloan had no further comments so Dahl closed the public hearing.  

Council then voted to pass amending bylaw making the zoning change official.

“Once again, thank you all for attending our public hearing today and I’m sure we’ll have further conversations in the future,” Dahl said.

Doug Collie

About the Author: Doug Collie

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