A public hearing item that would have brought a residential development west of Bragg Creek was unanimously refused by Rocky View County (RVC) council on March 23.
“Administration did point out a lot of unchecked boxes with regards to the applicant,” said Bragg Creek area councillor Mark Kamachi. “Residents spoke out, lack of assessments and technological studies, everything sort of was a domino effect. For me, at the end of the day, it comes down to the safety of our residents.”
Had the Fawn Hills application been approved, the developer would have built 22 residential parcels varying in size from 1.98 to 2.55 acres, two public utility lots, 11.94 acres of future development area, one municipal reserve lot and space for 8.15 acres of road construction.
Administration recommended refusal due to a decent portion of land containing slopes of more than 15 per cent that were not addressed in the proposed Area Structure Plan. Staff also cited the lack of a biophysical assessment, environmental assessment, wastewater plans and wildfire assessment, among a number of other issues with the application.
“Based on administration’s evaluation of the proposal – which finds both policy and technical deficiencies – it is recommended council refuse both the redesignation and conceptual scheme,” said Oksana Newman, with RVC’s planning and development services.
The application, according to administration, was circulated to 71 adjacent landowners and received 54 responses in opposition. The application also generated a letter of concern from the Fawn Hills North Water Association (FHNWA).
Additionally, nine letters in support were received.
FHNWA’s letter stated its board takes the health and wellbeing of the 13 member households currently in the area seriously.
“Many of our member households are families with children who can be more vulnerable to waterborne illness,” wrote Doug Brennan, FHNWA president. “We are concerned about the adjacent development, its plans for water delivery and fire suppression and, particularly, its high density.”
Brennan’s letter also said the association is concerned that a greater concentration of septic systems in the area – particularly with the high-density development proposed – would have a reasonably foreseeable impact on water quality and human health.
“If there is even a slight risk of contamination, we would ask that the developer pay to upgrade the water treatment facilities to the highest standard of all neighbouring wells (both private and communal), including pumphouse UV systems,” he wrote. “There would also have to be provision for the ongoing maintenance that these more complex systems require.”
Another public submission received by West Bragg Creek resident Karen Marsh outlined a number of concerns and reasons for council to refuse the Fawn Hills application. She cited potential damage to wildlife conservation and environmental wetlands, a strain on natural resources and the damage that heavy construction would have on local roads.
“Our neighbourhood is beautiful, but much of it has been touched and tampered with by humans,” she said. “Once the land has gone, it can never be returned to how it was. There is potential for habitat loss, cutting of trees, water contamination and increased noise/traffic and infrastructure damage.”
Marsh wrote if residents want to continue to enjoy the natural area west of Bragg Creek, it is important to stand their ground and oppose developments.
“We have to do our best to conserve and protect our beautiful habitat,” she said. “We don't own it, but I feel we need to protect it as custodians, for the wildlife and environment's sake."