A reversal by Rocky View County (RVC) council during a regular meeting July 9 on a redesignation application east of Cochrane Lake left the area councillor perplexed.
“I was shocked,” Coun. Crystal Kissel said. “I don’t know why they changed their vote. I don’t understand at all.”
The application was considered at a public hearing in the morning, when council voted 7-2 to hold off on a final decision while additional information was provided.
According to senior planner Stefan Kunz, the redesignation facilitates the creation of two approximately 1.98-acre parcels with two equal remainders north of Camden Lane and on the west side of Camden Drive, within the Cochrane North Area Structure Plan (ASP).
As the application proposed the first R1 land use designations in the Camden Drive development, Kunz said, the area would benefit from a conceptual scheme.
“Comprehensive planning would allow for infill of the area in a manner that is sensitive to existing development, and would ensure the newly-created parcels can be effectively and efficiently provided with piped servicing infrastructure,” the report stated.
Kissel requested her colleagues support first reading for the application before tabling it and directing the applicant, Alan Warnock, to prepare a limited-scope concept plan.
“I believe this is an area that is attractive for homes – it’s close to schools, it’s close to all sorts of amenities without being too far out of town, so I believe this is an area that is going to grow and that there is going to be a demand for,” she said. “Today, we’re looking at it as one; I think we need to look at it as a whole.”
Reeve Greg Boehlke agreed.
“I’m going to support that,” he said. “I think that’s a great idea. There is demand, and I think you could have a wholesome concept plan with very little investment.”
First reading was granted unanimously, but Deputy Reeve Al Schule and Coun. Jerry Gautreau opposed tabling the application.
“I don’t understand why we want to delay this,” Schule said. “We’re talking about land use…and I believe it does fit land use, so I would have trouble supporting the tabling of this.”
Regardless, the application was tabled – but according to Kissel, she was approached later in the day by CAO Al Hoggan and Acting Executive Director of Community Development Services Richard Barrs, who highlighted concerns with the original motion. Grant Kaiser, executive director of Community and Business Connections, confirmed administration “believed the initial motion did not provide enough direction, since there was no clarity on what a ‘limited scope conceptual scheme’ would include.”
“I took the recommendation of administration,” Kissel said. “I think that’s really important, when they tell us that we’ve made an error, that we’re OK to just fix it…. And I understood where they came from.”
At the end of the meeting, council reconsidered the application by voting unanimously to rescind Kissel’s initial tabling motion. Kissel subsequently made a more detailed motion to table the application and direct the applicant to prepare a limited scope conceptual scheme addressing lot configuration, transportation networks, stormwater treatment and servicing.
This time, Couns. Mark Kamachi, Kim McKylor and Daniel Henn joined Schule and Gautreau in opposition of the motion. Kamachi said he was in favour of a simple concept scheme that wouldn’t burden the applicant, but “after seeing the ‘more detailed’ requirements…brought forward for this so-called ‘simple’ conceptual scheme, it occurred to me that it wasn’t that simple and, in fact, would most likely cost a lot of money for the resident to produce.”
McKylor said she had intended to express her opposition to the conceptual scheme prior to the initial motion, but was not recognized before the tabling motion was made.
“Once a tabling motion is made, there’s no more discussion, so you vote on the tabling motion,” she said. “I knew the tabling motion would pass, whether I voted for it or against it.”
She added she felt requiring a concept scheme would place a financial burden on the applicant, and therefore voted against the motion once the matter was reopened.
Henn did not respond to a request for comment.
Kissel’s motion failed, and Gautreau proceeded to move second reading, which was carried 7-2 – Kissel and Coun. Samantha Wright voted in opposition. As Kissel, Wright and Coun. Kevin Hanson voted against granting permission for third reading, which must be unanimous, the application will return for further consideration at council’s July 23 meeting.