Members of the Municipal council during the meeting on December 12 that saw a public hearing for the sale of municipal reserve for the future development of tourist homes. Nicholas L. M. Allen photo.
Nicholas L. M. Allen
Dec 20, 2023
Concerns were raised about the potential noise, impact on property values, and the overall aesthetics of the area. Proponents of the project highlighted its potential economic benefits, including increased tourism and job opportunities.
In a municipal council meeting held on December 12 in the Crowsnest Pass, a public hearing took place on the closure of a municipal reserve and its rezoning, with the bylaw later going through first and second readings.
The public notice for the hearing was advertised November 29 and December 6, 2023, in the Pass Herald, and mailed to adjacent landowners and residents of the Southmore development. Administration highlighted that only one of these options is needed ahead of a public hearing.
During the hearing, a resident voiced opposition to changing the zoning of a piece of land near the road leading to the speed field, citing concerns about the impact on the environment, safety, and potential erosion. Another resident objected to the removal of the municipal reserve designation on Lot 51, emphasizing potential negative effects on the community, such as increased traffic and parking issues.
The meeting also featured statements from various community members expressing both support and opposition to the proposed rezoning. Concerns were raised about the potential noise, impact on property values, and the overall aesthetics of the area. Proponents of the project highlighted its potential economic benefits, including increased tourism and job opportunities.
The developers behind the project presented their vision for the “mini homes,” emphasizing the positive contributions they believe the development could bring to the community. They addressed concerns raised during the hearing and committed to transparency and community engagement.
The council then went on to discuss the bylaw about the closure of a municipal reserve and its rezoning later during the meeting.
CAO Patrick Thomas explained that this rezoning is to support a conditional sale application. Thomas highlighted the need for additional applications for rezoning and development permits. The location in question was described as being along Southmore Drive, next to the utility right away, forming part of the comprehensive ski village district.
Mayor Blair Painter expressed appreciation for the respectful input from attendees and addressed concerns related to rezoning a residential district for commercial operation. He emphasized the uniqueness of the comprehensive ski village district in adhering to separation distances between tourist homes.
“When it comes to a tourist home or vacation rental, we do have separation distances between them all so that they’re not one on top of another... This is the only area that is different. It is allowed there,” said Painter.
Councillor Dean Ward supplied insights into the future steps, outlining the three-step process involving the closure of the reserve, rezoning, and development permits. They assured members of the public that concerns raised, such as parking and drainage, would be addressed during the next phases.
“Those are development permit issues,” explained Ward.
Ward also addressed concerns about the impact on land value, emphasizing that decisions should be based on land use bylaws rather than personal preferences.
The discussion extended to comments from other council members, including concerns about the impact on the community’s quality of life, potential variances, and the overall development plan.
Councillor Vicki Kubik acknowledged the feedback from both sides but expressed a preference for preserving green spaces and suggested exploring alternative areas for similar developments.
“If we put it all under asphalt and brick and mortar then then we lose the value of what really has brought us to this area,” said Kubik, “ What I would hope is that the developer would maybe be able to find another area within our municipal boundaries to be able to proceed with the development such as this.”
Kubik added there is value in supplying a tourist accommodation that is “not your traditional hotel or motel kind of development,” but said she is still opposed to the removal of municipal reserve designation.
“This developer wouldn’t be able to do that in any other part of our community, it’s the only place in our community that he can do this,” responded Councillor Dave Filipuzzi.
He added that if this bylaw is defeated, the developer would not be able to move ahead with this project in any other area.
Finally, a vote was called, and Ward proposed moving to the next stage of the process, starting the second reading. However, Mayor Painter suggested incorporating more information into the motion to provide a more structured approach. The potential for further exploration of a direct control district was also mentioned.
The vote on the motion had Councillors Kubik, Glen Girhiny and Doreen Glavin opposed. The bylaw passed with votes from the mayor and Councillors Ward, Filipuzzi and Lisa Sygutek.
More information on Bylaw 1168, 2023 is available at crowsnestpass.com under ‘meeting packages and minutes’ along with all written submissions from residents for or against the bylaw.