Development eyed for agricultural land

Development eyed for agricultural land

Owners of 6.35-hectare property on Highland Park Road look to develop property and have it removed from the ALR

It’s been on Armstrong’s Agricultural Land Reserve exclusion list as a top priority for more than a decade.

And now, owners of a 6.35-hectare property in the 3900 block of Highland Park Road feel the time is right to develop the property and have it removed from the ALR.

Council unanimously agreed to support an application submitted by consultant Brian Monaghan and agrologist Robert Holtby on behalf of the property owners, Mark and Susan Renner and Harold and Kim Krahn to the Agricultural Land Commission to have the property removed from the ALR.

The owners would like to apply for official community plan and zoning amendments if the property is removed to allow a mixture of urban residential zones ranging in density from single/two unit residential to multiple unit (low density).

“We understand there are a number of steps involved,” said Monaghan, appearing as an agent before council for the property owners. “It’s going to be a longer process but we have to start somewhere. We think it’s an appropriate time to get the ball rolling on the application.”

City planner Hazel Christy explained that there is a history with the ALC and priorities of land for exclusion.

The original work was done in 2002 and, in 2002-03, council adopted a land exclusion policy.

“Council at that time identified property priorities for exclusion,” said Christy, adding that the subject property before council was listed as priority three out of eight.

Priorities one and two are properties located southwest of the applicants. Priority one was excluded and is currently under development. Priority two was partially excluded and remains undeveloped.

Holtby said the subject land is arable which has been producing a grain crop for quite some time.

He said the city is dealing with what he calls a “trade-off.”

“The idea is to concentrate the population growth here (city) to the benefit of the surrounding area, Spallumcheen, so as to take the population pressure away from those lands which are more extensive than these lands,” said Holtby.

“You sacrifice this agricultural land but then strengthen the agricultural base outside the city.”

The city has received a few letters in opposition of the application, stating the land is agricultural and should be preserved as such.

One resident believes the subject property could be developed as small acreages.

If exclusion of the property is granted by the ALC, the applicant would then be required to submit an OCP and zoning amendment application with the city to deal with the proposed land use amendment.