Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Northern Sunrise County held a public hearing at its regular council meeting on March 12 to discuss amending the Land-Use Bylaw (LUB) for the creation of a Mixed Density Rural Resident District (MDRR).

“The change was brought on by a resident who has more residential dwellings on their parcel than allowed currently by the LUB so they can become compliant,” says Reeve Corinna Williams.

The applicant is a landowner who had two single detached dwellings and also two tiny homes on their property. As stated in the public hearing, she created the homes to provide affordable rentals for the local work force, stating that many of the homes available for rent in nearby communities are too expensive for some to be able to afford.

“Council recognizes that there is a need for affordable housing, however; they also want to ensure that there are proper checks and balances in place when redistricting applications are brought forward to ensure strong land-use planning processes are followed,” she Williams.

“Council will have the ability to approve the locations where the MDRR is used.”

Before the public hearing, County administration met with its assessor to get answers to the various concerns council had, including how residences would be taxed and assessed. According to the Municipal Government Act Section 297 regulations, there are specific guidelines as to what non-residential and residential properties are. According to their research, the structures would be assessed the same and the difference would be in the tax rate.

The new land-use district MDRR would allow for multiple residential dwellings within lands with lower agricultural rating with council’s approval, and they will review each application on a case-by-case basis.

“As council approves the locations of where the MDRR is used, these conversations would likely be held with the applicant during that process and what conditions need to be set into the development permit application,” says Williams.

“There will be additional infrastructure required as part of the development permit process and will be at the developer’s expense,” she adds.

“A master plan will be required prior to approval, including the roads, lighting and any other infrastructure needed based on the number of residences and location.”

Council gave the bylaw second and third reading.

The approval of a MDRR district does not permit the development of a hamlet on any parcels.