Red Deer County council approved nine new cottages in Whispering Pines even though they don’t meet area structure plan regulations.
Residents who had put down deposits and spent money on agricultural drawings on the proposed cottages had been concerned that the county would hold up their permits while they reviewed planning documents for the quickly growing residential area around Pine Lake.
County staff had recommended council deny the applications. However, county development manager Debbie Bonnett also acknowledged that about 25 permits had already been issued for other cottages in the same area.
“These permits have been issued in error,” said Bonnett. Inconsistency arose because cottages met land use bylaw regulations but not the area structure plan.
County Mayor Earl Kinsella said it would be in the best interests of everybody if the nine applications were approved, but added no future applications should be considered until the planning documents have been changed to reflect what is going on in the new subdivision.
It is up to the developer to apply to amend the area structure plan, he added.
Councillor David Hoar said the proposed developments don’t bother him, but he is concerned that they run afoul of planning documents.
He was also wanted to know if there were other applications “in our system” that could be affected if a halt was put on approvals temporarily.
Bonnett said the nine applications before council were the only ones the county had for now, “but there will be more coming” because the neighbourhood is still in early stages of development.
Councillor Jim Wood also wanted to see the developments given the green light, but said the area structure plan must be changed.
Wood said after touring the area recently, he believes it will become an attractive development.
“My opinion has actually changed somewhat.”