A proposal to rezone 40 acres of land near Innisfail for 32 homes was shot down by Red Deer County council on Tuesday.
Developer Norman Chiles wanted to build the homes on land he owns on a former trout farm in the Antler Hill area, about three km north of Innisfail.
Several area residents came forward to argue the project was too big for the area and the land was not suitable for large-scale development.
Dave Handford, who farms nearby, said the land is already swampy and would not be able to absorb the water runoff from a subdivision of the proposed size.
Building so many homes close to his working farm would also limit his agricultural options, he said.
Debra Hanna, who is from the Benalto area and ran for county mayor last fall, also raised concerns about the water table, which has risen in recent years.
If any development is approved, it should be required to pipe its sewage to a regional line about two kilometres away, she said.
Others who spoke said the county should not approve any more development for the area without undertaking an area structure plan so all residents know what kinds of development can be expected in the future.
Chiles said there is plenty of water available for the housing development, which would be built on marginal agriculture land. The project would boost property values in the area and give the county’s tax base a boost.
Councillor Penny Archibald agreed with the planning staff recommendation to deny Chiles’s application to rezone and subdivide the land and to reject a proposed area structure plan because it doesn’t conform to the county’s Municipal Development Plan.
“There’s just too many things out there that aren’t right,” said Archibald, who represents the division where the development would have been located.
The motions to deny were unanimous.