Rural rezoning amendment passes first reading

Red Deer County councillors raised concerns about a proposal to rezone a Pine Lake resort to allow large park model RVs.

Red Deer County councillors raised concerns about a proposal to rezone a Pine Lake resort to allow large park model RVs.

Sandy Cove Beach Resort has made the application to amend county commercial recreation districts to allow the RVs that can be as large as 990 square feet.

County planners said in a report that allowing the resort to rezone could open the doors to other resorts following suit.

“This may allow for developments currently seasonal in nature to become more permanent and therefore have an impact on existing services,” says the report.

Staff recommended not allowing the rezoning because there are other zoning categories more suited to permanent dwellings.

The zoning in place for Sandy Cove and other resorts is meant to provide a “range of tourist-related accommodation options, rather than those of a permanent nature.”

But councillors were confused by the planning staff’s recommendation to proceed with first reading of the bylaw amendment, which will go to a public hearing next month.

Councillor George Gehrke said why not require Sandy Cove to apply for rezoning that already allows the park model RVs, instead of trying to change another district?

“I think it should be zoned to the appropriate use that the applicant wants.”

County Mayor Earl Kinsella said if the applicant wants to apply for rezoning, the county should let them.

“This is the applicant’s decision and he knows the risk.”

Approving first reading only allows the issue to go to a public hearing and does not imply any support from council, said Councillor Reimar Poth.

Councillor Jim Wood said the county has been working on a concept plan for the past three years. Amending zoning now might be seen as jumping ahead of that planning process.

Despite the concerns, council voted unanimously to approve first reading.

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