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Red Deer County planning commission nixes event venue applications

Planning commission concerned about over-intensification of proposed venue sites

A pair of wedding and event venue proposals were turned down by Red Deer County’s municipal planning commission on Tuesday.

David and Jessica Barr had applied for a development permit for a wedding and event venue on a property on Highway 11A about five km west of Sylvan Lake. The couple hoped to host 10 to 12 weekend weddings and about the same number of weekday events with up to 100 guests throughout the year.

After the planning commission raised some concerns when the application first came before it last month, the couple had been working with county planners and the safety codes department to address issues, such as noise, facilities and traffic.

They planned to build a small barn with washrooms to accommodate guests, have noise restrictions in place and require those renting the venue to supply a shuttle service or designated drivers to reduce traffic and the potential for impaired driving.

However, some planning commission members felt allowing the business would be an “over-intensification” for the area because there is another wedding venue on the same quarter section.

“I’m concerned about the over-intensification,” said Coun. Christine Moore, adding it likely would not be an issue in an urban setting. “But we’re not the city.”

Mayor Jim Wood said the proponents had taken steps to address potential concerns and the business should be given a chance.

The planning commission permit would be a temporary five-year permit and issues could be addressed if they arose, he said.

“If it doesn’t work out we have the ability to revoke it later,” he said.

Wood and councillors Philip Massier and Lonny Kennett supported the application with Moore and councillors Dana Depalme, Brent Ramsay and Connie Huelsman voting to deny.

The planning commission unanimously nixed another wedding and event venue application on a site near Highway 805 on the southern edge of the county, about 30 km east of Bowden.

Boombox Farms was seeking a development permit to hold weddings, concerts, birthday parties, fundraisers and other events on a 2.8-acre site.

Events at the site had led to several noise complaints in the past and six letters of concern were sent to the county, citing trespassing, noise, safety and traffic concerns.

Kneehill County, whose northern border is near the site, also said it received noise complaints, including one resident who lived about 15 km away and claimed they could hear thumping base from the venue. Noise levels would need to be addressed for future events, the county said.

County planners recommended the application be denied because of potential noise issues and over-intensification of a site. A commercial district would be a more appropriate location, they said.

The county met with Boombox Farms owner Daziree Bertin to discuss concerns. Only six events, including potentially two concerts, were planned each year and a noise impact assessment will be done, the planning commission was told.

Coun. Philip Massier said Bertin has been working with the county and while he could not vote in favour of a development permit now “I have optimism you’re going to make it work in the future.”

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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