Red Deer County’s municipal planning commission has rejected an application to build a 120-site RV storage yard just north of Penhold.
Mark McNaughton, father of applicant Dan McNaughton, said an offer had been made to buy the property that was conditional on storage for RVs, boats, trailers and ATVs being approved for the 20-acre site off Range Road 275 about two km north of Highway 42. A second phase would potentially boost the number of sites to 400.
The county had received five letters of concern, including letters from the owner of a similar business just south of the proposed RV storage site. Among the issues raised were increased traffic on Township Road 275, dust control, potential for increased crime and traffic safety.
An application for a 400-site RV storage site by a different proponent was denied by the municipal planning commission in 2019 on the grounds the scale of the proposed use did not adhere to the county’s Municipal Development Plan. Concerns were also raised at that time about traffic sightlines.
Among the conditions that would be required for the new proposal was a traffic impact assessment that would determine if upgrades would be required for roads or intersections nearby.
Mark McNaughton told the planning commission if road upgrades were required the project would not be financially viable.
Coun. Dana Depalme said she was reluctant to approve the application if road upgrades were not feasible for the applicant.
“I don’t want to set someone up to fail,” said Depalme.
She moved a motion to deny, “basically for the same reasons as the first time,” referring to the 2019 application.
Mayor Jim Wood supported approving the 120-site application. It could then be assessed. If the proponents wanted to expand that would come back to the planning commission for approval.
“Today, we’re voting on 120 (sites) and we need to be very aware of that. I don’t want to stop development in the county.”
The application was denied unanimously.
The planning commission also turned down a request from a Springbrook resident who wanted permission to construct a 576-square-foot garage over a utility right of way.
A cement pad had already been poured for the garage. County planning staff told the planning commission that a development permit was not required for a concrete pad, however, residents are responsible for ensuring it is not located on a utility right-of-way.
Planning staff had recommended against the request to encroach on the right-of-way for a main sewer line that serves a number of homes nearby. The concern is if extensive repairs or replacement of the underground utility was required the garage may have to be removed.
The applicant was willing to enter into an indemnity agreement with the county, through which he would accept any costs should the garage be in the way of utility work. The garage would be a second garage intended to be used for the restoration of a classic car.
Planning commission members were sympathetic and questioned staff on whether there were other ways to reduce the size of the garage and pad to reduce the encroachment. They were told that would not work as the lot was designed to allow for an attached garage, which had been built, recognizing that a right-of-way would take up a lot of space in the rear yard.
Mayor Jim Wood said allowing the garage to be built over a sewer could complicate fixing a problem if it arises and would not be fair to other residents served by the line. If a permanent garage was denied, the applicant could look at other options, such as going to a temporary structure.
“I think there is an option with denial that would still allow the applicant to proceed in a way that would work.”
Coun. Philip Massier noted the garage would be a second garage on the property and expressed concern a precedent could be set if the county veers from its long-held policy of not allowing permanent structures to be built on its rights-of-way.
“It’s a dangerous can of worms to go to.”