A proposal to build three high-end cabins as rural getaways near Sylvan Lake was turned down by Red Deer County’s municipal planning commission.
The proponents were seeking a development permit to build two cabins of about 300 square feet each and a 700-square-foot lodge as short-term rentals. They would be located in a corner of a 154-acre property about four kilometres west of Sylvan Lake.
County development officer Francoise Joynt recommended denying the application on Tuesday because it did not meet the Land Use Bylaw for a campground-minor, the closest equivalent to the proposal, and the requirement that the minimum parcel size be an unsubdivided 160-acre quarter section.
Neighbours were not happy with the proposal. Two dozen referral letters were sent out to residents on nine nearby quarter sections. Three letters of concern, one signed by 37 people, were sent back.
Concerns included the number of people renting the cabins, increased traffic, dust, noise, pet control, trespassing, rural theft, littering, watershed impact and decreased property values.
An agent for the proponents said no pets would be allowed and the cabins were aimed at an older, high-income clientele. Issue was also taken with the way the project was described in the letters to neighbours. It left the impression it was a campground application and did not reflect the actual proposal, the planning commission was told.
After some debate, commission members turned down the application by 5-2 vote. Mayor Jim Wood and Coun. Philip Massier voted in favour of the application.
Mayor Jim Wood called the application a “tough one” and said he would like to see someone on-site monitoring the cabins full-time as opposed to the video surveillance and an on-call system proposed.
Other councillors felt the application was too far outside the intention of a campground-minor.
“For me, there’s just too many relaxations. In this instance, it’s too much of a stretch,” said Coun. Brent Ramsay.
Coun. Dana Depalme shared a similar concern. “My biggest, biggest concern is there is not going to be someone living there and taking 100 per cent responsibility for anything going on there.”