The City and County of Red Deer have agreed to extend a joint planning agreement and change the way annexation is handled.
Under the terms of an amended Intermunicipal Development Plan, approved by both councils last week, a 2017 deadline has been removed.
The plan was also altered to remove a fixed schedule that required all areas identified as future city growth areas to be annexed by 2017.
Instead, annexations will be based on the principle that the city oversee at least a 30-year supply of land up to a maximum of 50 years worth.
County Mayor Jim Wood said on Monday that the changes mean annexation decisions will be based on growth needs, not fixed timelines.
“The changes we made actually benefits both the city and the county. It allows the city to annex lands on a need basis.”
Wood said much of the land may not be needed for decades, so it makes sense to annex it only when the city is running short of space.
The county also benefits because it maintains tax revenues from rural properties until annexation takes place.
Angus Schaffenburg, the city’s major projects planner, said removing the expiry date will clearly benefit both municipalities.
“It allows us to have a framework for development and a framework for how we work together.”
A formula has been developed to determine when annexations will be considered.
Under the original terms of the plan, the city would have been required to annex the 234 quarter sections — roughly 37,000 acres — remaining in the growth area.