‘Procedural error’ forces city to reverse planning decision

The City of Red Deer is going to court to reverse one of its own planning decisions.

The City of Red Deer is going to court to reverse one of its own planning decisions.

The unusual move is necessary because the city failed to notify adjacent landowners affected by a proposed subdivision in Woodlea.

Charity Dyke, city spokesperson, confirmed that the city did not follow the due process of contacting affected landowners that an application had been received.

“We apologize for any inconvenience that it has caused the applicant or the adjacent landowners,” said Dyke. “But certainly we are taking responsibility and want to expedite this as quickly as possible.”

Dyke said the letters were not sent out because it was “missed in the process.”

“It was a procedural error on our behalf,” she said.

The subdivision application to create two residential lots from one lot was approved at the municipal planning commission on Jan. 22. Letters were sent out indicating that an application to subdivide the lot at 5055 45th Ave was approved on the same day.

The city realized that the letters were not sent out after several Woodlea residents raised concerns after receiving the approval letter.

There is no process in the Municipal Government Act that allows the city or the adjacent landowners to appeal the decision. Dyke said the city is taking all legal steps to go through the courts to gain approval on an urgent basis to bring it back to the municipal planning commission.

The city hopes to file to the courts this week, Dyke said. “We will be asking them to in an expedited way bring this back to the municipal planning commission so we can have the benefit of input from adjacent landowners.”

Dyke said the city has been in contact with the lot owner to let him know what is going on. When they go through the courts, the city will ask for no demolition, construction or sale of the lot until the matter is resolved.

Woodlea residents were surprised to notice the surveying on the property and the letter indicating the subdivision.

Debra Hunter was upset when she learned the city had failed to follow due process. Hunter wrote to four city councillors and the mayor when she heard about the approval.

While Hunter said it is a positive move that the city is taking steps, she said the problem is the city is breaking its own rules.

“That’s a problem,” said Hunter. “It affects everybody in the city if this is how it is operating. It’s not just one neighbourhood.”

Hunter said this could happen in any area of the city and fairness has to be enacted and due process must be served. She said this way it keeps it fair for everyone in Red Deer. Hunter said the residents in Woodlea will be keeping a close eye on what happens next.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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