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Council rethinking housing situation

Turner Valley residents worried they would have to put off plans to move previously lived-in homes onto their property may not have to wait.
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Turner Valley residents worried they would have to put off plans to move previously lived-in homes onto their property may not have to wait.

The Town’s Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) suggested council put a temporary stop to allowing moved-on houses into the town until regulations are established due to their concerns about the unsightliness of some unfinished homes. But following a public hearing earlier this month council does not support the suggestion.

During its May 20 meeting, council passed first reading to permit homes to be moved into town on a case-by-case basis determined by the MPC until architectural regulations are in place. Turner Valley Mayor Kelly Tuck said applications are currently decided on by the town planner.

“This will ensure pre-existing, established and occupied dwellings removed from one site and transported and re-established on another would be decided by the MPC and can be refused if it doesn’t meet town standards,” said Tuck. “It will ensure architectural features of the dwellings complement the community.”

Council initially passed first and second readings earlier this spring to amend the bylaw to not allow moved-on homes until guidelines are established.

At a public hearing in April three residents spoke out against the proposed bylaw change, expressing concerns the change in bylaw would prevent people from bringing these homes into the community.

Coun. Dona Fluter said their concerns arose from misconceptions that the land-use bylaw amendment would be permanent.

“Somehow this became very convoluted,” she said. “There are people who have misconstrued what we were attempting to do as council and the MPC recommendations.”

Town planner Matthew Atkinson said the revised bylaw proposal, if passed, means anyone wanting to bring an existing, established and occupied home into the community would be considered by the MPC.

“The MPC has the authority to decide yes or no,” he said. “This is one step in the process and the next step is making those guidelines.”

Fluter questioned if guidelines will be put in place temporarily to deal with requests made for moved-on dwellings before the guidelines are officially established.

“My concern is if there is an application before us how do you come to that decision?” she said.

Atkinson replied that characteristics of the surrounding neighbourhood will be taken into consideration when addressing applications.

Tuck said the MPC and planner will work together to establish guidelines, which she hopes will be in place this September.

Residents can again have a say on the new recommended amendment during council’s regular meeting June 16.

Fluter suggested council and administration clearly communicate the recommendation to the public at the meeting.

“We better have some solid information,” she said. “I don’t really want to see us confuse the public any more than we have already done.”

Atkinson said the town receives about three requests for moved-on houses in a six-month time period.




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Tammy Rollie

About the Author: Tammy Rollie

Tammy Rollie is a staff reporter at OkotoksToday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper, focusing on Wheel's West, local arts and culture and entertainment. For story tips contact trollie@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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