Mountain View County Council has requested that Planning and Development Services initiate a redesignation project to change the zoning (and thus the land use) for 31 active aggregate extraction operations (gravel pits) within the County currently operating on lands zoned for agriculture and bring forward amendments to the Land Use Bylaw.
The purpose of the redesignation is to bring the zoning in line with the actual land use on these properties. The properties would be brought before Council as rezoning applications through the public hearing process from their current zoning to Aggregate Extraction/Processing District (AEP).
The 31 active pits were identified by Planning and Development Services following approval from Council to research and identify all pits operating within the County that have Municipal approvals (a Development Permit) or Provincial approvals; or a combination of Municipal and Provincial approvals. This project will not include gravel pits with no approvals.
The County added the AEP zoning to the Land Use Bylaw in 2014. Under this change, rezoning is required before getting a Development Permit for a new gravel pit or expansion of a current pit. None of the existing pits were rezoned to the new AEP District.
When zoning matches current land use it informs land-use and development decisions made by landowners, developers and the County.
At the same time, this project will also address existing active pits that do not have Municipal Development Permits but have Provincial approvals or operating outside Development Permits by bringing forward proposed amendments to the AEP District to allow these operations to comply with regulations without the need to apply for a Municipal Development Permit. The regulations will provide a more even playing field for gravel extraction operations within the County. The regulations will mirror development permit conditions that will minimize the impact on adjoining lands.
In identifying eligible pits, an operation that is in the process of removing existing piles for the purpose to reclaim the site in the near future was not considered an active pit. There are a few operations within the County that have no Municipal or Provincial approvals and will not fall under the parameters of this project.
Rather than handle 31 Public Hearings at once, the project will be phased into Public Hearings based on electoral division boundaries. Phase 1 will feature Divisions 1 and 3; Phase 2 will feature Divisions 2 and 4; and Phase 3 will feature Divisions 5 and 6. The department investigation yielded no operations that met the guidelines of an “active pit” in Division 7.
Those three public hearings are scheduled for June 20th, 21st, and 23rd, starting at 9 a.m. each day.
Land-owners and pit operators, along with neighbours are being notified of the planned rezoning of the properties in question as well as the Land Use Bylaw amendment to add operating regulations, and will be able to provide Council with their comments – in favour or in opposition – to the proposed redesignation and Land Use Bylaw amendments.
For more information on this project please contact Jessica Ross or Dolu Gonzalez with Planning and Development Services at 403-335-3311 during regular business hours, or drop into the office during the same set of hours.