Town defers boundary expansion

Town defers boundary expansion

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Oliver council is deferring consideration of any boundary expansion south of town until it is part of the Regional Growth Strategy.
The Town recently discussed the results of a recent opinion survey about possible boundary expansion adjacent to Highway 97 in the area of Road 1 and 2.
In May the Town received a request from Brett Malcolm to have 5691 Highway 97 be included in municipal boundaries. The property is zoned agricultural and is within the Agricultural Land Reserve. It was identified for future non-farm use by the land commission in 1994.
In August the Town conducted a survey of 45 property owners to get their input on adjusting the boundaries. Less than half of the survey forms were returned, and those who responded were widely divided on the issue, with 10 in favour and 11 opposed.
Municipal Manager Tom Szalay said there is a a concentration of opposition among the small lot owners east of Highway 97 near Road 2. The two commercial properties south of Road 2 were also opposed. A cluster of property owners closer to Road 1 supported boundary expansion.
Comments from owners in favour of the proposal include: want Town to address unsightly premise concerns in the area; want a vote in municipal elections; want a moratorium on tax increases; staying small equals stagnation; and we need space to grow.
Comments from owners opposed to expansion include: will cost money and lose rural way of life; sounds like real estate companies wanting to make more money; higher density development would increase complaints about noise from existing business; fill up empty lots in town first; incorporation would impose development restrictions and affect sale of properties; don’t want more big box stores along Highway 97, which would happen if this area is incorporated.
Szalay said if there is to be any expansion into this area, sewer service and vehicular access would need to be considered.
Because the survey area slopes away from the Town’s boundaries, sewage flows from most or all of the properties would need to be pumped back uphill into the Town’s sewer system.
In previous discussions regarding the proposed development of the former Fritz property and the construction of Southwinds Crossing, further intensification of commercial development with direct access onto Highway 97 will not be supported, Szalay said. Instead, driveway access will be restricted to the local street network, which is undeveloped for the most part, he added.
Szalay said because of road requirements and anticipated land commission concerns, moving forward with the full block application right now would likely be a long and complex process.
Szalay stated the upcoming growth boundary process with the regional district will provide an opportunity to consider the amount of commercial development that is desirable for the community.
The municipal manager said phased expansion over the survey area does not have much technical merit. However, the Malcolm property could be a candidate for individual incorporation for the following reasons: It is close to the existing sewer system; it has driveway access potential from Road 2; it is exempt from land reserve regulations; and the owner supports incorporation.
Councillor Dave Mattes made the motion to defer the matter until the Regional Growth Strategy is considered in 2013.
“It would be foolish to do it piecemeal and without consultation with the RDOS,” he said.

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