New development raises neighbour concerns
Green Hennessy neighbours worried about water, traffic and livestock
By: Viola Pruss
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 06:00 am
Development of a new neighbourhood in Sturgeon County brought out concerns about everything from water shortages, architectural guidelines and traffic last week.
Sturgeon County council came together for a public hearing to give residents an opportunity to comment on the planned Green Hennessey neighbourhood.
Council had previously voted 4-2 in favour of changes to its municipal and Sturgeon Valley area structure plans to pave the way for the proposed development.
The lands, which are still designated as “Country Residential,” are currently occupied by the Peas on Earth farm, located on Sturgeon Road across from Allin Ridge Estates.
A group of investors now plans to create 58 half-acre, serviced lots on the land, along with a number of amenities, parks and pathways linked to the existing pedestrian multi-use trail system.
Bill Minnes of Bradwill Consultants said the developers were looking at expanding the existing Allin Ridge water reservoir to serve the development. The county also considered building a fire hall for the area.
Part of the fire reservoir pump facility plan was to have sufficient reserve to pump water for fire protection for two hours.
While the meeting saw no registered speakers or correspondence from the public, Ben Elzen, president of the Allin Ridge Homeowner Association, said there were concerns among residents in the area about the water reservoir.
“We are at the end of the line and it gets to the point where the tap goes on and it sucks air,” he said.
“With more users on line and the talk about expanding, is that going to be a condition that the lots don’t go online when so little water is available?”
Collin Steffes, manager for planning and development services for the county, said council had communicated to the developers that sufficient water had to be available before putting new users on the line.
Mayor Don Rigney added he was aware that the area was getting close to capacity but he would not approve of the development if residents would run out of water.
“That is a concern and I would have real difficulty approving more development if we couldn’t get the water,” he said.
“This is entirely unacceptable to me and I wasn’t aware that was happening and we will make sure that we do what we can that this is rectified before we bring on some new demand.”
Elzen further asked if Green Hennessey could follow certain architectural guidelines to match Allin Ridge and whether residents would have an opportunity to discuss this with the developers.
Another resident of the area, Helder Afonso, suggested that council put guidelines or a caveat on the land. Once land flipped ownership a couple of times, it was difficult to stop residents from making changes to their properties, he said.
Minnes said the developers were looking to fit the neighbourhood in with the existing community.
“I think you’ll be happy with the way we do that and there’s an architectural plan drawn up and given to the municipality for approval,” he said, adding that the developers would discuss different options with council.
While there is already some discussion about adding a caveat on the lots to alert buyers to the presence of a nearby dairy farm and its associated odours, and forbid them from using their land in ways that interfere with its use, council was open to discussing maintenance bylaws.
However, Steffes said council can’t promise to prevent homeowners from making changes in the future.
Further concerns by Elzen and Afonso addressed an increase in traffic in the area and the number of livestock people could have in their backyards.
Minnes said the developers were looking at adding a turnaround to Sturgeon Road to help alleviate traffic. Livestock issues would have to be addressed through complaints once they occurred.
The developers are also planning to build a wellness centre that could include a daycare, doctors’ offices and a spa.
“We are getting up to 4,000 people and there are no other services available in the valley yet so we thought we’d jump on that and provide some institutional services,” Minnes said.
Elzen also suggested building a community centre where residents could meet or pick up mail deliveries.