By Jeremy Appel
Alberta Newspaper Group
Redcliff town council voted at its March 11 meeting for the final reading of a bylaw to update its Municipal Development Plan, a practice that occurs routinely. The last MDP update happened in 2010.
“There’s a very clear vision statement,” said Jordan Zukowski, the town’s planning specialist. “The previous MDP talked a lot about goals and objectives, but didn’t have a vision statement for the town, (which) is the guiding statement that the whole rest of the document comes out of.”
Another significant update is the expansion of its scope.
“Provincial legislation paints a pretty broad brush about certain things you can or may want to include in the type of document, so a couple policy categories that weren’t in our last one are things like governance and economic develop and tourism, so we do have some policies on that in our new MDP that our old one didn’t really cover as specifically,” said Zukowski.
Despite its wider scope, the actual policies outlined in the document are more specific, she said, citing the example of residential development.
“Rather than having blanket residential policies that apply to every single residential development or residential area, we now have more specific residential policies,” Zukowski said. “The reason for that is because we found, even though residential is one type of use, we have lots of different types of residential areas in Redcliff.”
For instance, she says residential developments near the coulees must have different restrictions than residential areas near greenhouses, which have different restrictions than homes in long-time residential neighbourhoods.
“There’s different things to keep in mind when we’re developing those areas and that’s why we’ve broken the community into neighbourhoods to try and get some more specific policies to see the kind of development … that meets our vision statement,” Zukowski said.
The first reading of the new MDP was passed at council’s Feb. 11 meeting.
The original version of the story incorrectly said that council voted unanimously on the MDP .
Farm property tax assessment changes approved
Council also moved to absorb property taxes on farm building improvements into the land assessment in a unanimous vote at its March 11 meeting.
Prior to 2018, the building improvement property tax assessment had a 50 per cent exemption. The province is reducing it by 10 percentage points each year until there’s a 100 per cent exemption in 2020, a move the government says will make urban farm owners more competitive with their rural counterparts.
However, unless accompanied by an absorption into another property tax, the town will lose revenue.
Municipal manager Arlos Crofts says the absorption is being done to ensure the town’s finances aren’t majorly impacted by the phase out.
“The land is being taxed to make up for the loss in the improvement exemption, so there’s no real net difference at the end of the day for those people,” said Crofts.