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Cypress County gives the OK to greenhouse reclassification

Posted on July 25, 2017 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Justin Seward

Cypress County council had passed the motion of Bylaw 2016-45 where there will be a land use reclassification from  District 3 Agriculture to Agriculture District 4 Greenhouse with the initial  intent  of installing an LED type of light to stimulate crop growth and enhance production within the existing greenhouse operation at the July 18 meeting.
The 6-1 vote in favour of the land reclassification will allow for  Kel-Lee Greenhouse owners Kelly and Shandell Fischer to light up their operation under strict guidelines.
The restrictions state that a developer of an existing or a new greenhouse or an greenhouse expansion will be required to install artificial lighting control as a condition of the development approval.
“We have to work with everybody,” said Kelly.
“It worked out well for both parties. It further ables us to proceed on our outlook.”
The Fischer’s submitted an application to the county in January to reclassify their entire 3.87 hectares parcel existing greenhouse.
However,  on Jan. 17, 2017 council held a public hearing for the bylaw where comments from the City of Medicine Hat  were that there were significant lighting issues from existing greenhouses that are in close proximity to the airport that were providing a serious hazard to pilots during landing.
The city’s recommendation was for any further greenhouse development to go under a comprehensive risk assessment to determine the issue before releasing any other risks.
After the public hearing, council decided to postpone the second reading to allow for the applicants to submit  an illumination risk assessment study that determine how much illumination is being released into the pilot’s direction.
Since then, the county and city’s planning department, along with airport and greenhouse representatives have been meeting to try and resolve the greenhouse illumination issue. The discussions have identified a critical visual approach area for landing.
The Fischer’s had decided to forgo LED lighting  and will use high pressure sodium lighting and have sent in a letter stating they will agree to install black out curtains that will contain 80 per cent of the light from illuminating into the sky as condition of obtaining a development permit.

No changes for confined feeding operations

Council voted 7-0 against making any changes to the county’s current policies to creating a new type of agricultural district for confined feeding operations.
The decision came after Coun. Dustin Vossler voiced his concern of the current locations being too close to populated and irrigated areas in the county at the July 4 meeting.

Western Tractor receives loan
Western Tractor will receive financial assistance  from the county in the form of an improvement tax for a total of $436,000 that will be paid back to Cypress County over 20 years. The funds will go into upgrading Range Road 64.

Black and White Trail bridge speed limit reduced
Council approved first, second and third reading to reduce the speed on the Black and White Trail bridge to 50 km an hour.

Suffield roads getting paved
Council moved to direct administration to pave with hot mix asphalt the First Street truck route, Ellice Avenue, Ronald Avenue and Baynes Avenue in Suffield at an estimated cost of $708, 138.

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