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Proposed rezoning for Coaldale dairy farm

Posted on May 9, 2024 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

A proposed rezoning could mean Coaldale will be home to an eco-dairy operation.

During their regular April 22 meeting, Coaldale town council reviewed a Land Use Bylaw amendment for an existing dairy farm in southwest Coaldale.

The application concerns a portion of land, legally described as NE4-09-20-W4M, along the southern boundary of town that is the current location of  Elk Creek Dairy Farms Ltd. dairy operation. With the current Urban Reserve (UR) zoning in place, the farm cannot expand or improve its existing dairy operation. The applicant, Brian Stoutjesdyk, is interested in modernizing the business, as well as adding a tourism and education element to it by creating an eco-dairy operation. 

However, in order to do so, that land in question would need to be zoned as Direct Control (DC). Cam Mills, director of growth and development for the Town, noted there was some regulatory difficulties pertaining to the NRCB and rules “associated with these type of operations”.

“We believe the first step in a multi-step process, before a final decision is made here, is to seek rezoning from it’s existing Urban Reserve designation to Direct Control,” said Mills. “What Direct Control means is that in order for a development permit to be issued, which would absolutely be required in order to achieve what the landowner is attempting to achieve, that that would need to be brought forward to council rather than administration or the Municipal Planning Commission, and it would be council’s consideration and also ultimately council will issue or choose not to issue a permit in that regard.”  

As this was a “unique proposal”, Mills said administration doesn’t expect eco-dairies to “pop up” all over town, and this would functionally be limited to the site. As such, a DC zoning would be best for it. Additionally, because of the uniqueness of this request, administration wishes to take more time to gather feedback, and as such, they don’t have a requested date for a public hearing, although they expect it to take place by early June.

Council unanimously passed first reading to LUB Rezoning Amendment 889-P-04-24.

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