Shaded area in this photo overlay taken during a county inspection last month, shows the 30 metre buffer zone around any slope on the land that is over 15 per cent grade and is one of the conditions of the development permit. Image: County of Stetter

Stettler County denial of Paradise Shores permit upheld by SDAB

Developers refusal to provide needed information among reasons behind appeal decision

The appeal of a decision regarding Paradise Shores development permit has left the project in limbo.

A ruling from the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB), released June 11, has upheld the refusal of the permit based on arguments heard in a June 5 hearing.

The project application, submitted on Mar. 28, to the County of Stettler, had set out looking for an initial development of 318 campsite or RV stalls to go along with other recreational facilities on the 83 acre parcel located on the south shore of Buffalo Lake just west of the Summer Village of White Sands.

The SDAB determined that, while the development is a permitted use, the development authority (the county) has broad discretion in what information it requires in evaluating a permit application.

And in this instance, insufficient information was provided and the developer did not supply the additional information on time or request an extension. Therefore, as per the Municipal Government Act (MGA), the application was refused.

The board also noted in the decision that it accepted the county’s reasons for wanting the added information as well as the timeline provided to submit it.

The developer’s argument that the county had all the necessary documents and information already because of its earlier application was rejected by the board, since any application is deemed distinct and separate from any other even if it is similar or identical to a previous one.

Paradise Shores’ first application was made in March 2018, calling for 370 stalls and was subject to a variety of objections and opposition. It was then slashed to 168 in a Nov. 2 SDAB decision.

With the second application, after the developer refused to provide documents covering a majority of plans and reports needed, the county issued a stop work order on the development on May 17. This came after an April 24 deadline passed for submitting the requested documentation and a May 2 site inspection.

The inspection found many discrepancies with the conditions of the permit including water and waste water systems allegedly constructed without proper approvals, permanent buildings and RV stalls within specified setback distances and inadequate emergency vehicle access.

While not out of compliance with the second application, the inspection noted there were 315 stalls — with 113 RV units on site — which would be in contravention of the first application’s revised number of 168.

“(The developer’s) position ignores an important intervening event, namely the 2018 decision,” stated the June 11 decision.

“In the board’s opinion, it was not open to the development authority to simply ignore the 2018 decision. At a minimum, the development authority would have to request the same information as was required by the board in the 2018 decision. Further, in order to approve more campsites than the board approved in the 2018 decision, the development authority reasonably would need additional information that would justify deviating from the 2018 decision.”

That Nov. 2, 2018 decision is currently awaiting for the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench to rule whether it will hear an appeal of the SDAB decision.

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This aerial photo taken during a county inspection last month shows construction material obstructing an emergency exit/access gate on the west side of the Paradise Shores development, which also has no discernible connection to the development’s internal roads. Image: County of Stettler

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