Every time I drive through the streets of Chestermere I appreciate what an amazing community we have. In our recent Municipal Development Plan (MDP) update, we describe a long-term vision of our City that incorporates the small town feel with an urban lifestyle and offers a diversity of housing options. Our mission in the 2015 – 2018 Strategic Plan is to build an exceptional place to call home through innovative planning and community consultation. One way we are doing that is through our community design standards that drive decisions around future planning, approvals, bylaws, and policies. All of these tools are in place to help us maintain our exceptional character and visual appeal.
If you want to make an addition or change to your property or propose a new structure, you are required to align with the rules set out by the Development and Infrastructure Services (DIS) Department. If the application involves a variance to a current bylaw and the DIS Department denies the request, it can be appealed to the Subdivision Appeal Board (SDAB). An example of this is the proposed construction of a permanent deck built too close to the property line.
For the past year, I’ve been a member of the SDAB, with another councillor and five residents. The SDAB hears and decides on a wide range of appeals involving encroachment, non-conformance, and variance issues, to name a few. As a quasi-judicial board, SDAB has the authority to make decisions that balance individual rights against claims of public interest. Although we must regard the subdivision and development regulations, we have the ability to give allowances that are consistent with the vision of the community.
The SDAB meets once a month and what I find most enjoyable is working with a group of individuals with such diverse experiences, histories, talents and values. We have engaging discussions about decisions that affect the applicant, neighbors or our municipality. If you are interested in joining the SDAB or any other committee, watch for notices in The Anchor, check out the City’s website, or contact a Council member directly. My door is always open and I look forward to speaking with you.
Patrick Watson, Councillor
City of Chestermere