The Cypress Planning District in Carberry has pressed forward with a proposed residential subdivision in spite of concerns that the development may threaten nearby livestock operations.
Following an objection hearing held May 11, the Cypress Planning District recently delivered its decision on bylaw no. 6/2015, in regards to rezoning Dave Loewen’s 96-acre property situated 1-1/2 miles east of Carberry.
“Much of the concerns raised against this bylaw appear to deal with current agricultural use in the area and fear that the establishment of residential lots will create possible conflict between the new residents and the surrounding agricultural producers,” said Stu Omstead, chair of the Cypress Planning District, in a letter addressing the rezoning bylaw decision. “The board is cognizant of the possibility that new property owners may be unfamiliar with the day-to-day activities of the modern agricultural operation and wish to ensure that they are made aware that these are common and permitted farming practices.”
In council’s hands
The fate of the development now sits in the hands of the RM of North-Cypress-Langford council, who will make the final decision on July 14.
The planning district strongly recommended that if the subdivision is approved, the RM should require the developer to establish a caveat that would assure good farming practices in the area are not hindered.
While the final decision on Loewen’s property hangs in the air, local producers and residents found themselves in nearly identical circumstances earlier this month, with an adjacent property, owned by Vernon Buhr.
Buhr is looking to develop his land into a residential subdivision as well, and is also seeking rezoning of the area from agriculture general to rural residential.
“Buhr’s subdivision application asks if there are any livestock operations within 1.6 km or one mile of the proposed subdivision. It is not checked,” said local resident, Judy Harder. “Again, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) had no concerns with the rezoning, provided there were no livestock operations located within the higher mutual separation distances. MAFRI was again, never notified of such.”
Buhr has plans to develop his 100-acre property into 30, 2-1/2- to five-acre lots. The land is a soil class J-04 and has never been cropped.
“The planning district, once again, did not reply to MAFRD about the livestock operations, and instead used the memorandum sent from MAFRD about soil suitability as approval for the development. If this planning district had disclosed the proper information, these developments should not have gone past the application stage,” said Harder.
An objection meeting was held on June 8 and saw nine formal objections presented to the planning district in regards to rezoning bylaw no. 7/2015.
The planning district has until July 7 to deliver a decision on the bylaw, but opposing residents and impacted producers believe the district will come to the same conclusion as it has with previous ones.
Following approval from the planning district, the RM council will be required to make a final decision on both properties that essentially hold the same implications for nearby producers.
“The worst irony of this situation is that the separation distance bylaws were developed to prevent the very situation we are in now, to stop urban encroachment and protect the farms of this municipality. Instead, the bylaws are being used to curtail the farm operations of numerous residents who have all farmed in this municipality for 30 to 80-plus years,” said Harder.
Opposing residents have been in contact with the minister of municipal government, Drew Caldwell in hopes the province will intervene. Comment from the minister’s office was unavailable before press time.
A number of parties involved in the developments have declined to comment until the RM council declares its final decision.