(File Photo)

(File Photo)

County of Paintearth couple loses bin yard SDAB appeal

A local couple has lost their appeal to keep their bin yard where it is.

Jason and Shauna Felzien launched the appeal to the Palliser Inter-municipal Subdivision Appeal Board after the County of Paintearth issued a stop-work order on their grain bin yard located on Range Road 145 near Township Road 400.

The County of Paintearth issued the stop order on the site as it does not comply to setbacks set out in either the current or previous versions of the county’s Land Use Bylaw.

Previously, the setback from the centre of a road for a development like the Felzien’s was 150 feet, however that was reduced to 100 feet in the latest version of the bylaw.

Agricultural developments further than the setbacks from roads do not require development permits.

The bin yard in question is built on a former oil-field lease and the bins are located around 37 feet from the road.

Being that they are hopper style bins, it was noted during the Jan. 12, 2022, hearing that they are 21-feet in diameter and about 40-feet tall, with a high centre of gravity which raises concerns by the county of one of them falling over onto the road.

During the appeal hearing, the county stated that they are willing to offer a variance to the 100-foot setback provided a satisfactory geotechnical report comes back; they would allow the bins to be placed at 75 feet from the centre of the road.

In their arguments, the Felziens presented 26 letters from neighbours stating that the development did not impact their use and enjoyment of their own property.

The three-member panel, in their statement of decision released on Jan. 21, opted to give less weight to the letters as they were all form-letter in nature, written and filled in by Jason Felzien after verbal conversations with his neighbours on Jan. 11.

Much of the Felziens’ argument rested on the fact that the bin yard had been in place at its current location for eight years with no issues and that there was no other suitable places for the bins.

The county’s argument focused on several issues; safety — which the Felziens decried as “fear-mongering” — , development and maintenance considerations.

In its decision, the panel heavily weighted the potential safety issues; particularly the possibility of a vehicle going off the road and impacting one of the bin’s support structures which could then cause the bin to topple across the road due to its proximity to the road.

The Subdivision Appeal Board panel, in their decision, has given the Felzien’s until Feb. 28, 2022 to decide whether or not they will relocate or remove the bins from the site.

If they are to be removed, they must be moved by Aug. 31, 2022; if they are to remain, a geo-technical report must be complete by the end of May and the bins must be moved to their new locations on the site by the end of August.

Once the bins are moved, due to there being very little ditch at the location, the Felziens are also required to put up a guard-rail between their property line and Range Road 145.

The Felziens have opportunity to appeal this decision to the Court of Appeal of Alberta if they believe the board interpreted the law or their jurisdiction inappropriately.

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