Municipal Development Plan Sexsmith Alberta
The Town of Sexsmith is located approximately 16kms (10 miles) north of Grande Prairie on Highway 2. The Town is primarily an agricultural service centre, serving a relatively prosperous farming area. The Town serves a dormitory role to Grande Prairie, as many residents commute to the city for work.
The Sexsmith area, having fertile black soil was among the first districts in the Peace Country to be completely settled. The area was first surveyed for homesteads in 1907, and the town site itself was surveyed in 1915. With the arrival of Edmonton, Dunvegan, and British Columbia railway in 1916 came prosperity, as the agricultural community now had easier access to markets. By the time village status was achieved in 1929, the population had grown to approximately 250.
The first grain elevators appeared in 1917, and by 1949 were so productive that the Town was labeled "Grain Capital of the British Empire”, exporting more grain than any other port in the Empire. In 1976 the Northern Alberta Rapeseed Plant (now Northern Lites Canola Ltd.) opened with a work force of 80, creating growth that resulted in Town status being achieved in 1979 with a population of 1064, and has since grown to over 2255 in 2007.
From 1986 to the present the Town has enjoyed continued, steady population growth. The Town is moving forward in areas of residential housing, commercial and industrial development, as well as revitalizing the downtown core.
NEED FOR REVIEW
The current General Municipal Plan (Bylaw No. 697) was adopted in December of 1991, but in the years since a significant amount of new development has occurred in the Town. New issues facing the Town include commercial and tourism development, highway commercial expansion, and the accommodation of mobile homes. These concerns, coupled with continued residential growth and subsequent demands on local services warrants a review of Plan policies to ensure that they remain current and relevant.
PURPOSE OF THE PLAN
The General Municipal Plan is the primary planning policy document for use at the municipal level. It is intended to provide a framework and guide for the ongoing development of the Town of Sexsmith, ensuring that future growth occurs in an orderly and cost-efficient manner so that a high quality of life can be maintained for its residents.
In order to ensure that this document remains current and responsive to change, it shall be reviewed after a period of five years (or earlier if required). Any amendments made to this Plan shall be in accordance with the Municipal Government Act, R.S.A. 1994, as amended.
2.1 MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ACT
Division 4, Section 631, R.S.A. 1994, as amended requires that all urban municipalities with a population in excess of 1000 persons adopt a Municipal Development Plan. The Act (Section 63) also outlines the basic requirements of a Municipal Development Plan as follows:
A Municipal Development Plan shall
- (a) describe
- (i) the land uses proposed for the municipality, and
- (ii) the manner of and the proposals for future development in the municipality;
- (b) designate or describe the areas of the municipality that would, in the opinion of the council, be suitable for an area structure plan or an area redevelopment plan or both;
- (c) contain any other matters as the council considers necessary.
2.2 CONFORMITY TO REGIONAL PLAN
The Act also requires that Municipal Development Plans conform to the regional plan that is in place for the area in question. Section 54(2) specifically states the "every, statutory plan…done by a local authority….shall conform with the regional plan.”
The South Peace Regional Plan contains numerous policies that give direction to the preparation of Municipal Development Plans throughout the South Peace Region, which includes the Town of Sexsmith. Specifically, the Regional Plan provides guidance for plan preparation in the following areas ("Urban Policy”):
- (a) Principles for Growth and Development,
- (b) Management and Growth and Development,
- (c) Conversion of Agricultural Land, and
- (d) Annexation and Separation Policy.
2.3 PLANNING AREA
The policies set forth in this Municipal Development Plan apply to all lands contained within the municipal boundaries of the Town of Sexsmith.
It is intended that the boundaries of land use classifications and the location of future development concepts as shown in this Plan be considered as approximate only and not absolute. Any minor adjustments or variances that may be necessary to land use classes and location of future facilities will not require an amendment of this Plan.
There may be differences in application between this Plan and the Land Use Bylaw. However, the overall intent of this Plan shall be adhered to.
In this Plan all words or expressions shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Municipal Government Act and regulations and the Town of Sexsmith Land Use Bylaw.
3.1 DIRECTION OF FUTURE GROWTH
The majority of the developed portion of the Town is confined to lands located between the Northern Alberta Railway tracks to the west and Highway 2 to the east.
Within its current boundaries the Town has two major areas slated for future expansion. The first, located on the NE 25-73-06-W6M, consists of approximately 53.8 ha (133 ac) intended for residential, highway commercial, and public uses. This adopted in 1982. The second area consists of approximately 145.5 ha (360 ac) located on the NW and S 1/2 25-73-06 W6M. The West Sexsmith Area Structure Plan was adopted in 1982 for this area, outlining future industrial, commercial, residential, and public use development. NW 1/4 24-73-06 W6M and part of NE 1/4 24-73-06 W6M. These areas could accommodate a threefold increase in existing population of the Town.
Commercial development has historically been accommodated at the Town Centre. In recent years, however, such development has occurred in the form of highway commercial development along Highway 2, and secondary commercial along 95th Avenue. Although the most appropriate location for commercial development is dependent on the specific use proposed, it is the Town’s intention to continue to encourage commercial development at the Town Centre in keeping with efforts to revitalize the area.
Industrial development is presently dominated by the resin plant located to the south of 95th Avenue. Additional industrial expansion related to the resin plant could be accommodated south of the existing operation. The West Sexsmith Area Structure Plan has also allotted approximately 24 ha (59.3 ac) of land adjacent to the railway on the NE 25-73-06-W6M for possible industrial/residential expansion.
The Town recently annexed 14 1/2 quarters and the annexation was done to assure a developable land base for the Town for the next fifty years. Land
3.2 ROLE OF THE TOWN
The Town of Sexsmith plays a dual role within the region. First of all it serves as an agricultural service and institutional centre to the surrounding farming community. Secondly, it serves as a residential dormitory to the City of Grande Prairie. This role is borne out by the fact that 50% of the local work force is employed in the City and surrounding area. This double role strengthens the Town by contributing to the stability of its economic and tax base.
The Town recognizes that both functions will continue to be served in the future, but that its role as a satellite will likely increase in importance. The primary reasons for this assumption include continued lower housing costs and taxes relative to Grande Prairie. Further, the Town recognizes the importance of quality of life by emphasizing factors such as excellent municipal services, recreation, cultural, sport opportunities for all age groups, local police services and a safe clean environment.
The Town’s present philosophical belief is that the private sector is best suited to handle land development.
A steady rate of residential, commercial and industrial growth has not stressed the Towns infrastructure and continual program of upgrading is expected to meet anticipated future needs.
3.3 GOALS OF THE PLAN
In order to give direction to specific land use policies, it is necessary to develop a series of reasonable goals that the Plan is intended to achieve. Overall, this Plan is designed with the following goals in mind:
- (a) To provide and maintain a variety of housing types and lot sizes in order to accommodate the demands of residents.
- (b) To encourage and promote the redevelopment and revitalization of the downtown commercial area and downtown fringe neighborhoods.
- (c) To provide opportunities for future industrial development in the Town.
- (d) To continue to encourage and promote the development of recreational, tourist, and cultural facilities in the Town.
- (e) To ensure that all future development and redevelopment efforts are of the highest possible quality in order that the Town will continue to be an attractive environment in which to live and work.
- (f) To control the location and timing of future development to ensure that is can be serviced in an economically responsible fashion.
4.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Over the past 8 years population rate of growth was 25.6%. This rate appears to be steady.
The predominant form of housing in the Town is the single detached dwelling, which constitutes about 81% of the Towns total housing inventory. The remainder is composed of apartments, duplexes/triplexes, and mobile homes. The Town’s housing ratio is quite unique due to the overall lack of mobile homes, many of which are located on the grounds of the Peace River Bible Institute. The balance are dispersed in the older areas of the Town in the downtown area. The single-family dwelling is the preferred type of housing in the Town.
The following objectives and policies have been identified that will accommodate on going residential development.
- (a) To promote the development of safe, attractive, and functional neighborhoods in an economic fashion.
- (b) To protect residential neighborhoods by providing adequate separations from adjacent incompatible land uses.
- (c) To provide for the development of a variety of housing types in the Town.
- (d) To provide location criteria for both mobile home (only in mobile home park or mobile home subdivision) and multi-family development.
- Future residential development shall generally take place in those areas indicated in Map 3 (Future Land Use Map).
- The development of new residential subdivisions should generally be located in those areas identified in Map 4 ( Future Residential Expansion) and should be phased accordingly.
- The infilling of existing, vacant residential lots is to be encouraged prior to the development of new residential subdivisions.
- The design of infill housing shall be sensitive to the character and scale of the surrounding area.
- The Town supports the development of well-designed zero lot line and multiple-family housing in the Central Residential Area.
- Several mobile homes are currently located on grounds of the Peace River Bible Institute for use as student/staff housing. The Town supports all efforts by the Peace River Bible Institute to eventually replace these mobile homes with more permanent accommodation.
- Proposed mobile home park developments require site plans that include the following:
- (a) location and boundaries
- (b) internal roadway system and access to existing road system,
- (c) park and playground areas,
- (d) provision for utility, water, and sewer facilitites,
- (e) landscaping provisions,
- (f) integration with surrounding land uses, and
- (g) any other matters considered necessary by the Town
- New residential subdivisions, including mobile home subdivisions but excluding country residential, shall include paved streets, curbs, gutters, and provide underground services. Residential driveways shall be prepared to pre-pavement.
- Country residential lots (min. 7500 sq.ft.) shall include paved streets and the provision for underground services.
- Adequate on-site parking is required for residential developments of all types.
- Where possible, multiple-family development shall be constructed within close proximity of commercial areas, schools, parks and other recreational facilities.
- Where it is not possible to adequately separate residential development from potentially incompatible uses, a landscaped buffer, berm or other screening shall be constructed.
- In that area identified as "Mixed Use” on the Future Land Use Map, a mixture of residential and light industrial uses may be permitted, subject to adequate buffers and screening being provided to the satisfaction of the Town.
5.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Due to the Town’s close proximity to Grande Prairie, the local commercial sector is not quite as extensive compared to a level normally associated with a Town of its size. With the prospect of an increasing commuter base the commercial sector should sustain itself and may show improvement. Nevertheless a variety of goods and services are available in the Town.
The natural trading area for the Town of Sexsmith is composed of:
- a) the Town population
- b) the rural population surrounding the town
- c) the traffic passing through on Hwy#2, particularly for convenience commodities and auto related services and that rural population which base their grain deliveries in Sexsmith.
Sexsmith has a distinct advantage over Grande Prairie with regard to economics of land development. Sexsmith land prices and municipal taxes are more attractive than those in the city and subsequently, with a potentially lower overhead, Sexsmith businesses should be able to compete favorably with their Grande Prairie counter-parts.
At present Sexsmith has an identified need for reserved commercial lots. Within the downtown area there are only 36 commercial lots (C1) Serviced highway commercial is at 2 serviced, 2 unserviced (C2) and other serviced/unserviced lots at 6 serviced 5 unserviced (C3). Further there are 9 unserviced industrial parcels.
The Town has completed an extensive project which has seen significant visual improvements through the Town centre as well as the restoration of historic sites. This revitalization has provided a recognized distinctiveness throughout the trading area and has encouraged commercial development in the town centre.
The following objectives and policies have been identified which will accommodate ongoing commercial development.
- To encourage the physical and economic revitalization of the town centre.
- To encourage the development of a variety of commercial facilities in the Town.
- To encourage a high standard of commercial development in the Town.
- Future commercial development shall occur in accordance with the Future Land Use Map.
- The Town has developed Area Redevelopment Plan for the town centre. Other measures intended to encourage a high quality of development in the area. The Town will continue to implement design guidelines and other measures etc. in accordance with land use bylaw and ARP.
- Primary commercial uses, such as retail and service outlets, professional offices, and entertainment facilities, are encouraged to locate in the town centre.
- Development in the Town centre will be encouraged to provide on-site parking for staff use.
- Those business or services that require a lesser degree of highway #2 visibility will be encouraged to locate in the downtown ARP area.
- All highway commercial developments are required to provide adequate on-site parking facilities and landscaping to the satisfaction of the Town.
- Commercial developments that abut residential areas shall provide an adequate buffer or screening to the satisfaction of the Town.
- The Town supports the establishment of home occupations in residential areas, provided such operations maintain a low profile, and are licensed by the Town and are in accordance with the land use bylaw.
- To encourage and assist commercial development the Town will offer a declining percentage municipal tax rebate of 50% in the first full year of operation; 25% in the second full year of operation; 25% in the third full year of operation; 0% thereafter. This criteria applies to new assessments only and does not include school taxes which are directly requisitioned.
6.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Town of Sexsmith has seen its industrial activity strengthen and expand from being primarily agriculture to now include segments of the oil & gas industry, tourism, building construction, and various other sectors.
Industrial lands are available for development to the south of the canola plant and plans are in place for serviced industrial lots on lands west of the railway.
The following objectives and procedures have been identified by council, which will accommodate industrial growth while at the same time recognizing community expectations.
- To minimize potential conflict between industrial and non-industrial uses.
- The Town will encourage a diversified industrial base.
- It is the Town’s intent to take a proactive role in the pursuit of industrial development.
- Future industrial development should be in accordance with the Future Land Use Map.
- Proposals for industrial development shall be evaluated according to the following:
- a) impact on and demand for municipal services,
- b) potential negative impacts such as noise, noxious emissions, and dust generation,
- c) the nature of surrounding land uses.
- All industrial developments shall provide adequate landscaping, screening and on-site parking and loading facilities.
- Industrial developments that abut residential areas shall provide an adequate buffer or screening to the satisfaction of the Town.
- All industrial developments are required to provide adequate on-site parking and landscaping to the satisfaction of the Town.
- To encourage and assist industrial development the Town will offer a declining percentage municipal tax rebate of 75% in the first full year of operation; 50% in the second full year of operation; 25% in the third full year of operation; 0% thereafter.
RECREATION AND COMMUNITY SERVICES
7.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In keeping with the Town’s reputation as offering a high quality of life to its residents, Sexsmith and area is provided with a wide variety of community facilities and services. Recreational facilities include numerous parks and playgrounds, arena, curling rink, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, museum, seniors’ complex, civic centre, library, and campground. Educational needs are catered to both public (K-12, including a modern secondary school) and separate (K-9) schools, and the Peace River Bible Institute. There are also numerous community service, religious and volunteer organizations active in the Town.
New attractions to the Town include a historical barn, Paszkowski House, a church restoration (on hold since a 2009 fire), restoration of the UFA bulk station and the development of a park in the downtown core.
In addition to continuing to provide a high standard of service to residents, the development of a local tourism industry is a high priority with the Town.
The following objectives and procedures have been identified which are designed to protect, enhance and preserve community services.
- (a) To continue to promote and preserve the local cultural, social, and historical fabric of the community.
- (b) To continue to provide quality recreational and institutional facilities for town residents of all age groups.
- (c) To encourage and promote local tourism opportunities.
- The development of community facilities in the Town should adhere to the concept outlined in the accompanying map.
- The Town shall continue to encourage and support the efforts of community organizations and volunteer groups in the delivery of recreational, cultural, and social programs.
- For the purpose of efficiency, the Town supports the increased and expanded use of existing community facilities prior to the development of new facilities where possible.
- In newly developed residential areas, neighborhood parks and playground facilities shall be provided.
- Priorities for new community facilities include an expanded seniors facility, and a youth centre. The Town shall cooperate with local community groups and organizations in the establishment of such facilities.
- The Town supports the development of a pathway system to connect recreation areas with the town centre, such a system also includes increased use of the creek corridor.
- The Town supports the development of Heritage Park as a fully-serviced campground, including the provision of power, water and sewer services to individual campsites.
- The Town supports all efforts to improve accessibility for the elderly and handicapped, not only to community facilities, but through infrastructure improvements as well.
- The Town will take an interest in and promote special events.
- The Town supports FCSS and its various programs.
TRANSPORTATION AND UTILITIES
8.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Sexsmith is part of a regional water system (Aquatera) which serves most residential, commercial, industrial development in the Town. One aerobic pond, four anerobic ponds, one storage pond located southeast of Town handles the sewage. The Town also provides a cardboard recycling bin, curbside recycling of paper and tin, and weekly garbage pick up.
Excellent fire protection is available with a volunteer fire department of twenty-five members and two modern, well-equipped pumper vehicles and a life support van. Policing is provided by the R.C.M.P. and County Constables.
The Town has kept pace with changing times by continually upgrading municipal buildings and equipment both in the administrative offices and maintenance department. The Town has upgraded the sewage lagoons.
The following objectives and procedures which will accommodate transportation and utilities issues into future years.
- (a) To continue to provide Town residents with an efficient and well-developed transportation network.
- The Town has identified several road improvement priorities for both the short and long-term as follows:
- (a) ongoing construction and overlay projects as identified in the budget
- (b) opening of 98 Street between 95 Avenue and 97 Avenue
- With the exception of the industrial area it is the goal of the Town to hard surface all roads.
- The Town will develop a capital reserve account to address "High expense” special needs.
- In order to improve current water supplies, the following options may be undertaken by the Town:
- (a) programs to encourage water conservation by residents.
- (b) monitor and comply with federal regulations/standards.
9.1 PLANS AND BYLAWS
- The Land Use Bylaw is the primary means of implementing the development of these policies plan on a day-to-day basis. The current Land Use Bylaw (No.755) shall be reviewed to ensure consistency with this Plan.
- The West Sexsmith and Northeast Sexsmith Area Structure Plans shall be reviewed to ensure conformity with this Plan, and other factors Council may consider necessary.
- Prior to approving the development of new areas, the Town requires the preparation of an area structure plan for the lands in question.
9.2 SUBDIVISION AND LAND DEVELOPMENT
- All applications for subdivision approval, development permits, and land use bylaw amendments shall be evaluated by the Town according to the following criteria:
- (a) compliance with statutory plans, bylaws and regulations
- (b) adequacy of road access,
- (c) provision of municipal services and utilities,
- (d) compatibility with adjacent land uses,
- (e) accessibility to emergency services,
- (f) site suitability in terms of size, shape, and other physical characteristics,
- (g) water table and adequate drainage addressed with view to municipal reserves
- (h) any other matters the Town may consider necessary.
- In accordance with Sections 77 and 92 of the Municipal Government Act, developers shall be required to enter into development agreements with the Town.
- The developer is responsible for the provision of all roads, water and sewer lines, sidewalks, gutters, utilities, and other infrastructure required to service the site.
- Developments which connect to existing services shall be expected to contribute towards the cost of those services.
- At the time of subdivision, municipal reserve shall be dedicated as allowed for in the Municipal Government Act. Reserve shall generally be taken in the form of land, although money-in-lieu of reserve may be taken in the following circumstances:
- (a) the neighborhood is sufficiently served by existing reserve lands,
- (b) the amount owing is not of sufficient size to warrant land being taken, or
- (c) the subdivision is located in a commercial or industrial area that is not adjacent to an existing residential area.
- Money-in-lieu of municipal reserve shall be placed in a special reserve fund administered by the Town, to be used for recreation area and facility construction and improvement.
- Reserve lands may be deferred if the subdivision is of insufficient size to warrant dedication, or if an area structure plan designates alternative locations for the allocation of reserve land.
- The Town should negotiate an agreement with the Peace Wapiti School Board #33 to determine school reserve requirements in anticipation of future subdivision activity.
Town Council received word that Order of Council No. 14 / 2009 of the provincial government, signed by Lieutenant Governor Norman Kwong gave approval to the Town of Sexsmith to annex 14 1/2 quarters of land from the County of Grande Prairie.
This annexation was done to assure a developable land base for the Town for the next fifty years. Land that is currently farmed may continue as famland until the landowner may decide to change from farmland to some other use. The Town of Sexsmith will be responsible to issue any permits that these landowners would have previously received from the County.
9.4 MUNICIPAL FINANCES
- The Town shall prepare a three-year capital works plan to phase and coordinate expenditures.
- When financing capital projects, the Town should reduce its potential dependence on debentures. Other sources of revenue, including frontage taxes, Federal and Provincial grants, and offsite levies may be accessed to minimize property tax increases.
9.5 MONITORING AND REVIEW
- To ensure that the policies of this Plan continue to be current and relevant, it shall be reviewed at three year intervals, or sooner if required. Plan reviews may reflect such factors as legislative change, changes to the local development climate, the impact of new major projects, or Council philosophy.
- If a significant change in policy intent is desired, or if subsequent studies indicate the need for a change to this Plan, it shall be amended accordingly.