Vulcan County is looking to make amendments to its land-use bylaw regarding renewable energy applications.
The amended bylaw will be presented to council Wednesday for first reading.
Anne Erickson, the County’s development officer, wrote in a report for the March 1 council meeting that “concerns have been brought forward” about alternative/renewable energy development in the land-use bylaw.
Schedule 5 of that bylaw covers things like solar collectors, wind energy conversion systems, and “other alternative/renewable energy commercial/industrial projects” such as geothermal, waste-to-energy and biodiesel projects.
If provincial agencies such as the Alberta Utilities Commission have given their approval to part of a project, the local planning body has to abide by that decision, the County’s administration believes.
“On the other hand the local development authority retains its power in respect of planning considerations and issues that have not been addressed by the provincial agency,” Erickson wrote.
If the AUC specifically approves a condition dealing with a certain planning objective, a local development authority cannot also impose a condition with that same planning objective, she added.
But the local development authority can impose conditions dealing with planning issues the AUC has not addressed, wrote Erickson.
The Municipal Government Act does not specifically state a local development authority cannot outright refuse an application for an already provincially approved project, she wrote.
“However, it is probably not unreasonable to think that a local development authority could reject a DP (development permit) based on something like inadequate access/roadways (for example) if the AUC has not addressed this matter in their approval,” wrote Erickson.
County council accepted Erickson’s report as information at the March 1 meeting.
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