NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association request that Alberta Transportation amend their current policy to make constructive comments at the preliminary stages of planning. There are Inter-municipal Development Plans (IDP), Area Structure Plans and Outline plans for longer term planning documents.
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT the comments made by the department at the planning stages be considered the guiding principles for future development adjacent to highways.
WHEREAS The Province of Alberta encourages long term planning by municipalities in developing around provincial highways;
WHEREAS municipalities desire to work with the Province of Alberta to ensure positive, focused planning around intersections;
WHEREAS currently the Regional Transportation Districts are required to provide comment at each planning stage of development; and
WHEREAS The Regional Transportation Districts do not give much consideration to intersections until subdivision adjacent to the intersection occurs.
What is identified at the initial stage of planning be consistent.
A development group came forward to develop a 1/4 section of land in the Town of Penhold. This land is situated adjacent to a primary highway. During the Area Structure Plan/outline plans stage, the town identified the population density anticipated at full build out on this parcel of land. Alberta Transportation responded that this intersection was identified 'as an intersection that will operate at an acceptable level in the planning future'. The subdivision for phase one proceeded followed by subsequent subdivision applications for phases two through six. During the subdivision referral for phase seven, Alberta Transportation indicated that the municipality would be responsible for upgrading the intersection. It was suggested that these costs be passed onto the developer. This comment did not sit well with the development group. They argued their business plan did not account for the additional costs and wondered why this change was left so late in the development of the area.
The only responses received by the Town of Penhold from Alberta Transportation was if the developers were to proceed, the town must give assurance to Alberta Transportation that the intersection will be upgraded to the recommended intersection as outlined in a traffic impact assessment.
On December 11, 2015, the Minister of Transportation sent a letter of response that only reiterated the ministry’s current approach to reviewing development plans and associated traffic impact assessments. The response did not provide any assurance that processes would be updated or clearly communicated to parties.
AUMA rejects this response.