What is Annexation?
Annexation is the process for a municipality to expand its boundaries in order to accommodate future growth opportunities. Properties within an annexation area experience a change in jurisdiction from one municipality to another. However, annexation does not change ownership rights and is not necessarily undertaken to facilitate immediate development, but rather to secure lands for future growth and planning.
Why did the Town Propose Annexation?
The Town’s developable land supply is being exhausted, and planning for the projected growth of the community over the next 25 years takes significant time. Annexation will allow the Town to plan and prepare for its future growth needs with confidence by ensuring lands required for future growth are within its jurisdiction.
Annexation is necessary not only to allow the Town of Coaldale to plan for its growing population, but also to continue to facilitate opportunities for commercial and industrial development, and to ensure a mix of land uses that results in a diverse and sustainable municipal tax base into the future.
What Land did the Town consider for Annexation?
In 2014 the Town enlisted the Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC) to prepare a growth study which would determine the Town’s future growth needs over the next 25 years. The study determined that Coaldale has a limited supply of developable lands left available to satisfy future growth and that the lands identified in the annexation proposal are required to meet the Town’s growth needs into the future.
How Much Land was the Town Proposing for Annexation?
The amount of land the Town proposed for annexation was just under 9 quarter sections, which is roughly equal to 1420 acres, or 574.5 hectares.
Who made the final decision?
After all other steps in the process were completed, the Municipal Government Board (MGB) made a final recommendation, and the Province made the final decision.
What role did the landowners play in the process?
The Town was committed to ensuring that all potentially affected landowners had an opportunity to be fully informed. All potentially affected landowners were invited to take a brief survey and provide feedback regarding the annexation proposal.
After the Town filed its notification of intent to annex lands with the Municipal Government Board, a series of open houses and landowner consultations were held.
Will annexed landowners be able to use their lands in the same way they had prior to annexation?
Annexed landowners will be able to continue using their lands in the same manner as they do prior to annexation. However, if a landowner that is annexed was using their lands for a purpose not permitted or approved by the County, and if the use is not grandfathered from previous land use regulations, the Town may or may not allow the use to continue.
Can annexed landowners keep livestock?
If annexed lands were previously permitted to have livestock of a certain number and type as per the County’s Land Use Bylaw, the same rules will apply once the lands are annexed.
When will development occur on annexed lands?
It is entirely up to annexed landowners if and when development occurs on their lands.
How will annexed lands be zoned?
In accordance with the Municipal Government Act (MGA), Lethbridge County’s Land Use Bylaw (LUB) will continue to regulate lands annexed into the Town until the LUB for the Town is amended to accommodate the newly annexed lands. Such amendments would be transparent and include multiple opportunities for annexed landowners to participate.
The Town is committed to ensuring all land uses the County had previously permitted through the County LUB may continue to be carried out based on the amendments made to the Town’s LUB.
Will services the County currently provides be affected once lands are annexed?
At a minimum, the Town would seek to provide the same level of municipal services to annexed landowners as the County had previously provided.
Will taxes increase on annexed lands?
Common practice regarding the taxation of recently annexed lands is to provide landowners a period of time (usually a number of years) where they would continue to be taxed at the County rate, or until a ‘triggering event’ may be undertaken by a landowner. An example of a triggering event used in other recent annexations is a landowner subdividing or rezoning their property, ceasing to use agricultural lands for farming, or connecting to Town services. The Town will provide annexed landowners a tax transition program whereby County tax rates will continue to apply for a set period of time, or until a triggering event takes place. Specifics of such a program have not been developed yet and the Town looks forward to input from landowners on this matter.