Airdrie's building inspection fees to increase
Airdrie City council briefs: From the Dec. 3 meeting
Council passed its building inspection fees bylaw, which will see fees increase by about $145,000 per year, Dec. 3.
The bylaw was tabled at two previous council meetings on Sept. 4, to allow input from area builders and trades, and Nov. 19, when council passed second reading.
Alderman Allan Hunter was the sole member of council to vote against the changes, saying the fees would be passed onto consumers.
“This is a wake up call, government is growing in leaps and bounds, they expand, they grow, but who is actually paying for that?” he said. “It is you and me. The idea that we are a credit card that is unlimited, someone has to put an end to it.”
After reviewing permit and inspection fees for new and renovated buildings earlier this year, City of Airdrie staff recommended several be amended to reflect costs and remain competitive with a number of other municipalities such as Calgary, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Rocky View County.
The bylaw includes a new fee of $4,000 to offset the cost of administration, inspections, monitoring and coordination with the RCMP, Alberta Health Services and Airdrie Fire Services involved with grow ops.
Hunter expressed concern over the fee, saying homes turned into grow ops are often rented out in good faith.
“Let’s not victimize property owners twice,” he said.
Overall, the changes will increase permit fees by four per cent, an average of $70 per home.
Inspection fees in Airdrie will increase from $1,680 to $1,750. Similar houses in Calgary and Rocky View would be inspected for $2,302 and $1,735 respectively. Minimum fees on any inspection of permit increased from $60 to $80.
City council unanimously gave first reading to an amendment of the King’s Heights Neighbourhood Structure Plan.
If approved, the amendments will allow for redesignation of portions of the community from large, single-family lots and two multi-family sites to smaller single-family lots, which range from 32 to 34-foot wide lots and 26 to 38-foot parcels.
According to a staff report, the developer believes the modifications will allow it to respond to current market demands.
If approved, the overall density per acre will decrease from 7.8 units per acre to 7.7.
Alderman Glenda Alexander expressed concern about the proposed amendment, citing lack of parking and a decrease in multi-family housing.
Mayor Peter Brown said the plan was as good one.
“I don’t mind a little less density,” he said. “I think it is an excellent plan and I am looking forward to supporting it,” he said.
The matter will return for a public hearing and second and third readings at a future council meeting.
COP funding request
Airdrie City council directed staff to look into funding options for the Airdrie’s Citizens on Patrol Society (COPS).
The move came after council received a letter from the group, which takes a proactive role in reducing crime in Airdrie by reporting suspicious activities and potentially unsafe conditions to the RCMP, asking for $4,000 in annual, ongoing funding.
“I would like to speak on behalf of the Airdrie COP,” said Alexander. “I don’t think we fully understand the difference they have made. They are definitely an asset to our community and they do have to go out and beg for pennies and nickels and dimes and fuel for their vehicles.”
According to the letter, dated Nov. 12, the COPS program began operation in September of 1996. The society, made up of volunteers, partners with the RCMP. COPS members patrol the community in pairs using their personal vehicles. The letter stated the group expects its members will have travelled an estimated 11,000 kilometres in 2012 and put in about 1,250 volunteer hours. Annual operating expenses are in the range of $5,000 to $6,000 per year and include insurance, fuel, safety equipment, batteries, radios, flashlights, jackets, office supplies and membership with the Alberta Citizens on Patrol Association.
The matter will return to council at an undetermined future date.
City council members signed a petition started by local residents in support of an Airdrie woman, being called “Arizona,” who recently had her court case against her alleged childhood abuser thrown out of court because of delays.
The group sent the petition, asking for legislation that would prevent courts from throwing out cases involving minors, to council asking aldermen and the mayor to not only endorse it, but be the first to sign it.
In a letter, the group stated they will be visiting as many cities in Alberta as possible in hopes of having the laws changed and victims compensated.
Once complete, the group will ask as many residents as possible to present the petition at the Alberta Legislature.