Opinion Column

Lacombe supports economic development

 Mayor Steve Christie/City of Lacombe

The City of Lacombe has many great opportunities for economic growth, and continues to work with developers to attract new business and promote our community as an excellent central location within the province to introduce both new ventures and expand existing commercial enterprises. Council and City administration are both very supportive and welcome new development applications.

 

There are a variety of development opportunities in Lacombe, including but not limited to industrial, commercial and residential lands. These opportunities comprise of privately owned lands within city boundaries, including a number of in-fill areas, recently approved locations and areas that are currently proceeding through the planning process. City-owned land is available within the Len Thompson II subdivision and is zoned for industrial use.

It is important to note that business owners prepare their own business models and perform their own market research and evaluations when deciding whether a particular location will meet their requirements and support their business objectives. The City provides information and support where it can to assist and encourage new development and commerce; however, it has no influence over who does, or does not, decide to establish a venture on privately owned development land in Lacombe.

The City of Lacombe acts as a regulatory body when processing a variety of applications, including but not limited to rezoning applications, bylaw amendments, subdivision, development, building and secondary permits for residents and land developers who seek to build according to zoning and land use parameters in an area within city limits.

Council establishes and implements the regulations laid out in the City’s Land Use Bylaw (LUB). This is a legislative requirement of the Government of Alberta that establishes the building and development regulations that affect a parcel of land.

Regulations include the use of the land for a specific purpose (residential, commercial, industrial), the type of use that can occur (e.g. a single family home versus an apartment building), and how the parcel can be developed (height maximums, parcel coverage, building setbacks from the property line, parking and landscaping, etc.). The LUB also sets the guidelines for reviewing development applications.

Council has approved a new LUB that has in many cases simplified the application process, often reducing the length of time to process permits, and with fewer applications requiring the approval of the Municipal Planning Commission. For example, if a business application requires a variance of 10 per cent or less for parking requirements, Planning Services staff can approve the application. Staff also has the authority to approve variances of up to 10 per cent for various regulations including setbacks, floor areas, etc. Changes to the LUB also included adding more permitted uses to the land use districts. Subdivision applications are also approved by staff when area structure or outline plans are in place.

As mayor, I remain committed to showcasing Lacombe as one of the best opportunities for entrepreneurs to begin or expand their business, and will continue to promote our city as a progressive community that welcomes and supports new enterprise and sustainable economic growth. 



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