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Mountain View County land use policy changes approved

County reviews the fee simple lands that it retains on an ongoing basis, along with principles as to why those lands are being held

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Council has approved amendments to Policy No. 6308 management of Mountain View County-owned fee simple lands and accepted changes to the related procedure.

The move came by way of motion at a recent regularly scheduled council meeting, with all members of council in attendance.

In accordance with the policy the county reviews the fee simple lands that it retains on an ongoing basis, along with principles as to why those lands are being held. In a recent review of the policy, council identified proposed changes to the policy to clarify the rationale for retaining land.

The updated policy statement now reads: “Mountain View County retains or acquires land assets in the best interest of county residents in an effort to accomplish the strategic principles outlined further within the policy.”

The previous statement stated that lands were acquired and retained “for the benefit of providing county infrastructure, providing community access, compatibility of adjacent land uses, environmental protection, buffer between land uses and financial reserve.”

The updated principles of the policy now state, in part, that, “Lands will not be acquired as a financial reserve tool, but land already owned by the county may be held until direction on the best use is determined by council.

“Council may choose to retain lands that do not meet the above noted principles until such time that funds are required for council-approved infrastructure projects.”

The updated principle regarding community benefit now also states: “Ensure access to lands by the public, provide for a buffer between land uses, and allow for existing use or future development opportunities for recreation and culture initiatives including day use area and parks.”

During the March 8 council meeting, reeve Angela Aalbers said the changes “make the policy a lot stronger.”

Under Procedure No. 6308 - 01, any request for the sale of county-owned fee simple lands must be returned to council for consideration and decision.

“It should always be a public process,” said Coun. Peggy Johnson.

Council unanimously approved the proposed changes to the policy and related procedure.

Meanwhile, a resident survey is in the works by the county to gauge views on future lease policy. The draft survey is expected to be put before council for consideration at an upcoming council meeting.

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