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On March 15, Red Deer County Planning and Development staff, along with elected officials and the County Manager, held an open house at the Penhold Multiplex to discuss an Intermunicipal Development Plan slated for consideration.An Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) is a long-range planning tool used to facilitate coordinated planning between two or more municipalities. In this case, Red Deer County and the Town of Penhold are involved. IDP documents are used to make recommendations to Council for the management of land use within the plan boundaries, and to address the future growth needs of the municipalities involved. It provides a framework for land use planning between municipalities, leading to enhanced regional cooperation and collaboration.An IDP generally includes:
*A mutually agreed upon plan area.
*A common vision for the plan area as well as goals and objectives.
*A generalized land use concept that provides direction for future growth for both municipalities.
*A framework for communication and consultation allowing opportunities for the sharing of resources and the reduction of costs to provide municipal and community services.Initial conversations for the IDP began in August of 2016. Then, a draft plan document was created between October 2016 and January 2017. Two public open houses were the held on November 23 of 2016, and March 15 of 2017. Once public input is taken into account, an IDP bylaw will be brought to both Councils for consideration in the Spring of 2017.Considerations for any IDP include planning legislation (such as the Municipal Government Act), existing plans (such as Municipal Development Plans), and public input – both written and verbal. A major focus of the IDP will be the growth of Penhold. Once the Town’s growth area has been annexed, the Town’s development will occur according to Penhold’s Municipal Development Plan. Future Town growth should not be encouraged until the lands within this area have been annexed by the Town.Existing agriculture occurring within the agriculture/rural area will be allowed to continue over the long term, and subdivision for non-agricultural purposes will be discouraged. Subdivision of first parcel out farmsteads or fragmented parcels may be allowed in the agriculture/rural area in accordance with the County Municipal Development Plan. New confined feeding/intensive livestock operations or the expansion of existing operations within the plan area will not be supported by either the Town or the County.According to County Manager Curtis Herzberg, “Both municipalities will work together to ensure a strong and stable local economy within the region. We will work to attract agriculture and value-added agricultural activity to the local area, and explore ways of providing services to area residents in the most cost effective manner.”Stay tuned to Red Deer County News for more updates on this important IDP.