On January 1, 2021, the properties in the 112 St. E. area, along with land in the Redtail Rise subdivision and a small piece of land in the southwest, were annexed into the Town of High River.
During the 2010/2011 North Annexation negotiation process, the 112 St. E properties became a topic of discussion between the Town and the County, when some of the property owners expressed a desire to be included in the 2011 annexation application. Some of the concerns expressed during that time that led to the ultimate decision to exclude this area from the 2012 Annexation Application were: lack of public notice; the area was not identified in the 2000 Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) as an area for future urban growth; initial annexation proposal was for the lands west of Highway 2A and eastern portions were not part of the initial application and were added later to the annexation application based on landowners request; and not all of the property owners wanted to be annexed. In addition, time was of the essence to move forward with the annexation application to facilitate the Spitzee Crossing development. Based on these factors, the 112 St. E properties were not included in the 2011 Annexation Application.
During the 2011 Annexation Application negotiation process, the County expressed concerns regarding the fact that these parcels were to remain in the County while the entire right of way for 112 St. E was to be incorporated into the town boundary. The concerns expressed included maintenance of access for these properties and providing for stormwater management.
With the increase in traffic that was anticipated with the new connection between Highway #2A and Highway #2, some landowners indicated that they felt it will significantly change the character of the area and that they would like to explore all available options, including re-designating their parcels to a highway commercial land use zone.
Representatives from both municipalities agreed that a comprehensive approach to the planning of this area is preferred to an ad-hoc approach. As such, as part of the implementation of the 2012 IDP, the Town and the County agreed to jointly undertake a process to facilitate discussions with the landowners in this area regarding annexation.
The residents and property owners of this area have been quite involved in the various planning processes occurring in the area over the past few years, largely due to concerns regarding traffic, drainage, and potential land use changes. Some expressed their interest in becoming part of the Town, and some indicated no interest in any planning activities that might lead to different land uses and alternative traffic circulation within the area.
In addition, in recent years, Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors (ATEC) has made it clear that the “slip ramp,” which currently provides access from Highway #2 southbound into the Town just south of the 112 St. E area, is to be closed as the Highway 543/ Highway 2 interchange is now open and functional. ATEC has, however, acknowledged the current problems with access in the area and has agreed to keep the slip ramp open on a temporary basis. The Town and the County are to propose an appropriate alternative access to the area. By annexing this land, the process of creating a comprehensive transportation and servicing plan through the appropriate planning exercise becomes more realistic.
The subject land was then identified as “Future Annexation Area” (FAA) in the 2012 Intermunicipal Development Plan. The purpose of the FAA designation is to identify land that could be appropriate for the Town to annex in the future.
By taking into consideration all the abovementioned issues, including traffic, access, servicing, land use conflicts and property owners’ interest in being annexed into the Town, together with the location of these subject properties, the Town made the decision to undertake a comprehensive consultation with the property owners prior to making a final decision regarding the annexation of the area.
The Town completed a comprehensive consultation process with the property owners and received 90% support for annexing their properties in the Town, with the exception of one property owner who did not support the annexation proposal and submitted a formal objection to the Town. The land is on the Town side of Highway #2 and is essentially cut off from the rest of the County. Therefore, the subject land logically fits into the Town’s boundaries. In addition, if the land were to be developed for highway commercial or mixed uses, it would blend well with the East Gateway and northeast areas directly south and northwest of the Town.
As such, the Town Council passed the following resolution on February 26, 2018:
Resolution #RC20180226.1005, “THAT Council advise the MD of Foothills and the Country Residential property owners that the Town will be proceeding with an annexation application regarding the properties located between 112 Street E and Highway 2 in the near future”.