Lacombe County council is considering an encroachment agreement after a resident asked to purchase an unused road allowance adjacent to his property.
Jerry Bauer has requested council close an unused portion of Township Road 41-2 and allow him to purchase the land rather than move structures, one being the mobile home where Bauer resides and an industrial shop which would need to be destroyed, moved and rebuilt.
In May of 1995, Bauer received permission to build a shed and place a mobile home on his property south of the road allowance. In July of the same year, he received permission to lease the unused road allowance with the lease expiring in 1998.
Bauer also attempted to purchase the unused road allowance, but his request was denied in May of 1996. When the lease expired, council had adopted a policy where they no longer leased such road allowances within the County.
Technically, Bauer has been squatting on the road allowance property since, said County Commissioner Terry Hager. He added in Bauer’s 1996 application to purchase the land, he included a map that showed his mobile home outside of his property limits and encroaching on the undeveloped road allowance.
“It would appear that Mr. Bauer was aware of the property boundaries and placed the mobile home and the shop on the undeveloped road allowance,” said Hager. “It appears that Mr. Bauer has shown little regard for the land use bylaw.”
When Bauer’s property was assessed this summer, it was noted that a new shop was being constructed which appeared to be encroaching on the unused road allowance to the north and Bauer’s mobile home was almost entirely situated on the road allowance as well.
Bauer was then asked to remove the unauthorized buildings. While he admitted he built onto the unused road admittance, he asked council to find it in their hearts to allow him to continue occupying the land. Bauer said when he began construction of his new shop a few years ago, he ended up purchasing a larger unit than originally planned and needed to move the building north so it could be erected on flat ground. He said at that time, his mobile home had been on the road allowance for 15 years with no issue, so he did not think it would raise any concerns.
Councillor Dana Kreil commented on how unlikely it is the road allowance would ever be used to build a road. She said it would cost too much to build the road straight as there is a large, steep hill in the way.
Hager admitted County administration acknowledges it is unlikely that a road will ever be built on the allowance, but said this does not give Bauer license to build on the allowance. He added administration believes Bauer to be responsible for his situation.
“I’m not arguing that point, that we would probably never build that road,” said Hager. “That in itself doesn’t make someone else entitled to use it.”
Hager said according to policy, there is little reason to consider Bauer’s request to purchase the land. Hager added his recommendation is Bauer be directed to remove the unauthorized buildings. Council voted in favour to table the issue.