By Greg Price
Barnwell council has rejected a request to have a large sign from Rowland Seeds to be put up on one of the village’s service road right of ways.
Diane Horvath, planning advisor for Barnwell outlined options for council at its Nov. 21 meeting, if they were to allow or not allow the 25×25-foot sign.
“As it turns out from a planning perspective, you can’t issue a permit on a road right of way. It needs to be a parcel of land. It would have to be a council decision on whether or not you would allow something to be erected within the road right of way,” said Horvath. “There’s been a lot of back and forth because this is a service road that is adjacent to Highway 3A. With many discussions back and forth with Alberta Transportation, it has been determined that the service road that is currently there that is utilized by Rowland Seeds is technically under the control and jurisdiction of the municipality.”
Any time you put something on a road right of way, Horvath noted liability concerns that have to be addressed. Given the huge size of the sign that was requested, there would be significant piles that would have to be put in.
“Knowing that if anyone were to go off that highway and onto the right of way and bang into that sign, the liability would fall to the municipality,” said Horvath.
The sign could be allowed along with the village liability, or Horvath gave another option that the village could close the right of way service road to public transportation and lease it to Roland Seeds.
“It would be a piece of property and wouldn’t be a roadway anymore. It would be considered kind of a titled property, but it wouldn’t relieve the municipality of the liability,” said Horvath. “A third option would be to close the road, sell it and divest yourself of it. It would then be turned into a parcel of land that would have been sold to Rowland Seeds where they would determine what the price of it would be after survey and consolidation costs. Then they would be putting a sign on their own property.”
Instead, council voted unanimously for the fourth option in rejecting the request outright.
Mayor Del Bodnarek noted Rowland Seeds already has signage out in the Barnwell area, where the latest request far exceeded the village’s size parameters for allowable signage in their bylaws for land under their jurisdiction.
“If you look at the picture with what is proposed. With the truck and the sign, the truck looks like a little miniature toy,” said Deb Hansen, councillor for the Village of Barnwell.
“They keep saying they are not a business, they are the only elevator in Barnwell — they already have two signs. I don’t see why they need a 25×25 sign that doesn’t meet our current bylaws. That’s my thinking,” added Bodnarek, adding if the area in question were sold to Roland Seeds, the village would lose access to it, which could be used for things like truck parking.
A motion was passed unanimously to decline Roland Seeds’ request to put up a sign on the right of way in question that is under Barnwell jurisdiction.
Robin Hansen was absent from the Nov. 21 Barnwell council meeting.