County of Stettler moves ahead on clearing Buffalo Sands unsightly premises

The County of Stettler authorized staff to move ahead with clearing unsightly premises near Buffalo Lake. 

The decision was made at the Sept. 9 regular meeting of council, broadcast live on YouTube to meet pandemic guidelines.

Councillors read a memo from Lee Hardman, manager of protective services, which began, “Protective Services requests authorization to proceed with a cleanup of the nuisance/unsightly properties located at lots 11-14 Block 2 Plan 0522242 (49, 51, 53 & 55 Buffalo Lane), Buffalo Sands.

“On June 22, 2020 several unsightly property complaints were filed with Protective Services located at (Lots 11-14 Block 2 Plan 0522242 [49, 51, 53 & 55] Buffalo Lane, Buffalo Sands). 

“The concerns for the lots was the length of grass. Upon site inspection of the lots it was determined the lots were not in compliance with the County of Stettler Nuisance Bylaw. 

“The owner of the four lots in question belong to the same person residing in Calgary.

“A Remedial Order was sent to the property owner to bring the lots into compliance. 

“On July 29, 2020 a subsequent inspection was conducted finding no change to the condition of all the lots. 

“On July 30 a Municipal Government Act Order under Section 546 of the Municipal Government Act was sent to the property owner. 

“On August 20, 2020 a letter from the property owner was received by Protective Services outlining that he is unable to complete the action of cutting the grass on the lots due to health reasons.

“Lots are still not in compliance, therefore bringing the matter forward to council to proceed with a cleanup of the lots.”

Hardman provided councillors with a copy of the letter sent to the property owners in question, Filippo & Yolanda Difranco, dated July 30, 2020.

Hardman also supplied several photos staff took of the unsightly property. All of the properties are located in a row.

At the meeting, staff stated this incident included only mowing of grass and hence didn’t need things like court orders. 

Also, it was noted, staff need a council resolution to enter onto the properties in question.

Coun. Cheri Neitz stated there was a discrepancy in naming the unsightly lots’ location during some of the discussion, and added that it should have stated “Estates” and not “Heights.”

Coun. Les Stulberg stated situations like this are a hazard to other residents, as once it dries up in the fall tall grass like that becomes a serious fire hazard.

Councillors unanimously gave the Protective Services department permission to proceed with enforcement.

Photo: Lots 11-14 Block 2 Plan 0522242 (49, 51, 53 & 55) Buffalo Lane, Buffalo Sands had public complaints filed for tall grass. ECA Review/Submitted

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/East Central Alberta Review