On Wednesday (April 13), Foothills County council held a hearing on a rezoning request that saw growing opposition from residents over the past few weeks.
The request would see the rezoning of a 67-acre parcel parallel to 258 Ave, on what is referred to as the 'Well Water Hill.'
It was met with fervor from many residents, who were concerned over the 'Old Macleod Trail' historic site running through the area, the potential effect on residential water, and increased traffic, among other things.
A petition was started in opposition to the development was started, and a meeting was held in the De WInton community hall to discuss the implications of the rezoning.
Among those in attendance were the landowner as well as the applicant agent who addressed a few of the concerns raised with some possible alternatives, including limiting structures to bungalows with restricted heights so as to not obscure the view of residents and making sure the Old Macleod Trail marker remained untouched.
Over a dozen residents also signed up to speak at the hearing, with a majority showing opposition to the development for a number of reasons.
One resident felt the development couldn't feasibly be consistent with De Winton's existing homes.
"He's basically taking 258 Avenue and dropping a subdivision on it. 'Here's 12 houses all in a row, side by side.' A lot of those properties are fairly narrow, all you're going to get is house, house, house, house, house. That is not what's on 28th Avenue, that is not in line with what's existing there."
Many showed concern over the water contamination and supply, especially concerning the increase in demand that would arise with more residences.
"I know in July and August when things start drying up, we run out of water as it is, we are getting less than one gallon per minute, it's not a great idea to come and just plop down another 12 houses when we're already struggling with this stuff and I don't think an adequate water testing can be done outside of the summer months because right now were facing all the runoff and frost coming out of the ground. The only time you can get an adequate idea of what the real threat is sometime in the summer."
Another major sentiment was the emotional value tied to the hill, its legacy, and the idyllic rural landscape that characterizes the hamlet.
"The charm would be completely destroyed by a row of mansions on the hill. We came here to escape the city, the proposed development will just teleport us back into the city. There are other places to make a quick buck, not De Winton."
Council ultimately voted to deny the rezoning.
The decision was celebrated by the opposing residents, with an update to the petition lauding council's decision and thanking those who voiced their opinions to council.