Subdividing a 156-acre parcel into two lots could open an opportunity for two distinctly different agricultural operations to expand.
The property in question is at 23500 64 Ave., on the southeast corner of 232 Street and 64 Avenue. It is bordered by these two roads, Tall Timbers Golf Course and a suburban residential subdivision.
If approved by the Agricultural Land Commission, the property, which is owned by Lori Morris, would be divided into two lots, one 85 acres in size, the other 71 acres. The minimum lot size here is 19.8 acres.
The subdivision application was opposed by Councillors Charlie Fox, Steve Ferguson and Kim Richter on Monday. Council rejected Ferguson’s bid to have the Agricultural Advisory Committee study the application.
The Morris family maintain a working farm status on the property, with various farm leases, including equestrian facilities currently leased by former Olympic equestrian Laura Balisky and her husband Brent.
A report to council notes that the Baliskys would like to buy the land they are currently leasing.
Another part of the subject lands is a field which was leased for many years to hay farmers. For the past six years, the field has been cultivated for raspberries.
However, because of wet soil and poor drainage, the raspberries have suffered root rot, and the farmer will not renew his lease.
There is interest in that field from the farmers who grow blueberries on the west side of 232 Street.
In a letter outlining her intentions, the owner told the Township that dividing the land “would allow both the equestrian lessee and the blueberry farmer to potentially purchase the respective parcels at a more economical size and carry on their two distinct agricultural operations. As working owners, they would better ensure an ongoing viable farming business.”
Staff report that the application complies with both the Agriculture/Countryside element of the Township’s Rural Plan and Zoning Bylaw.