Growth Study: Frequently asked questions

Last updated: May. 12, 2017 at 2:29 PM

1. What is a Growth Study?

The Growth Study projects Spruce Grove's future growth over a 50-year period ending in 2067, and determines how much land is needed to accommodate that growth (both inside and outside of the City's current boundaries). The Growth Study looks at both short and long-term growth projections, contemplates different types of growth (i.e. residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional), and provides an assessment of future needs. The Growth Study also acknowledges regional density targets and presents preliminary future land use assumptions. The Growth Study is available here PDF.

2. What is an Annexation Financial Impact Assessment?

An Annexation Financial Impact Assessment determines the financial impacts associated with growth. In the case of the City, the Financial Impact Assessment will address the financial impacts within the current City boundary and the expansion areas over a 25-year period ending in 2042. The analysis includes forecasted costs, recoveries, assessment, and tax impacts associated with the combined area of the current City and the expansion areas, and also consider the financial impact on: (1) the City; (2) the County; (3) the Town; and (4) landowners within the expansion areas. The Financial Impact Assessment will be finalized once accepted as information by City Council after receiving data from Stony Plain and Parkland County.

3. Why did Spruce Grove prepare a Growth Study?

The City of Spruce Grove has a policy that it will maintain a 25-year supply of lands for future residential, commercial and industrial growth. The City commissioned its own internal land consumption analysis report in 2013, which concluded that its land supply had fallen below this level.

4. According to the Growth Study, how much land does Spruce Grove require to accommodate its growth over the next 50 years?

The Growth Study determined that the City requires 1,426 hectares (22.5 quarter sections) of additional land in order to meet its growth needs for the next 50 years.

5. What lands did the Growth Study consider for City expansion?

The study area generally included lands from 1.6 km (1.0 mi) north of Highway 16 in the north to 1.6 km (1.0 mi) south of Highway 628 in the south. Spruce Valley Road (Range Road 265) and the east edge of the Wagner Natural Area were selected as the eastern boundary of the study area south of Highway 16. In the northeast and northwest, the study area included lands 0.8 km (0.5 mi) east of Highway 44 and west of Highway 779 respectively. The study area also included the entirety of Stony Plain. A map illustrating the study area is available here PDF.

6. What land uses are intended for the City's proposed expansion areas?

The small proposed expansion area currently within the Town of Stony Plain to the west is proposed for residential and commercial development. Within Parkland County, residential and commercial development is proposed for future expansion areas adjacent to the Town of Stony Plain and to the southeast of the current City limit. Lands adjacent to the rail line as well as the majority of lands immediately south of the City extending to Highway 628 are proposed for future industrial use. A map illustrating the proposed future land uses is available here PDF .

7. What steps will take place now that the Growth Study has been approved by City Council?

The Growth Study recommends specific directions for the City for future residential, commercial, and industrial growth. The City will enter into discussions with the County, the Town, landowners and affected stakeholders as to how to address the City's growth needs through the annexation process.

8. What is annexation?

Annexation is the legal process associated with changing a municipal boundary, when, for example, land located in a County is transferred to the jurisdiction of a City to accommodate growth.

9. What is the Municipal Government Board and what is its role in an annexation?

The Municipal Government Board (MGB) is an independent board established under the Municipal Government Act. Its members are provincially appointed. The MGB's role in annexations is to:

  1. Conduct public hearing(s) relating to the annexation if any objections are received on the proposed annexation, which allows any affected party to appear at the hearing to make submissions; and
  2. Prepare a report with its recommendations on the proposed annexation and send it to the Minister of Municipal Affairs for Cabinet to consider in making its decision.

10. If Spruce Grove proceeds with annexation, how long will the process take?

Once the City submits a notice of intent to annex to the Municipal Government Board and serves it on the County, Town and affected stakeholders, the annexation process is expected to take approximately two years. The annexation process can occur quickly when all parties (City, County, Town, landowners) are in agreement, but can take longer if there is disagreement among the affected parties. The annexation process includes consultations with landowners, the public and other affected stakeholders, negotiation and mediation with Parkland County and the Town of Stony Plain, and possibly a public hearing in front of the Municipal Government Board.

11. What role do landowners play in the annexation process?

The City is committed to ensuring that all affected landowners and mineral rights owners have an opportunity to be fully informed. Owners with property located within the proposed annexation areas will be engaged through landowner meetings so that their questions regarding annexation can be raised and the potential impacts of annexation discussed. Owners are also encouraged to contact the City's Project Lead by email Email to ask questions and provide comments.

12. What role do City residents play in the annexation process?

The City is committed to ensuring that Spruce Grove residents have an opportunity to be fully informed about the annexation process. Residents are encouraged to attend future public open houses through newspaper advertisements and the City's website, Residents are also encouraged to contact the City's Project Lead by email Email to ask questions and provide comments.

13. If the City proceeds with annexation and the boundaries are adjusted, how will landowners in the expansion areas be impacted?

The City will review the services being provided by the County and Town to their respective impacted landowners and assess whether these services are consistent with those provided to existing City residents. Once assessed, a decision will be made whether existing County/Town services will be maintained or amended. The City of Spruce Grove currently provides an equitable level of service to all residents.

14. If annexation is approved, will landowners in the expansion areas be able to continue using their land in the same manner? Will they be forced to develop their land?

Owners within the annexation area will be able to continue to use their land in the same manner as prior to annexation, subject to City bylaws. It will be up to owners when and whether to develop their land.

15. If annexation is approved, will property taxes for land in the expansion areas increase?

It is too early to tell what the exact tax implications of annexation will be. To assist landowners with the transition from County/Town tax rates to the City of Spruce Grove's tax rates, the City will request that conditions of annexation approval require that land be taxed at the lower of the tax rates established by the County/Town and City for a certain period of years, subject to certain triggering events. This type of arrangement has been successfully implemented in other jurisdictions. The details respecting transition of taxation will be the subject of negotiation between the City and County/Town.

16. If annexation is approved, will the tax revenues of Parkland County and the Town of Stony Plain decrease?

The Financial Impact Assessment will determine the implications of annexation on the tax bases of all the affected municipalities. In the case of the County, it will lose some tax revenue due to the annexation, but it will also have associated reduced expenditures. Tax impacts on the County, if any, will be considered through annexation negotiations. The same applies in the case of the Town of Stony Plain.

17. Will expansion of Spruce Grove impair Parkland County's and Stony Plain's ability to grow?

When the Municipal Government Board evaluates annexation applications, it gives serious consideration to the impacts on all of the affected municipalities. One of the Board's principles is that "Accommodation of growth by all municipalities (urban or rural) must be accomplished without encumbering the initiating municipality and the responding municipality's ability to achieve rational growth directions." The City has endeavoured to determine the proposed expansion areas so as to not impair future growth opportunities in the County and Town.

18. What are the opportunities to participate in the process?

The City will be hosting a series of open houses and information sessions in the spring. The details of public events will be advertised in the media and landowners will be contacted.

19. How can I stay informed? Who do I contact if I have any questions?

Updates will be posted on the City's website at www.sprucegrove.org/growthstudy and in local media. In addition, affected landowners will be kept informed by mail as the process moves forward. For more information, contact:

  • Sue Armstrong, City Project Lead (780.962.7582 or by email Email) for technical inquiries and public/landowner information requests; or
  • Jennifer Hetherington, Manager of Corporate Communications (780.962.7612 or by emailEmail) for media inquiries.