Stirling's haunted house is safe for the foreseeable future.
Public discussion has closed on the fate of Stirling's Haunted Mansion, but the village won't make a decision on how to designate the property until at least late next month.
Earlier this fall, the haunted mansion's owners applied for a licence to continue running their business from their spookified home, causing controversy among neighbours who didn't want to see the three-acre lot near their homes turned into a commercial zone.
After a series of public meetings on the issue, councillors met Nov. 21 and asked village administration to take another look at the proposed "direct control" bylaw before them and make some changes to address some of concerns they heard from the public.
"There's a list of about 40 concerns that we'll be looking at," said Mike Selk, Stirling's assistant chief administrative officer.
Among those concerns are objections to the proposed direct control bylaw itself, as some neighbours believe such a legislation would exempt the Haunted Mansion from following existing bylaws.
As a result, council discussed the possibility of granting a temporary development permit to mansion owners Richard and Gloria Reimer.
"That's one of the things that will probably be coming forward," Selk said.
No specific date has been set for another council meeting on the subject, but the earliest the issue could come back before council would be in late December, Selk said.
Owner Richard Reimer said he's optimistic council will work out a solution that allows him to continue operating his haunted house year-round.
"I would say it went extremely positive in our favour," he said, explaining he's realized most of his neighbours don't have any objections to the haunted house itself, only the proposed bylaw.
"There was almost no anti-haunted house thing going on. It was all just anti- this rezoning package, which is what the village came up with to keep us in existence because they said that there was no other way to keep us alive. But then they've come up with this third option, this (permit), so I think one way or another, they want to keep us."
The rezoning request came about after the Reimers discovered, when they went to renew their business licence this year, that the village had no record of them ever having had a business licence due to "some foul-up" at the village office, Reimer said.
Reimer and his wife moved into the early 1900s-era mansion 12 years ago and first started playing up its inherent scare factor with well-placed Halloween decorations to delight friends. Over the years, the Haunted Mansion has morphed into a tourist attraction, bringing thousands of visitors from across Alberta to Stirling, pop. 1,000, each Halloween season.