Bylaw change gives apartment proposal the go ahead

A new 39-unit apartment is being contemplated for Morinville's downtown core.

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – A proposed three-storey, 39-unit seniors’ apartment building in Morinville’s downtown area got the go ahead Tuesday night to move a little closer to reality after Morinville Town Council voted unanimously in favour of second and third reading on an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw. The amendment allows a change in density to the area where Savenay Builders Ltd. is looking to build an apartment building on three lots north of the Notre Dame Apartments. Previous land use zoning allowed for a 31-unit apartment building, a situation that necessitated a change in the bylaw to permit an additional eight units.

Concil had given first reading to the bylaw amendment at their Jan. 10 meeting. Prior to giving second and third reading Tuesday night, Council held a public hearing on the matter.

Developer Bob Chauvet said his proposed development would be a pet-friendly seniors’ apartment building composed of eight bachelor units, eight two-bedroom units, and the remaining 23 units being one-bedroom apartments. Chauvet said the units would range from 500 to 1,000 square feet, each designed to be affordable for seniors.

No letters were received from the public on the development and no one at the hearing opted to speak either in favour of or in opposition to the development.

Morinville’s Director of Planning and Development, Greg Hoffman, said his department was in support of the amendment. “We are of the opinion that it is compatible and can be accommodated on the site,” Hoffman told the hearing.

In discussion the matter prior to second and third reading, Mayor Lloyd Bertschi expressed his concern regarding parking for the facility should the development shift to general accommodations apartment building down the road. Seniors’ apartments require parking in a one stall per unit ratio. “This is our only kick at this,” Bertschi said. “That’s why we have to get down into some of the concerns that do not involve this specific part of it.”

Other members of council were of a similar mind; however, after further discussion it was noted Council was only voting on amending the density. Parking requirements would be part of the development permit for the proposed development.
The location for the proposed development is land designated Downtown Transitional, a classification that allows (on a limited and site specific basis) a variety of commercial, residential, institutional and recreational uses. The proposed apartment building would be designed in keeping with the existing convent area in order to maintain the historical look and field of that part of downtown Morinville.

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