by Calli Stromner
A Council decision to change the zoning of 10 acres of residential land will set the stage for the creation of a new 92-unit medium density housing development in west Morinville. Council unanimously approved Bylaw 15/2014 which amends the zoning of the Landrex-owned property on 107 St. directly across from the Town’s Public Works building.
The previous R-3 zoning allowed for townhouse or small apartment buildings to be erected on the parcel. With the addition of an R-2 and POS zoning, Landrex Developments is able to add 50 side-by-side duplex units and a half-acre park space to the slate of 42 townhouses on the drawing board. Planning and Development Manager Greg Hofmann told Council that while the residential proposal does not have an associated Area Structure Plan, it does conform to the Town’s Future Land Use Concept. “Landrex is concurrently submitting a conceptual scheme for the ASP along with this zoning amendment,” said Hofmann during the Public Hearing that preceded the decision. “We are very supportive of the concept and how it is laid out.”
Morinville residents Donnie Mullen and Paula Hopkins-Mullen spoke against the development during the preceding Public Hearing. He indicated that with the vehicle access to the subdivision coming from 103 Ave, the current cul-de-sac configuration would get congested with an additional potentially 170 vehicles in the area. Landrex representative Jim Sheasgreen replied that the intent of the back lanes in the development was meant to alleviate any parking concerns.
“You may say that there will be adequate parking, but what is our recourse when there is a problem?” asked Hopkins-Mullen. Mayor Lisa Holmes informed the residents that Enforcement Services would be able to deal directly with any parking issues should they arise.
A decision on similar residential development in east Morinville was postponed by Council after numerous residents raised concerns about the housing density and the loss of natural habitat.
The zoning change prescribed in Bylaw 13/2014 would allow Edmonton-based developer Durrance Projects to build a 42-unit residential duplex development on a 3.9-acre parcel between Notre Dame Estates and East Boundary Road. While the land parcel has always been identified as residential in the Grandin Heights Area Structure Plan, the bylaw amendment would change its designation from R-3 Residential to Direct Control. Planning and Development Manager Greg Hofmann said the Direct Control designation would ensure that the property is developed with appropriate road allowances and a park area.
Hofmann indicated that the change in zoning to Direct Control also may impact the ability of adjacent land owners to appeal the residential development however this parcel is also not appropriate for an R-2 Residential zoning designation due to the number of variances that would be required for the subdivided lots. “The current zoning allows for 54 units per hectare,” he said. “However up to 76 units could be built on the 1.4 hectare parcel right now).”
Councillor Gord Putnam made a motion to postpone second reading of the bylaw to place pressure on the developers to answer questions. “I do have a concern that this could substantially alter the intent of the original development,” said Putnam, adding there may be an opportunity to look at a redesign with fewer lots.
Councillor Ladouceur criticized the developers for not attending the Public Hearing and did not support the deferral. Motion for second reading postponed with Ladouceur as the only opposing vote.
Councillor Barry Turner said he would find it easier to make a decision about second reading if the developers were able to provide architectural drawings of what the proposed development looks like and how it fits in with the existing houses in the neighbourhood.
Second reading of Bylaw 13/2014 will not be entertained until Council returns from their summer break on August 26.