by Colin Smith
Morinville may see some novel types of development if amendments to the Land Use Bylaw are adopted.
At the January 28 regular meeting of Town Council, first reading was passed on Bylaw 2/2020, which would amend the Land Use Bylaw.
The amendment would add a new land use category, the Residential Mixed Form (R-X) District, which could promote more affordable development.
Intended for greenfield (previously unused lands) and infill areas, a low-density mixed-form district allowing various types of housing.
It would remove minimum site areas and width requirements, allowing for the development of so-called skinny homes.
“The current standard land use districts cannot meet current market,” Development Planner Tyler McNabb said in a presentation to Council about the bylaw. “Developers have been relying on site-specific direct-control districts.”
He said the R-X district would allow developers to act quickly to adapt to market trends.
He said the district designation has been discussed and commented on by all Morinville’s major developers, and if approved will probably be first used in the Westwinds in Morinville development.
Permitted housing in these districts, in addition to single detached dwellings, would include duplexes (side-by-side and stacked), ground-orientated multiple units and secondary suites. Home offices and minor home occupations would be allowed.
Discretionary uses, with the permission of the Development Officer, include bed and breakfast establishments, child day homes, group homes, and major home occupations.
McNabb pointed out that Morinville is the only municipality without R-X zoning.
“I wholehearted support this,” said Councillor Lawrence Giffin, after moving first reading of the bylaw. I think that it’s something we’ve been missing for a while. It will spur development, so I’m in favour of it.”
“I think it’s about time we caught up with everyone else,” Councillor Sarah Hall said.
The proposed R-X district would potentially help to meet Morinville’s Greenfield Density and Intensification targets, as well as aligning with policies and objectives of the Edmonton Metropolitan Regional Growth Plan.
A public hearing on the R-X district amendment is to take place at the February 25 Council meeting.
At that meeting, Council may also give the bylaw second and third readings.