Morinville Council Overrides Policy to Approve Flooring Centre Growth

Above: Concept drawing for the expansion of Morinville Flooring on 101 Avenue. 

by Colin Smith

Morinville Flooring Centre will be able to go ahead with a proposed expansion of its business premises after town council members approved a development permit application at their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 11.

In doing so, they rejected a recommendation from the administration to deny the application based on its misalignment with the Coeur de Morinville Area Structure Plan and a deficiency in on-site parking.

The business has been owned and operated Anthony and Teresita Thompson since 1998, with their first dedicated outlet on 100 Street.

They later moved to their current location in a renovated autobody repair shop at 10310-101 Avenue.

The development permit application was to expand the existing 432-square–metre (4,654 feet) building, adding about 270 square metres (about 2,906 square feet) to bring it to about 702 square metres (7,556.3 square feet).

The intent is to use the added space to store flooring products and it would enable the removal of the three sea cans now outside the building.

The lot on which the building stands is zoned as Direct Control-Transition (DC-T), which means that council is the development authority and makes the decision on whether or not a development permit application is approved.

At the June 11 meeting a public hearing was convened during which Development Planner Anshu Gupta set out the specifics of the development permit application.

Her report stated that the intensification of the property’s current commercial use is inconsistent with its location in the Coeur de Morinville, whose structure plan adopted in 2013 calls for the area to transition to medium to high-density residential development.

Additionally, the expanded business would require 16 parking stalls rather than the current six, which were not provided for in the development permit application. The policy for the Coeur de Morinville area is that minimum off-street parking requirements should not be waived or varied.

As a result, the administration recommendation was that the development permit application be refused.

During the discussion of the application after the public hearing, Morinville Economic Development Manager T.J. Auer made it clear that in the case of a Direct Control-Transition zone property council could set whatever direction it wanted.

Councillor Ray White then proposed a motion that the application be accepted.

“I think it’s commendable that he’s done something to get rid of the sea cans and improve the visuals of the property,” White said.

A number of council members expressed concern about the restrictions of the Coeur de Morinville plan.

“I feel like the Coeur de Morinville is being too much of a hindrance in certain circumstances,” said Councillor Maurice St. Denis.

Added White, “I know the Coeur de Morinville Plan has its flaws, but I think it’s important to make variances. We need a reputation as a council that supports business.”

The motion to approve the development permit passed unanimously.

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