City staff are budgeting time for an all-day public hearing on September 17 for a proposed 60-unit development in Upper Arrow Heights, anticipating significant public input into the city plan to rezone parcels on Hay Road from single family residential to a new comprehensive development zone.
The zoning change and official community plan amendment is needed to allow the proposed Stoked Living development to proceed.
At their August 11 meeting, city council approved second reading of bylaw amendments that will enable the development, which includes single family homes, townhouses and rental row housing.
Watch council discussion of the proposed Stoked Living development from their Aug. 11 meeting. The video is cued to the start of discussion on the item.
Since council discussed first reading of the bylaw on July 28, staff clarified some points in a report and in discussion.
The developers are required to dedicate 5% of the development for parkland, but the current proposal contains only 3.1% for parks. Developers can pay cash in lieu of the required parkland dedication. Staff said they are working on details to be presented in the public hearing package. In a report, staff said they were exploring options for expanding the sidewalk into a “multi-modal” transportation network.
A report from the city’s advisory planning commission said the commission was generally supportive of the development, but had concerns about impact on nearby agricultural land reserve property, a lack of comprehensive planning around pedestrian networks in the neighbourhood, and concerns about on-street parking.
City staff also said they’d adjusted a housing agreement related to the rental housing, extending it by two years from 10 to 12. The change came after questions from councillors at a late July meeting. At the Aug. 11 council meeting, Councillor Cody Younker noted that housing agreements in other municipalities can be multiple decades. The housing agreement is not spelled out yet and would come in a separate bylaw.
Staff rejected a council request to reduce the number of rental row homes by two. “Staff see no technical merit in reducing the number of row house dwelling units in terms of transportation impacts, utility servicing, or stormwater,” they wrote in a report.
Staff also addressed questions about the affordability of units. In a report, staff said the homes target residents on the high side of the income spectrum, and provided a graphic.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the public hearing format will be a challenge. Staff is planning to hold the public hearing at the rec centre, but a 50-person limit is in place, including staff and council, meaning only about 35 members of the public hearing can be there at once. Staff are planning to have a scheduled system, and will allow phone-in and written submissions. The plan is to limit public comments to three minutes each, but the public may have the opportunity to add additional comments after. Details will be announced before the meeting.
Councillor Cody Younker was the sole vote against second reading of the zoning bylaw and OCP amendment bylaw.
Analysis: What will the neighbours think?
City staff have scheduled the entire day in anticipation of a long public hearing on September 17, an indication staff may have already received significant feedback on the proposal. To date, letters to the city on the matter have not been published on council agendas at first and second reading (which has led to complaints), but staff said they would be dated and included in the public hearing package.
Residents have expressed concerns about impacts on traffic, pedestrian safety — including for elementary school students, changes to the character of the neighbourhood due to increasing densification, and changes that come before the city completes its OCP or promised neighbourhood updates to the OCP.
The hearing will also be a test of the city’s new ‘developer-led’ consultation process, where the developer takes the lead on consulting with the public, then works with city staff on the proposal. The public hearing will test whether residents feel they were adequately consulted, and how the new process deals with concerns that are city responsibilities, such as traffic, parking, trails network, road safety, and impact on existing neighbours.
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