Apartment adds a storey

A Red Deer developer has boosted its plans for an apartment complex in the city’s Timberlands subdivision.

A Red Deer developer has boosted its plans for an apartment complex in the city’s Timberlands subdivision.

Laebon Developments Ltd. received approval from Red Deer’s municipal planning commission in July 2011 to build a trio of three-storey, 67-unit apartment buildings at 301 Timothy Dr. One of those buildings is now complete and work is well underway on the second — but the company wants to build the third to a height of four storeys, with 73 units.

The original plans called for each of the buildings to contain 34 two-bedroom apartments, 29 one-bedroom units and four bachelor suites. Laebon now favours 39 one-bedroom, 30 two-bedroom and four bachelor apartments.

Laebon president Gord Bontje explained in a letter to the city’s Inspections and Licensing Department that demand has been greatest for one-bedroom units.

The original approval included a nearly 14 per cent relaxation of the minimum site area required under the land use bylaw, to 230,000 square feet from 266,000 square feet. With the larger building, the minimum site area increased to 271,700, necessitating a 15.7 per cent relaxation.

However, Laebon plans to increase the area to be landscaped, add a gazebo on the property, and develop five more parking stalls for a total of 298.

Inspections and Licensing recommended to the commission that it approve the changes. It noted that the previous three-storey design contemplated a building height of 12.14 metres; with the additional floor, this figure would change to 15.47 metres.

However, the city’s Planning Department withheld support for the change. It pointed out that the neighbourhood area structure plan designated the lot as having R2 zoning, which only allows three-storey apartment buildings.

Coun. Cindy Jefferies said she felt the proposed change would result in too much building mass. She also felt the city should maintain the R2 zoning restrictions, explaining that other landowners in the area may have relied on these when choosing to buy their property.

Notification of the proposed change was sent to 38 nearby landowners, with only one objection resulting.

The application was approved by a four-to-one count, with Jefferies voting against the resolution.