City to try small-lot housing

Red Deer city council has agreed to try out a new type of small-lot housing as a pilot project in Lancaster and Vanier Woods East.

Red Deer city council has agreed to try out a new type of small-lot housing as a pilot project in Lancaster and Vanier Woods East.

The lots are similar to the now-common narrow lots introduced a number of years ago except that front two-car front garages are mandatory and the minimum lot depth is 30 metres. Narrow lots have a minimum depth of 36.6 metres and no front garages are allowed.

The so-called R1G lots are popular in Edmonton and Calgary and offer another choice for home buyers, said Laebon Homes owner Gord Bontje at a public hearing on the Lancaster/Vanier East Neighbourhood East Area Structure Plan.

Smaller lots allow developers to increase neighbourhood densities, which is a long-term planning goal of the city.

Phil Neufeld, owner of True-Line Homes, also supported the introduction of the lots into local development plans.

“There is a need and a demand for every type of home,” said Neufeld. “As a builder, we support the variety.”

However, several councillors expressed concerns about whether the city was going too fast by allowing 162 of the small lots to be developed in Lancaster and Vanier Park East without any previous experience with them.

Councillor Frank Wong suggested the number of the lots be scaled back and limited to a corner of the new subdivision to see how they are received.

He also suggested the minimum depth be increased to 33 metres.

City manager Craig Curtis warned council about making amendments on the fly to an area structure plan that had already passed first reading.

Councillor Lynne Mulder suggested the first 162 lots be treated as a pilot project. The impact of those lots will be later evaluated before council decides whether to allow them in future subdivisions.

Council unanimously passed a resolution that council review the new lots and the city’s neighbourhood standards and guidelines and to organize a workshop to discuss council’s vision for future housing options.

Council also approved second reading for amendments to a pair of area structure plans, the municipal development plan and gave second reading to rezoning bylaw for the proposed subdivisions.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com