Residents living near green space and a former greenhouse site in north end Red Deer are concerned that high-density housing proposed for the land will cause a jump in traffic.
The vacant property along 59th Avenue in Glendale once housed Dentooms, until it moved to a larger location.
An awkward-shaped piece of land belongs to the city while a developer has a similar unique piece on the east side. City council agreed on Monday to a land swap where the developer would have better use of his land and the city’s newly configured parcel would be designated as park.
Edmonton developer Ray Watkins said he plans to build an apartment with up to 16 units, 10 duplexes and four single family lots. A house on the property would be kept.
Some residents have expressed concerns about increased traffic along 59th Avenue and at the intersection of 75th Street. There’s also concerns about on-street parking.
The city looked at possible traffic volumes up to 2017 and found that 59th Avenue could handle the daily number of vehicles from additional development.
Council gave first reading to two proposed bylaws, one that would amend the Glendale Northwest Area Structure Plan so it could allow the higher-density housing on the former Dentooms greenhouse site. The other would amend the land use bylaw to reconfigure the parcel into corresponding land use districts.
The original area structure plan, adopted in 1995, had identified two-storey homes, single-family residences and green space as the land uses.
Councillor Larry Pimm expressed concerns that the area structure plan was being changed so much that it wasn’t fair for area residents. “It’s like breaking a promise,” said Pimm. “When we change it, it must be done sensibly.”
Watkins said a lot can change in 15 years. He referred to the city’s recent desire for environmental sustainability. The municipal development plan highlights redevelopment and where it should occur, and that it should use existing infrastructure.
“And I’m doing all of that,” he said. “I’m using existing roadways, power, gas, parkways. If people are saying, ‘we’re anti-sprawl,’ this is totally not sprawl. It’s redevelopment in the inner city.”
Pimm, along with Councillors Tara Veer, Gail Parks and Buck Buchanan voted against first reading to amend the neighbourhood area structure plan. Mayor Morris Flewwelling and Councillors Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer, Cindy Jefferies, Frank Wong and Lynne Mulder voted in favour, triggering a public hearing for Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. in council chambers.