Association backs plan for Riverside Meadows

A community association’s efforts to get rid of piecemeal zoning within one of Red Deer’s densest neighbourhoods appear to be paying off.

Riverside Meadows Community Association president Marileen Cowan

A community association’s efforts to get rid of piecemeal zoning within one of Red Deer’s densest neighbourhoods appear to be paying off.

For more than a year, volunteers involved with Riverside Meadows Community Association have been working with city planners on seeing some of their land concerns addressed within the new Area Redevelopment Plan, plus the Community Plan and its residential design criteria.

The redevelopment plan aims to integrate various residential and commercial uses so that they are compatible with the neighbourhood. The community plan offers a 15-year vision to guide decisions relating to more detailed planning, while the residential design criteria gives rules for everything from garages to building entrances.

Civic leaders recently set aside the documents so they can review them prior to first reading on Oct. 5.

Association president Marileen Cowan said her group supports the plans because with zoning changes, there should be less problems and that will make the community more peaceful.

There isn’t so much piecemeal zoning in the updated redevelopment plan.

“It will clean it up,” said Cowan of the new plan. “There will be much more residential.”

Riverside Meadows has become a haven for affordable living and is one of the city’s higher density areas.

The association is pressing for more single family homes and duplexes, which it hopes will come through with rezoning.

And she said this updated redevelopment plan — which she and a number of other board members gave input to — looks at redevelopment of some of the neighbourhood’s largest properties.

“We get what we want in there,” Cowan said. “We don’t want low-cost housing there.”

One is the former Harper’s Metal property at 5835 Kerry Wood Drive. Since being sold and cleaned up in 2007, it’s been identified as a major redevelopment site.

“With the rezoning, it can’t go back to a metal scrapyard,” Cowan said.

A developer plans to build townhouses at the site.

Cowan said the developer has told the association it wouldn’t be low-cost housing.

Another large parcel, the site of Valley Park Manor nursing home, is also slated for redevelopment once Alberta Health Services moves residents to a new facility. The area redevelopment plan supports creating a direct control district where various uses could occur, including a physical rehabilitation centre, a seniors lodge, single homes, duplexes and townhouses.

The community supports a nursing home there.

“We don’t want apartments there because the street is too busy,” Cowan said.

The direct control district for Riverside Meadows would also be extended, including the area between 59th Street and 58th Street east of 53rd Avenue and west of Gaetz Avenue. This would create a mass of commercial and residential for economic stability and to establish a destination area.

The city’s development authority would have to approve all uses and development in this district.

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