Lacombe development regulation overhaul will provide more housing options

More than 50 changes to Lacombe’s Land Use Bylaw proposed

Proposed regulation changes will make it easier for property owners in Lacombe’s historic area to add suites.

Planners presented council with 50 proposed changes to the Land Use Bylaw this week. Many of the amendments proposed came from feedback gathered from developers and others seeking development permits.

The changes affect residential, commercial, industrial and infill properties.

Some residential changes are meant to offer more housing options in the city, while making better use of space for secondary or garden suites.

“This will provide more flexibility, particularly for those large lots in our downtown where there might not be infill development occurring,” planner Jennifer Kirchner told council this week.

For instance, the changes would allow owners of historic homes, which tend to have big rear yards, the opportunity to build a larger garden suite than previously allowed. More flexibility in providing parking is also proposed.

Changes proposed under infill developments include increasing side yard setbacks in the historic district to two metres from 1.5 metres. This will ensure infill developments better reflect the way lots were traditionally developed in the older parts of the city.

To promote business development, the city is proposing to exempt existing buildings in the downtown commercial district from parking regulations. Previously, a variance might be required, followed by a 21-day appeal period, which slowed the approval process for new businesses.

Changes requiring 18-metre front yard setbacks in commercial and industrial zones will promote better parking options and reflect what is already happening with most businesses.

The city is sending letters to local developers encouraging input before the bylaw goes back to council for first reading, likely on May 27. A public hearing is scheduled for June 24.

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