The idea of having more mixed-use lots in Red Deer’s Riverside Light Industrial area is growing in popularity.
Eight more property owners are now seeking to expand the land-use flexibility for their lots in the industrial park at the bottom of the escarpment south of Parkland Mall.
City council heard these eight additional rezoning requests made following the city council’s initial rezoning of 20 Riverside Light industrial properties from I-1 industrial to I-C industrial/commercial last June.
If this second round of rezonings is granted final approval (after a public hearing is held next month), it would mean 30 per cent of Riverside Light Industrial Park will become a mixed-use commercial/industrial area, said city planning manager Emily Damberger.
While some property owners had previously expressed concerns about the potential for incompatible uses in Riverside Light fuelling complaints about industrial noise and traffic, so far, Damburger hasn’t heard of any problems arising on that front.
In fact, she believes that the additional interest from property owners in having more flexible land uses indicates the first round of mixed-use rezonings were a success.
Christi Fidek, a senior city planner, told council on Monday the latest Riverside Light rezonings would allow for compatible commercial operations that create/emit little noises, odours, dust, fumes or other “nuisance” factors.
Administration had informed landowners in the district that they had until Dec. 31 to request a rezoning of their Riverside Light Property from I-1 to I-C with no application fee.
Damberger said future rezonings can still be considered for Riverside Light — which was shown to be a transitional area in a city study that found the older, centrally located industrial park was becoming sought-after for more commercial operations.
Damberger believes having the new mixed-use zoning will benefit landowners in this tight economy because it opens their lots to a greater variety of uses, while also giving local business owners a wider choice of locations.
City council voted on Monday to approve first reading for the eight new rezonings.
Only Coun. Frank Wong was opposed, having previously expressed his concerns about more businesses leaving the downtown and creating more office vacancies at the heart of the city.