Red Deer city council moved on Monday to resolve a zoning hodgepodge along a north-side street.
First reading was given to a bylaw to rezone six legal, non-conforming properties into compliance along 59th Avenue, which separates industrial and commercial developments to the west from residential areas to the east.
If final approval is granted after a June 29 public hearing is held, based on feedback sent to the city by mail and email, the properties will be rezoned to R2 from R1A.
Council heard that six higher density developments on 59th Avenue were not in compliance with existing low-density zoning for the street, and that the older avenue in north Red Deer is facing development pressures.
A zoning review was recently done of 59th Avenue, between 67th Street and 69th Street Drive, after a couple of applications were received from developers.
They sought to put up higher density buildings in place of the small apartments or four-plexes that were built on the street in the 1970s.
The problem is, even the existing older apartments and four-plexes are no longer in compliance with zoning for the street, since the zoning was changed in the 1980s to single-detached homes and duplexes, after area residents complained 59th Avenue was getting too congested.
On Monday, city council considered a recommendation from the planning department to zone the six non-conforming properties into compliance, adding a density cap that reflects the current number of units in the existing buildings.
This means the small apartments and four-plexes cannot be pulled down and replaced with larger structures containing more living units.
This is in line with feedback the city collected from surrounding landowners, who asked the city to either reduce density or leave the housing mix as it is, with no apartments higher than four storeys.
Council unanimously gave initial approval to the bylaw.
Mayor Tara Veer said, “I fully support the density cap,” as traffic levels in the area have increased as the residential community has grown and more commercial development was added to the west.
She noted the back alley gets so much traffic, it’s practically become a residential side street.
Coun. Lawrence Lee hoped the lane can be paved in future.