Red Deer city council has given initial approval to a plan to switch future commercial and residential growth in the Timberlands subdivision.
Planner Kim Fils-Aime said there’s market demand to change the neighbourhood area structure plan that co-ordinates future growth.
A business requested that the commercial parcel be moved closer to 67th Street from 30th Avenue, which is where it was originally envisioned. Multi-family residential would then be relocated to that part of 30th Avenue from 67th Street.
As a result, council amended land use for 70 Thorburn Ave. to C5 commercial from the previous R3 residential. A site exception was also approved to allow motor vehicle service or repair, but excluding motor vehicle sales, as a use on the property.
Zoning was also changed for three lots (394, 382 and 360) on Townsend Street to make them R3 residential (multiple family) from the previous C4 commercial.
A letter of concern had been received from Guy Pelletier of Melcor Developments. Pelletier said the city is already well served with commercial lots in this area, including at Clearview Market Square.
He added that more lots might create a “downward pressure” on lease rates and could impact marketing other commercial sites.
But Fils-Aime told council that Pelletier’s letter and proposal were circulated for review by various city departments and his concerns were addressed.
Rezoning the northeastern edge of the neighbourhood to R3 from commercial will help retain balance in the neighbourhood, she added.
City Coun. Vesna Higham said she’s “not completely sold on this” change, because a designated green space in Timberlands was located closer to the original R3 zoning. But she said she will wait and see what area residents think at a public meeting in four weeks.
Council voted to approve first reading, with only Coun. Buck Buchanan registering his opposition. Buchanan didn’t know if making this neighbourhood change at the request of a commercial interest was “fair.”
But Coun. Lawrence Lee said there’s been more interest in commercial than residential growth in Timberlands, so perhaps a grassroots “organic” change is warranted.