Red Deer’s Woodlea neighbourhood gets proposed design redevelopment standards

The aim is to keep the neighbourhood’s character, says city planner

Woodlea could become the second mature Red Deer neighbourhood to keep its character through special redevelopment standards.

Sparked by public concerns about some incongruous new buildings cropping up in the older subdivision, city staff have worked with the Woodlea Community Association and area residents to create a character statements plan.

If approved by city council later this winter, it would become part of a land-use bylaw, following a similar plan for the Waskasoo neighbourhood.

Developers would have to consult the document to make their Woodlea redevelopments fit in with other houses on a street.

Senior city planner Christi Fidek said at a city council meeting on Monday that said this doesn’t mean modern-looking homes would be banned, but design details from neighbouring houses would have to be incorporated in the redevelopments so they visually blend into the streetscape.

For instance, the Queen Anne and craftsman styles homes along 45th Avenue and part of 53rd Street Crescent are distinguished by peaked roofs and porches.

There are smaller ranch-style homes along 43rd Avenue, 42A Avenue and 42 Avenues, designated the Chinese Market Garden area, after land that was acquired in 1924 for the Sam Wo Market Gardens.

The Woodlea Nazarene Camp area (along 53rd Street and 44 Avenue and named for a large evangelical camp held on this site during the First World War) features homes that are mostly square and compact, with detached garages.

Fidek’s report states that if a taller home is built, it should have a stepped-back upper floor to reduce the visual impact.

Only four Woodlea properties have historic significance and cannot be demolished without council’s approval.

When asked if Sunnybrook or old Eastview will get similar plans, Fidek said her department is now working on a general character redevelopment plan to fit all older neighbourhoods.

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