City council has been busy considering development permit applications of late, many of which have been in the southern end of the community as that end of town continues to grow and densify.
The most recent approval granted by council is for a 14-unit townhouse complex on Hilchey Road between Galerno and Palmer.
The complex will be made up of four buildings with a common access lane off Hilchey Road. There were some concerns raised at the neighbourhood public meeting surrounding parking, but those fears were alleviated when the neighbours found out each unit will have a garage and additional parking space, the developer says in its report presented to council last week.
But council still had the same concerns.
“We are dealing with townhouses that are 1,500 sq/ft to almost 1,900 sq/ft, which is more indicative of a family living in them, and the parking is one regular stall and one small car parking stall,” Coun. Michele Babchuk said. “I find that a little bit inadequate for the demographic that will be going in there.”
Mayor Andy Adams agreed with Babchuk, adding that he would like to see more visitor spots added if it’s at all possible during the build, “because I share that concern that there’s going to be Hilchey road rage and if two or more people are having company (at the same time), it will become an issue.”
He also pointed out that many people “have a tendency to fill up their garages with things other than their cars, which means the cars are parked out in the driveway.”
Coun. Charlie Cornfield echoed those concerns, as well, asking if there would be room for parking on the internal access road.
Development Planning Supervisor Andy Gaylor said he has seen covenants placed on developments that would restrict garages being used for “anything but a parking space,” which would be an option for council, but Development Services Manager Kevin Brooks said that the access road’s width is based on access for emergency vehicles, so “it wouldn’t be recommended that it be used for that.”
The development permit also required that council allow a setback variance to three metres from the allowed 4.5 m.
Coun. Claire Moglove asked how that setback compares to the setback for the development at Nilhut and Alder Street, “because I always think that development is a lot closer to Alder than I would have thought was aesthetically pleasing.”
Development Services Manager Kevin Brooks told council that the Alder/Nilhut development setback is only 1.2 metres, and Gaylor clarified that the three metre setback begins at the property line, which is several metres from the sidewalk, so there will be a fair distance between the road and the first building.
When asked if denying the variance would change the number of units that could be built, Gaylor said, “I don’t think it would change the density. The trade-off for not allowing the variance to proceed would likely be a reduced amenity area at the back of the first two buildings,” meaning there would probably be no public gathering area within the complex itself.
“This particular piece of property has been vacant for a long time,” Moglove said, “and this, to me, looks like an absolutely excellent development and a lot of care seems to have been taken with the design and layout and landscaping. I really think this will be a huge benefit to the area.”
The development permit and setback variance passed unanimously.