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Door opened for more housing possibilities in Sundre

Direct control district in Sundre now a possibility as well

SUNDRE — Council recently unanimously carried two land use bylaw amendments to create new opportunities for housing as well as other developments.

“The land use bylaw is a living document and it changes often. Part of what we do is introduce new districts, maybe make changes to existing districts,” said Linda Nelson, chief administrative officer.

“Right now, there’s really no opportunity for smaller lots,” Nelson told The Albertan in response to questions following the regular Sept. 7 council meeting.

As outlined in background information included in the meeting’s agenda, which is available in full on the municipality’s website, the narrow lot residential districting was proposed to meet the demand for entry-level residential housing.

“The district regulations will provide an economical means which allows for savings on reducing the size of individual residential lots, resulting in less cost to the builder and consumer, and the overall cost to service each lot for the developer,” the proposal reads.

“It just opens doors for a variety of different types of housing,” said Nelson, adding the reduced lots are “not substantially smaller, but smaller than the 50-foot lots…some people prefer smaller lots as opposed to the larger lots, so we want to just open up opportunities.”

The other amendment to the land use bylaw involved the inclusion of a direct control district to enable the municipality to exercise particular control over the use and development of land or buildings within designated areas in town boundaries.

“A direct control district is something that council has discretion over,” explained Nelson, adding it also opens up potential development opportunities and can be used in different ways.

“It can limit opportunities on sensitive land, but it can also open up opportunities for additional types of uses at council’s discretion based on the specific site. It’s really a site-specific designation,” she said.

“It still goes through the same process as any other land use redesignation,” she said, adding any proposed developments would be considered on a case-by-case basis.  

“Think of it as a site specific exception to a land use bylaw, where something that may make sense on one particular piece of property with a specific zoning, but may not make sense for the balance of that type of district.”

Asked what brought about the recommended land use amendments, Nelson said the proposal, supported unanimously by council, was simply to make available additional opportunities and give more flexibility.

“Rather than just having one type of housing, this now opens the door to different types of housing,” she said. “So, as the market changes and individual preferences change, now they have more opportunity than just a large lot. It allows for different trends in the market.”  

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel is the editor of the Sundre Round Up and a longtime columnist for other publications of Mountain View Publishing.
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