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Next step taken toward new residential development in Sundre

Sundre council approves redesignation of 17-acre parcel of land; subdivision process still ahead before any construction to start

SUNDRE — Shovels are one step closer to breaking ground in a new residential development project proposed in the southwest part of town.

Council approved on Monday, Sept. 12 during the first regular meeting following the summer break an amendment to the municipality’s land use bylaw to re-designate to residential single-detached and public services districts from urban reserve a roughly 17-acre parcel of land located immediately adjacent to the south and east of the Sundre Seniors Supportive Living facility and immediately west of the Riverside RV Village.

But before construction can begin on brand new homes, the developer will next have to navigate the subdivision stage of the process.

The only concerns expressed about the project during a public hearing prior to the regular meeting was from an adjacent landowner who said he and his wife otherwise support the development in principal.

“Although we are not opposed to the project, we are direct neighbours and have the following concern,” reads part of a letter submitted to the municipality by Darwyn and Mary Findlay.

When the couple purchased their property in 2018, they were made aware the single-lot design south of their land was not set in stone.

“The new design is showing four new lots backing onto our south property line,” the letter reads, going on to request the implementation of a right-of-way or pathway between the properties to create a buffer to help reduce noise and maintain privacy for all parties.

The Findlays were also worried about the potential impact from heavier traffic during construction.

For their part, Mountain View Seniors’ Housing, which operates the Sundre Seniors Supportive Living facility, expressed support for the project.

“We have no concerns as an adjacent landowner and look forward to the positive impact for housing this development will provide to the community,” reads a portion of a letter signed by Stacey Stilling, MVSH’s chief administrative officer.

Benazir Thaha Valencia, the town’s senior planner, presented to council a breakdown of a 40-plus page outline plan and land use re-designation for the project that is expected to be developed in two phases.

The document was submitted to the municipality by applicant Brown & Associates Planning Group, with senior planner Daniel MacGregor representing developer Steve Bouchet, a Sundre resident who is also the operator of Everblue Nursery.

The application was formally submitted in May, followed by internal departmental reviews, including a review of the technical studies by the municipality’s consulting engineer, Valencia told council, adding the proposed bylaw amendment had been given first reading earlier this summer on June 27.

“The external agency circulation was conducted in July and August with one letter of objection from an adjacent landowner and comments from Alberta Transportation,” she said. “Both internal and external comments and considerations have been addressed by the applicant.”

In summary, the first of the two-phase development on land that had previously been earmarked as a reserve for potential future residential subdivision, calls for 33 single family lots, ranging in size between 15-18 metres (50-feet) wide. The following phase is envisioned to include the possibility of townhouses as well as additional semi-detached or single-family developments.

“There is no oil and gas wells, pipelines or facilities at the subject site now or in the past,” she said.

The re-designation, she added, will help facilitate a community that can accommodate a wide variety of lifestyles, ages and incomes while promoting a mix of housing types to meet market preferences.

Furthermore, she said the plan will be dedicating at least 10 per cent of the area to be designated as public service as per municipal bylaw.

The site will be accessed from 5th and 6th Streets SW, and based on the the transportation impact assessment provided, “the subject area would continue to operate acceptably with additional site traffic in the long-term after completion,” she said.  

Water and wastewater services are proposed to connect to existing water and sanitary mains within the 5th Street right of ways, she said.

Existing stormwater drainage on the land is also expected to be expanded by extending a retention pond, with the final phase calling for another pond.

As part of the application, Valencia said administration received technical reports including a storm water study that was reviewed by engineering consultants who did not identify any concerns regarding the layout of the storm drainage and what’s been proposed, she said.

The first phase could depending on market conditions potentially see as many as eight to 10 lots developed per year, she added.

Administration recommended council proceed with giving the amendment land use bylaw final readings.

Coun. Paul Isaac commented to say he appreciates when developers include green spaces in their planning, and added he likes when municipalities put that green space to use.

“I like that there’s two parks that you’re going to be putting in. I like that you’re going to be adding the trails to the existing trails,” Isaac said. “I think we owe our developers proper use of when they give green space.”

Reading correspondence received from Alberta Transportation’s construction and maintenance department in Red Deer, Betty Ann Fountain, senior development officer, said a transportation impact assessment for the project’s first phase determined no intersection upgrades will be required. However, a follow-up assessment was recommended for the final phase.

Providing additional information, McGregor said the proposed Phase 4 and 5 developments come on the heels of three previously completed phases of Brookside, and that Bouchet purchased the parcel earlier this year.

“We envision this as a high-quality residential neighbourhood that protects and complements these unique environmental features and the established community structure in which it’s situated,” McGregor said.

More than 100 stakeholders were mailed during a public outreach, of whom only a handful responded; and not necessarily to express concerns, he said.   

“Some were actually interested in purchasing lots and wondering when the application will be proceeding,” he said.

Site preparation is expected to be underway fairly soon, with the first residents anticipated to start moving in their brand new homes in 2023, he said.

Darwyn also attended the meeting to reiterate in person concerns about traffic, drainage, and some kind of buffer between the properties.

“Other than that, I think I’m pretty much in favour of the proposed development in our area,” he told council.

In closing statements, Valencia said those kinds of concerns can be discussed and addressed during the subdivision application process, which is the next step before construction can even start.

After declaring the public hearing closed, council later during regular session passed the land use bylaw amendment.

Visit the town’s website and click on “Council” under the “Your Government” tab to find a PDF document of the outline plan in its entirety under the council section’s “Meeting Minutes and Agendas” tab.

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel joined Mountain View Publishing in 2015 after working for the Vulcan Advocate since 2007, and graduated among the top of his class from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's journalism program in 2006.
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