Rampart Avenir Communities Blog Ltd.

A new community that will be North America's largest clean technology innovation community

Three key issues facing St. Albert’s development plans April 12, 2010

Filed under: Clean Technologies — Rampart Avenir Communities @ 12:41 PM
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1. St. Albert is trying to comply with Smart Growth plans regarding higher density housing.
St Albert needs to develop their lands to meet the Capital Region Boards (CRB) requirements. Under the conventional or the traditional densities used in St Albert there were 20.7 dwelling units (du) per net residential Ha. The City planning wanted to increase the density to 72.9 du per Ha under their Smart Growth program. Councillors, developers and some residents of St. Albert opposed this high density.

In response, the City’s Administration developed a hybrid smart growth strategy with a reduced density to 54.8 du/HA, but this doesn’t quite satisfy the CRB requirements for St Albert.

The best solution is to have has much land as possible so that the higher densities can be averaged. The less residential land available for higher densities means that the land that is available for this development will require very high densities. Developers will need to create large areas with lots of open space.
The Avenir location has large opens spaces adjacent to Carrot Creek and has development plans to preserve this natural Carrot Creek eco-corridor.
But by removing these lands from residential zoning and making them industrial as proposed by City Administration there will be a need to place higher densities on other lands in the annexation area that do not have a natural green/park corridors.

This is what is making the development industry angry…. the location of the proposed industrial park is just going to make residential development even worse and destroy a environmental eco-corridor.

2. St. Albert city administration recommend that much of the western side of the newly annexed lands be a super-sized industrial park right adjacent to Carrot Creek a major eco-corridor.
This simply is unacceptable to a number of groups including the City’s own appointed environmental committee. By adding more industrial land use, it only creates other problems. The land owners are very upset because when they reviewed the City’s own studies the City recommended that no industrial lands were necessary in the new annexed lands based on the City’s existing industrial land inventories and market demand.

In addition, an independent consulting firm who is used by the City on a regular basis to undertake economic studies confirmed this conclusion that no industrial lands were needed in the newly annexed land base. The consulting firm prepared a report based on that data and concluded that it would take 66 to 125 years for the market to adsorb the amount of land proposed by City Planning.
The more annexed lands used for industrial development means higher residential densities for the remaining land to satisfy the CRB density requirements.

3. Industrial lands are being proposed to abut up against Carrot Creek.
City administration have indicated in their plans for the 283 Ha super-sized industrial park, that all lands on Carrot Creek must have a road that runs along the environmental reserve boundary and that the industrial lots be on the other side of that road. This was to create a further buffer to protect Carrot Creek. In addition they also have required that there be “greater design guidelines” for another 50 m set back on the front of each industrial property facing Carrot Creek. This is disastrous and will have huge negative impacts for the local economy, environment and public access.
Economic Impact Problem

From the economic aspect – Who is going to pay for the expensive road that only serves industrial land users on one side of the road? And who is going to pay for the “greater design guidelines”? These extra protection costs are simply going to make marketing the land for industrial even more preposterous.
Environmental and Public Access Problem

From an environmental and public access stand point the problems are even worse. Having a road with industrial cartage and hauling trucks up and down the eco corridor will create at a minimum noise and visual pollution to the migratory patterns in this corridor. In addition, such truck traffic will lead to the higher probability of spills on the road and certainly this truck traffic will not be conducive to the public’s use of the proposed trail system along the Carrot Creek corridor.

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