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Rezoning bylaw defeated in Coaldale

Posted on October 26, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

A rezoning bylaw to allow for a multi-unit dwelling off of 21 Avenue in Coaldale has been defeated.

A public hearing for a Land Use Bylaw amendment, or Bylaw 879-P-09-23, was held during council’s regular Oct. 10 meeting.

The amendment concerns an application from a private landowner to rezone lands legally described as Lots 5 and 6; Block 20; Plan 6476AA, or at the corner of 21 Avenue and 16 Street. The landowner wishes to have those lands rezoned from Residential R-1A to Residential Multi-Unit R-2 zoning. The rezoning to R-2 would allow for a multi-unit residential development to go onto those lands.

The lands in question are currently vacant and are located in an established residential neighbourhood with adjacent lands being primarily zoned R-1A with three Residential Small Lot (R-1B) zoned lands nearby. In addition, there are properties zoned Institutional/Recreational (I/R) nearby the property, or R.I. Baker Middle School and Anglican Church, and properties zoned Commercial (C-1) in downtown Coaldale are located less than 150 meters away.

First reading of the bylaw was performed during council’s regular Sept. 11 meeting.

According to town administration, the rezoning does align with the goals, objectives and overall vision of the town identified in the Town Plan (MDP) and the Strategic Plan. However, town senior planner Hailey Winder stressed during the public hearing that if the proposed bylaw passed, it does not automatically authorize the development of any of the uses under the R-2 zoning, it would just allow for future applications to be received and decided upon by the Development Authority with consideration for the rules and regulations listed under the R-2 land use district.

“They must still have a permit, and they must still comply with the Land Use Bylaw regulations,” said Winder.

Mayor Jack Van Rijn stressed that during the public hearing, they were here for the rezoning bylaw, and not to decide what goes on the property.

Five emails were received by the town and included in the report in response to the public hearing, all stating their opposition to the rezoning. Winder said the town received an additional email submission and two submissions from CiviKit, that were from the same sender, but did not elaborate whether those submissions were for or against the bylaw.

Kelly Weiers, the applicant, said they currently own a seven-unit rental building in town, and they constantly have people coming to them asking to be put on a waiting list to rent a unit, and see a need for more rental units in the community.

Weiers said the land they are seeking to be rezoned was the “perfect lot for it”, as the lot works like their current building, and their intention was to build another building similar to the one they currently operate in town.

“I know there is brand new homes being built, and that is fantastic for those that can afford them. But as far as rental spaces, it’s not there,” said Weiers. “It’s not something that we’re coming in to do something bizarre. We actually have a very good road map, we’ve done it before, we’re building something very, very similar to what we currently have, less than two blocks away in a very similar area.”

Four people in attendance spoke against the bylaw, citing concerns over the proposed development, setback waivers for the proposed development, and increased traffic and unwanted changes to the neighbourhood. One of those who spoke against the bylaw, Coaldale resident Adam Parker, noted that the house that used to stand on the property in question had been burnt down, and the lot had been neglected for years.

“Having deep roots in this community, we take deep pride in our family history and overall well being of our neighbourhood,” said Parker. “As a fellow resident of Coaldale, we strongly urge you to reject this rezoning application, let us preserve the character and integrity of our neighbourhood and uphold the values that makes Coaldale a wonderful place to live.”

One person spoke in favour of the bylaw, inquiring about affordable housing in town.

After the public hearing, Coun. Lisa Reis said she would be voting against the bylaw, as people who buy into established neighbourhoods do so because they want that particular type of neighbourhood. Coun. Jason Beekman also spoke against the bylaw, citing traffic congestion concerns.

Council defeated a vote for second reading of Bylaw 879-P-09-23 in a split 5-2 vote. Van Rijn and Coun. Jordan Sailer were the sole votes in favour of the rezoning.

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