Crowsnest council passes first reading on apartment building rezoning

·2 min read

Affordable housing is an issue that is growing in prominence across Canada. In a mountain town like Crowsnest Pass with limited land area, creating enough housing often involves building upwards.

As such, the municipality’s development plan encourages expanding housing options, increasing density, and examining options that accommodate seniors.

Bylaw 1101, a proposed amendment to the land-use bylaw, has the potential to check off all three of those categories.

Council passed first reading of the bylaw during its April 26 meeting. The proposed amendments would rezone a property in Blairmore at the corner of 21st Avenue and 131st Street from residential (R-1) to multi-family (R-3).

A public hearing for the rezoning will be held Tuesday, May 17, 7 p.m. in council chambers.

While the suggested rezoning would open the door for the construction of an apartment building, the actual concept and development would only come at a later date once rezoning was approved through second and third readings.

Currently, the idea is to build a three- or four-storey apartment building that would house somewhere about 24 units. The neighbouring property owners have been notified of the proposed rezoning and project.

The project could potentially qualify for an attainable housing program offered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation that would see the apartment building develop into a seniors rental complex; the idea, however, is hypothetical as the CMHC application and market feasibility study are still underway.

Coun. Dean Ward said he supported the proposed rezoning because the Crowsnest Pass was in need of more apartment housing and that the developer, LiveWell, was excellent.

“These folks, if you check them out, they’ve got a seniors community in Medicine Hat,” said Ward. “Looks really, really nice.”

“I think it’s great,” Coun. Vicki Kubick agreed. “I think it fits into that area quite nicely — I don’t think it’s going to change the feel of the community.”One week later, during council’s May 3 meeting, another property change in downtown Blairmore also passed first reading. Bylaw 1114 would amend the land-use bylaw to rezone property located on 20th Avenue and 134 Street from residential (R-1) to retail commercial (C-1). The rezoning would allow for the development of a mixed-use building with an office or retail store on the main level and an apartment dwelling upstairs.

The Municipal Development Plan encourages the creation of such mixed-use buildings, especially as a way to contribute to the success of downtown areas. The public hearing for the rezoning will be held Tuesday, June 7, 7 p.m. in council chambers.

The next regular council meeting will be held Tuesday, May 17, 7 p.m. in council chambers.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze

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