Proposed rezoning for apartment in Glenora met with opposition

·3 min read
Feedback came from 70 people with 59 saying they opposed rezoning due to the impact on nature, traffic congestion and going against neighbourhood character as well as the Carruthers Caveat covenant. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC - image credit)
Feedback came from 70 people with 59 saying they opposed rezoning due to the impact on nature, traffic congestion and going against neighbourhood character as well as the Carruthers Caveat covenant. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC - image credit)

Community engagement for a proposed rezoning in Glenora has found a majority of respondents in opposition.

Edmonton city officials are assessing an application to rezone a single-detached residential zone to a medium-rise apartment zone.

The rezoning would involve tearing down two homes, on 138th Street and 102nd Avenue Northwest, to build a six-storey apartment.

The planning application states the apartment could be used as "multi-unit housing, lodging houses and supportive housing as well as limited commercial opportunities at ground level, such as child care services, general retail stores and specialty food services."

The city sought feedback from residents between May to July and received 70 responses.

Fifty-nine were in opposition, citing the impact on nature, traffic congestion and going against both the neighbourhood character as well as the Carruthers Caveat covenant.

How to develop Glenora

The future of the planning application is part of a bigger conversation around the future of older neighbourhoods like Glenora.

Nakota Isga ward Coun. Andrew Knack initiated a study of the area for a special zoning provision in 2018, looking to balance a desire for greater density while preserving the neighbourhood's historic buildings.

"Council has had some discussions about whether we should have any type of provisions in place that allow for certain type of built forms, not necessarily restricting the number of units, but restricting how that is built," he said in an interview last week.

In March, council rejected a motion from Knack to move forward with a Direct Development Control Provision. He said council may revisit the DC1 project near the end of this year.

Density, impacts to trees, traffic congestion and damage to historical buildings have been noted in feedback as concerns in the planning application.

The city of Edmonton
The city of Edmonton

Carruthers Caveat

One source of opposition has been through a restrictive covenant known as the Carruthers Caveat.

Kathryn Ivany, an archivist with the City of Edmonton, said the caveat is a legal document that's tied to the title of all the land that was in the original subdivision that developer James Carruthers established around 1911 in the area of Glenora.

This means select areas in Glenora can be subjected to restrictions around pricing and type of residence.

The caveat has been used in court to strike down development and renovations as in 2013 when a couple was unable to proceed in building a secondary suite in their home.

However, it is not clear whether the caveat has had major impact in hindering development.

The city of Edmonton
The city of Edmonton

Karen Burgess, a spokesperson with the city's urban planning and economy division, said in an email that while administration does its best to help applicants and landowners understand the risk of development on properties with restrictive covenants, "those restrictions are not a point of consideration for the city when reviewing rezoning applications, approving subdivisions or issuing development permits."

The statement adds that the city does not have standing to challenge these covenants as it is not a party to the agreement.

A spokesperson with Service Alberta said those wishing to have a restrictive covenant removed can do so through a court order under Section 48(4) of the Land Titles Act.

Situate Planning & Placemaking applied to rezone 138th Street and 102nd Avenue Northwest on behalf of a numbered company.

When asked how the firm was approaching community opposition to the project, founder Chelsey Jersak said in an emailed statement that the project was in alignment with Edmonton's City Plan, which looks to have sustainable infrastructure in place to support a city with two million residents.