Residents mount last ditch attempt to stop high-rise in Motel Village

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Residents mount last ditch attempt to stop high-rise in Motel Village

Residents of the northwest Calgary community of Briar Hill will make one last attempt to stop or amend a proposed 28-storey student rental building that could soon be rising in Motel Village.

The development on the site of a former motel will see 351 units built in the tower facing 16th Avenue N.W. It will also feature medical offices and commercial space in the podium.

City council has already approved the project.

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However, 15 residents have banded together to file an appeal to stop the project at the city's subdivision and development appeal board — even though they live on the south side of 16th Avenue from the project and are divided by a large barrier.

Laura-Marie Berg, who speaks for the group, said the building will be out of context for the redeveloping area.

"We are concerned as a community about the extreme height of the building in relation to everything else around. It's roughly three times higher than anything else in the existing area," said Berg.

Lack of parking also a worry

As well, there are concerns about a potential shortage of parking at the site.

Documents filed with the appeal board show only 31 parking stalls are planned for the residents of the tower, with no provision for any visitor spaces.

Ninety-five parking stalls are proposed for the commercial part of the building. That's a total deficiency of 300 stalls for the site.

Berg said there are concerns the lack of parking will result in greater traffic in Briar Hill and create problems in their neighbourhood, which is just to the south of the tower — even with some parking restrictions in their neighbourhood.

"We are the community that would be closest for those students to park at, so there is a real concern that the community will have a large number of cars from that residence parking on our streets," she said.

Not anti-development

Berg said the residents support a student housing development as the University of Calgary and SAIT are short distances away. However, she said they'd rather see a 12-storey tower, which would be more in line with other buildings nearby.

Coun. Druh Farrell, who represents the area, said the taller tower might seem out of context now but this is just the first of a number of projects that are expected to rise in Motel Village in the coming years.

As part of an area redevelopment plan that was devised for the Motel Village area, Farrell said increasing density was a key goal as the area sits close to the Banff Trail LRT station.

"We identified significant density that's appropriate for that site and so this is really the first application in," said the councillor.

She also said there's a "desperate need" for student housing in the area.

A hearing will be held Friday and Monday at the subdivision and development appeal board.

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