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RFD- 3426 Business Items   Item #:   4. a.    
Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 10/15/2018  
Title:    City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan - Walker
Department: Economic & Business Development  
Strategic Vision Element: This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan Related Goal: Spruce Grove has a robust, growing economic base that generates balanced revenues to support the City’s high standards for services and programs.

Information
Request for Decision Summary
Cushing Terrell Architects, as the lead consultant, will be making a presentation on the City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) Concept and Background Studies.   
 
Proposed Motion
 
That the City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan Concept Report and Background Studies be received as information. 
 
 
Background/Analysis
The revitalization of the City Centre has been identified as an important initiative for Spruce Grove in developing a sustainable community.  It started with the City Centre Revitalization Discussion Paper which was presented to City Council in July 2014.  The recommendations were subsequently incorporated into the City's Corporate Plan.  A key initiative that came out of the Discussion Paper were the establishment of a Business Improvement Area (BIA) for the City Centre and the formation of the City Centre Business Association (CCBA) to administer the BIA.  The CCBA represents the business owners in the Business Improvement Area and has partnered with the City in the process leading to the preparation of a City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP).  The CCBA has also been active in launching activities to promote the revitalization of the City Centre such as the successful Public Markets, WinterFest and other events.  

Cushing Terrell Architects Inc. was retained in September 2017 to prepare a City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan, a key component of the City Centre revitalization initiative.  The ARP and background studies provide the conceptual framework and masterplan for the revitalization and redevelopment of the City Centre.  The preparation of the ARP has been managed by the steering committee drawn from various City departments and the City Centre Business Association.  The process has provided many opportunities for public input and engagement both in person and on line.  This included a presentation made on April 16, 2018 to Committee of the Whole to raise awareness of the initiative, identify key issues moving forward and obtain feedback.   

The ARP process has generated the following deliverables which the consultant will be speaking to as part of their presentation to Committee. Most of the presentation, however, will focus on the ARP Design Strategy.    

1. Infrastructure Assessment: this study looked at the key infrastructure including the water distribution network, waste water network, master drainage plan and asset management plan (e.g., street lighting and signals, sidewalks, traffic control and roadways).  This has an expanded study area which not only addresses the City Centre core but also includes the area from Highway 16A to Jespersen Avenue and King Street to Calahoo Road.  This is the oldest part of the community and as the study documents, it requires major rehabilitation of utilities and other infrastructure.  Without this rehabilitation, this area will not be able to accommodate major new development or meet its recommended density targets. 

2. Land Use and Urban Form: this study looked at land use and the key components of urban design including buildings and streetscape.  This encompasses the overall look and feel for infill and redevelopment opportunities and provides guidance to developers on design and density.  It recommends a major transformation of McLeod Avenue to create a more appealing and pedestrian-friendly environment and makes a statement on this becoming a cultural and community gathering space.   It also recommends residential densities in the core and shadow (north of McLeod Avenue) areas be increased to support the commercial viability and vibrancy of the City Centre.  A higher density target will be important to obtaining approval from the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board (EMRB).  The changes in design standards are intended, in part, to improve the economics of redevelopment by providing developers with the opportunity to optimize the use of their site through measures such as increased site coverage and reduced parking requirements.  A parking assessment was also undertaken that indicated an average occupancy in the study area of 51.6% and provided some recommendations going forward on managing the supply of parking as demand increases.  

3. Columbus Park: this study is intended to create a new vision for the existing Columbus Park as a core feature of future redevelopment in the study area.  The focus is on what improvements are needed to create a public square/gathering space that has the flexibility and appeal to host a wide range of events and draw people to the City Centre.  The study provides two concept plans and a recommendation on which one offers the best opportunity to achieve these objectives. 

4. City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) Concept - this report will be the focus of the presentation to Committee.  The background reports contributed to development of the ARP and provide much of the conceptual and analytical work required to form policy recommendations.  The ARP sets out the vision for redevelopment of the City Centre and sets out acceptable uses, forms and densities of development in different areas and the implementation strategies required to facilitate such development.  Redevelopment is driven by landowners and developers over time as landowners choose to undertake projects.  The ARP provides a framework for guiding and encouraging that future development.  Through public engagement, residents and stakeholders have an opportunity to contribute to the creation of that framework.  

The draft ARP identifies several precincts within the study area where there will be differences in land use, urban design and densities which together will comprise the City Centre ARP.  These include First Avenue which will be more vehicular oriented; East McLeod which will have the highest commercial density; West McLeod which will be more mixed use; and the Shadow Area to the north which will continue to be residential but higher densities.  The Shadow Area, in particular, is key to obtaining the higher residential standards required by the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board for all statutory plans.  As part of the implementation strategy, the City may have a role in acquiring strategic properties where necessary to facilitate redevelopment 

5. Economic Benefits and Costs Study: the study provides a detailed estimate of the financial costs and benefits associated with implementation of the ARP recommendations.  The economic benefits reflect growth in the assessment values and tax revenues received by the City resulting from redevelopment as well as improvements to existing properties.  Under a mid-range scenario, it is estimated that an additional $810,983 in City tax revenues (excluding the provincial education levy) would be generated each year by Year 10 from the City Centre and shadow area.  By Year 15, this amount is estimated to have increased to $1.235 million per year in additional revenues to the City. 
 
The estimated costs are $13.28 million expended over 5 years – of which $5.45 million is for utility rehabilitation throughout the City Centre and shadow area.  These utility improvements are typically paid from the Utilities Fund and would be required even in the absence of the City Centre revitalization initiative.  The remaining $7.83 million consists of $6.23 million for Streetscape improvements and $1.6 million for Columbus Park.  The payback period on the non-utility improvements would be between 12 to 15 years.  This should be evaluated as an investment by the City which can not only recover its costs, but becomes a long-term contributor to the City’s financial sustainability. 




Options/Alternatives
City Council could approve a more limited scope for the City Centre ARP by moving ahead with the recommendations affecting the Land Use Bylaw and the utilities rehabilitation, but not proceeding with the recommended streetscape and Columbus Park improvements.  This reduces the overall cost but does little to transform the area into a distinctive and vibrant city core that attracts residents and visitors or create a more conducive environment for higher quality commercial development.  It also signals how committed the City is to the process which is important to landowners in making investment decisions. 
Consultation/Engagement
The development of the City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan has been a partnership between the City and the City Centre Business Association (CCBA). The CCBA Board and members have participated at all stages of the initiative, including representation on the ARP Steering Committee. There have also been numerous opportunities for engagement and community input through various workshops, presentations, design charrettes, café chats and one-on-one meetings. The following are examples of the ongoing public consultation and engagement.
 
Visioning Workshops
  • City Centre ARP – Open House (Facebook Event: April 17, 2018)
  • City Centre Engagement Session (Facebook Event: Dec. 6, 2017)
  • Chamber of Commerce Board meeting (Dec. 6, 2017)
  • Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) and CCBA meeting (Dec. 5, 2017)
  • Spruce Grove Composite High School student engagement (Dec. 12, 2016)
  • St. Peter the Apostle Catholic High School student engagement (Dec. 12, 2016)
  • City Centre Visioning Workshop (Facebook Event: Nov. 23, 2016)
 
Presentations
  • City Centre ARP – AM & PM Public Presentations (Facebook Event: Oct. 16, 2018)
  • COW  (Oct. 15, 2018)
  • Phase 3 – City Centre ARP Public Presentation (Facebook Event: June 27, 2018)
  • City Council (April 16, 2018)
 
Design Charrettes
  • Winter Fest onsite charrette (Feb. 19, 2018)
  • Stakeholder and Steering Committee (Dec. 7, 2017)
  • Two public sessions held at the Holiday Inn (Dec. 6, 2017)
 
Café Chats
  • Business Visitations (April 16, 2018)
  • Morning sessions (Dec. 6, 2017)
  • Business Visitations (Oct. 27, 2017)
  • Meetings with various Property Owners (Oct. 27, 2017)
  • Morning sessions (Oct. 27, 2017)
  • Afternoon sessions (Oct. 26, 2017)
  • Evening sessions (Oct. 26, 2017)
  
Additional information was collected and shared through the use of surveys and social media while ongoing meetings with the Steering Committee and City Administration took place. The social media platforms used were predominantly Facebook and Twitter and were disseminated through the CCBA and City of Spruce Grove. Much of the Spruce Grove City Centre Business Association’s (CCBA) website is dedicated to the ARP process which explains the history and hosts the various background reports and studies.
Implementation/Communication
The City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) is a statutory plan that requires the following consultation and approval processes: notification that the plan development process is being undertaken; that suggestions and representations from affected persons and school authorities are sought and considered; that the ARP be referred to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board; and that it be passed by a municipal bylaw.  The municipal bylaw process requires three readings at Council and must have a duly advertised public hearing prior to second reading.  If approved, the City Centre ARP will define the policies to be utilized in guiding the form of future land use in the City Centre area, which includes making changes to the Land Use Bylaw regulations for ensuring their implementation at the development stage.    

The ARP provides a framework that supports the redevelopment of the City Centre both in terms of land use regulations and capital improvements.  Recommended capital improvements are addressed through the City's Corporate Plan and are brought forward as part of the budgetary process for City Council approval.  
Impacts
The ARP is intended to establish a regulatory land use framework that creates the conditions necessary to guide and encourage the redevelopment and revitalization of the City Centre.  The impact is expected to attract new investment and jobs while leading to the creation of a reimagined central core that becomes a major cultural, business and social hub for the community.  This is a longer term process but over time, the redevelopment leads to substantial growth in tax assessment and revenues, thus contributing to the financial sustainability of the City.  It is an investment that will benefit the entire community.  Specific impacts include: 
  • the ARP addresses the disincentives in our land use standards that affect the viability of proposed projects; 
  • the rehabilitation of the utility infrastructure removes a major constraint to accommodating new development; 
  • the densification of residential areas in proximity to the City Centre creates conditions that support redevelopment and meeting EMRB density standards; 
  • a vibrant streetscape and revisioned Columbus Park support our Cultural Masterplan in creating a community gathering space to meet and host events; and 
  • the creation of a high quality city core that better reflects the ambitions and status of a rapidly growing mid-sized urban centre. 

Financial Implications:
Total Cost of City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan Recommendations - $13.28 million 
Less Utility Rehabilitation funded from Utilities Fund - $5.45 million 
Net Amount excluding Utilities - $7.83 million

Included in Net Amount is $1.6 million for Columbus Plaza and $6.23 million for Streetscape improvements.  The Streetscape improvements are for phase one - the priority area- which is McLeod Avenue between King and Queen Streets and Main Street from First Avenue to Church Avenue.  Phase two Streetscape improvements are $4.42 million and cover First Avenue as well as King and Queen Streets between First Avenue and Church Avenue.  Phase 3 improvements are $2.55 million and cover McLeod Avenue between Queen Street and Calahoo Road.  

The redevelopment of the City Centre will generate higher tax assessments and revenues for the City.  Using a mid-range scenario, this is expected to result in additional municipal tax revenues (excluding the provincial education levy) of $810,983 per year by Year 10 and $1.235 million per year by Year 15 from the City Centre and shadow area.    
Attachments
City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan Concept Report
City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan - Infrastructure Assessment
City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan - Land Use and Urban Form
City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan - Columbus Park Revisioning Concept Plan
City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan - Economic Benefits and Costs

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