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RFD- 3602 Bylaws   Item #   9. a.    
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 05/27/2019  
Title:    C-1074-19 - Second Reading - City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan - Levasseur
Department: Planning & Infrastructure  
Strategic Vision Element: This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan Related Goal: n/a

Request for Decision Summary
This Request for Decision seeks second reading of Bylaw C-1074-19 – City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), a statutory plan to establish a plan for the effective and managed redevelopment of Spruce Grove’s city centre.

Administration supports this Bylaw.   This Area Redevelopment Plan is required to be referred to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board for their approval prior to third reading by Council.

Proposed Motion
That second reading be given to Bylaw C-1074-19 – City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan.
City centre revitalization is identified as an important objective in Spruce Grove's Municipal Development Plan (MDP) for creating a mixed use hub of activity with a distinct identity.  Cushing Terrell Architects Inc. was retained in September 2017 to prepare a City Centre ARP to create a framework for city centre redevelopment.  The proposed ARP aligns with the policies of the MDP that intends it as one of the City's primary community level gathering places and as a distinct urban experience with mixed use development, pedestrian friendliness, and offering a diverse and eclectic range of services.

The proposed ARP reviews the plan area, identifies challenges and opportunities, and provides a vision and concept.  The ARP concept provides for future redevelopment that includes policy direction on land use, streets and mobility, urban design, built-form guidelines, and is based on four precincts that respect the area’s existing commercial, institutional/recreational, and residential land uses.

City centre commercial redevelopment identifies McLeod Avenue Precinct as a pedestrian oriented ‘high street’, and it identifies First Avenue Precinct for a mix of high-quality retail and office development along the highly visible Highway 16A corridor. These two commercial areas encourage vertical mixed-use development that will be supported with phased streetscape and infrastructure enhancements emanating from the “Main & McLeod’ intersection.   McLeod Avenue will be converted to parallel on-street parking, which supports the goal of creating an appealing pedestrian streetscape and transit-friendly environment. 

The City Centre Parking Study (see attached to report) reviewed the existing commercial parking situation, and it indicated that any issues were more perception than fact.  The ARP parking changes only affect angle parking along two blocks of McLeod Avenue with a net loss of 37 stalls. The Parking Study indicates there is more than enough underutilized parking within the area to make up the difference.  This does not even consider the underutilized parking available behind buildings for staff and customers.  What changes is the reduction in available stalls right in front of specific businesses.  The ARP is intended to move away from allowing a strip mall development pattern to a modern urban form that encourages more pedestrian traffic and walkability.  As part of the ARP, and subsequent to intended Land Use Bylaw amendments, the City will be undertaking a Parking Management Plan to ensure adequate on and off-site parking levels over both the short and long term as redevelopment progresses.    

The ARP provides transformational direction for the city centre's residential areas by encouraging both redevelopment and infill opportunities with the goal of increasing density over time to achieve a target of 100 dwelling units per net residential hectare (du/nrha).  This density target is an aspirational requirement for urban centres under the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan. To achieve the new density the Urban Living Precinct will emphasize higher density housing (120-150 du/nrha) along Church Road, Calahoo Road and Jespersen Avenue; and, in all other residential areas medium density housing types will be required (50-75 du/nrha). Existing single-detached housing would remain as long as the existing landowner wishes, per the Municipal Government Act’s non-conforming regulations, while expecting that over time these would be replaced by the new higher density uses needed to achieve the area vision.

To contribute to the city centre becoming a gathering space for cultural and community activities an upgraded Columbus Park is provided as an objective to create a space that has the flexibility and appeal to host a wide range of events that draw people into the city centre.  In recognition that the city centre is in the oldest parts of Spruce Grove, the ARP has as a key objective making major infrastructure upgrades. The ARP identifies in its implementation plan how these upgrades will be planned and executed over time to accommodate the new vision.
The ARP directs that the Land Use Bylaw's existing land use districts in the City Centre area would be changed to match the goals, objectives, and policies of the City Centre ARP.  This Land Use Bylaw amendment is intended to follow closely after the adoption of the City Centre ARP, and it would include opportunity for landowner, resident, and community consultation.  These new regulations would recognize the new city centre precincts  and include design guidelines for building and streetscape improvements to promote improved urban design within the city centre. 

The City Centre ARP is a comprehensive plan for redeveloping the entire city centre area as an integrated package.  It considers both the future commercial and residential redevelopment as being tied together to accomplish the intended vision.  A transition to higher density residential is a required element of the City's Municipal Development Plan, and it is critical for being able to meet the EMRB target densities and getting this Board's approval.  In the ARP's proposed medium density residential areas the density will increase from 25 du/nrha to 50 - 75 du/nrha, and the higher density areas will allow between 120 to 150 du/nrha in areas where existing R2 Districting currently exists.  This ARP is expected to take a minimum of 25 years to achieve its vision, and area landowners will remain in control of when their property will transition.    
The process used to develop the City Centre ARP has provided numerous opportunities for community and stakeholder input through various workshops, presentations, design charrettes, and one-on-one meetings.   Additionally, this ARP was managed by a steering committee that was drawn from various City departments and the City Centre Business Association. 
A public hearing for this proposed Bylaw was held earlier in this same Council meeting, and its notice followed the requirements of the Municipal Government Act
If approved, the City Centre ARP will define the policies to be utilized in guiding the future land use and form within the city centre.  It will also direct actions required to implement the plan that include making changes to the Land Use Bylaw regulations and undertaking planning for future infrastructure upgrading.   

As part of the background work which has gone into the preparation of the City Centre ARP, the following background studies were done to guide the development of the ARP and specific initiatives for implementation as set out in the 2019-2021 Corporate Plan.  These studies included: (1.a) Infrastructure Assessment and Background Report; (1.b) Parking Study Report; (2) Land Use and Urban Form Report; (3) Columbus Park Revisioning Concept Plan; and (4) Economic Benefits and Costs.  This process was overseen by a steering committee that included representation from the City Centre Business Association.  Since the 2014 City Centre Discussion Paper was presented to Council, there have been an extensive number of public consultations held in different formats from workshops, public presentations, one on one and group discussions, student visioning project, social media and dedicated website. 

The ARP is intended to establish a regulatory land use framework that creates the vision and plan necessary to guide and encourage the redevelopment and revitalization of the City Centre.

City Centre Revitalization is one the four key Strategic Goals identified in the approved 2017-2022 Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan for Spruce Grove.  Specifically, the objective is to plan, invest and encourage the revitalization and redevelopment of the City Centre.  This is intended to remove barriers to new investment and create a vision for commercial and higher density residential development in the city core.  City Centre redevelopment is a vital component of the City's efforts to grow our non-residential assessment base.  The Economic Benefits and Costs Report for the ARP prepared by Key Planning Strategies estimates that implementation would generate a net uplift in annual property tax revenues of approximately 370% ($5.64 million) over current levels in a medium development scenario. 

A couple of examples demonstrate the potential of the tax uplift.  The development of the McQueen Centre on McLeod Avenue increased taxable assessment on the site from $170,000 to $1,584,200 in 2018.  The redevelopment of the Electric Rodeo site by Main Street Law increased assessment  from $691,100 to $3,349,800 in 2019.  These specific examples show multipliers of 5 to 9 times resulting from redevelopment.  While other sites may have lower uplifts, the overall results will still be substantial.  This is over and above the visual improvements and other non-financial benefits that accrue from creating a modern urban City Centre for a growing community of our size.

The approved 2016 Cultural Master Plan for the City also identified City Centre revitalization as a key strategic direction.  It states that "City Centre revitalization is a proven method for engaging the broad community in a way that supports both cultural and economic growth and development." 
Bylaw C-1074-19
City Centre Parking Study

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