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RFD- 3686 Bylaws   Item #:   3. a.    
Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 09/16/2019  
Title:    C-1074-19 - City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan Bylaw Update - Levasseur
Presenter: Mark Puczko
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

Information
Request for Decision Summary
The City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) Bylaw C-1074-19 was brought to a public hearing at City Council on May 27, 2019.  Based on input received, City Council requested further consultation with local residents to better understand their concerns and how they may be considered in the ARP. 

Upon analysis and consideration of the comments received at the public hearing and through additional consultation, Planning and Development recommends that the ARP’s Urban Living Precinct's land transitioning method remain as proposed with some adjustments to clarify its intent and policy.
Proposed Motion
That the What We Heard Report Urban Living Precinct Workshops be received as information; and 

That the input provided on Bylaw C-1074-19 City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan be brought forward for Council's consideration. 
Background/Analysis
Planning Framework Municipal Development Plan: In Section 5.3 City Centre the MDP identifies the objective of creating a city centre that is a mixed use hub of activity with a distinct identity.  Furthermore, the MDP identifies that an Area Redevelopment Plan should guide these efforts, focusing on:  small-scale service oriented businesses targeted primarily at the local population with a limited regional customer base; pedestrian orientation; the use of streets as public spaces; civic and open space uses; mixed-use development; and, higher density residential development.

City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan:
The City Centre ARP responds to the MDP direction in a proposal that provides a guide for redevelopment that considers land use, mobility, urban design, building design guidelines, and implementation.  This plan represents the land use transition to a mid-sized urban centre that is pedestrian-friendly, supports active commercial spaces, and a prime location for cultural activities and events.  Design guidelines and streetscape improvements are intended to enhance the City Centre’s aesthetic quality in support of the area’s overall vision.

Urban Living Precinct:
The ARP’s Urban Living Precinct provides detail about the intent for this residential area including adding density supportive of the City Centre’s mixed use future.  The precinct is to be redeveloped to accommodate infill housing that offers higher density and diverse housing types.  The density is to aspire towards achieving a target density of 100 dwelling units per net residential hectare (du/nrha) as required by the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan for city centre areas.  The Urban Living Area has approached achieving this density using two areas that reflect the existing R2 and R1 districted areas by using high-density residential and medium density residential housing types, respectively.

Implementation Plan: 
To achieve the City Centre ARP vision the City of Spruce Grove’s Land Use Bylaw is required to be amended to create new City Centre land use districts based on the ARP’s four (4) land use precincts and recommended built form design guidelines.  Additionally, detailed planning that extends the ARP’s vision and policies is required to execute its direction that includes area wide utility and streetscape improvements, Columbus Park redevelopment, parking, and a review of possible mobility improvements.

What Was Heard Summary

Public Hearing Comments:  At the May 27, 2019 public hearing there were four public hearing submissions and 24 in person speakers on the proposed City Centre ARP vision.  The commenters were generally supportive of the ARP's objectives for the commercial lands, but they did question the plans for parking and Columbus Park.  The ARP's Urban Living Precinct that provided the plan for the areas residential component drew many comments about lack of resident consultation, density, timing of its intended redistricting, not providing for single-detached dwellings, and inability to make changes to existing dwellings.  Based on this input, Council closed the public hearing and requested that administration undertake additional consultation.

New Consultation:  In response to Council’s request City Administration and the Planning Consulting Team developed and held two community workshop events to hear and receive input from area residents as to their concerns. The comments received at these workshops were summarised in the attached What We Heard Report - Urban Living Precinct Workshops. Common themes that emerged from the attendees comments were:

Theme 1: Downtown Revitalization Impacts on Existing Residents
General support exists for the overall City Centre redevelopment, but there is some concern about the ARP’s Urban Living Precinct’s impacts on existing residents. These comments are summarized as: 
  • Redevelopment efforts will push people out prematurely, and that people should not be forced to move if they don’t want to or are not ready to go.
  • Redevelopment should not impact people’s ability to remain in their existing single-detached dwelling, and why can’t these dwellings be a part of the future vision within the range of accepted housing forms.
Theme 2: Increased Residential Density Location and Height
The ARP intends residential density increases to support the city centre’s unique mixed use form to provide housing diversity and to achieve an aspirational density target or 100 du/nrha. Comments on density are summarized as: 
  • Adding density in the greater City Centre was not opposed, but some are sensitive to how much density is added and where it is located as it may impact existing residents. 
  • Attendees most commonly indicated that higher density levels would be most appropriate along Calahoo Road, Church Road, and King Street, and that less density with more diverse forms be allowed in the interior of the “Urban Living” precinct bounded by Church Road, Mohr Avenue, Queen Street, and Main Street. 
  • Some attendees expressed that new density did not need to be only in the form of apartments, and a range from single detached dwellings up to and including apartments was desirable. 
Theme 3:  Non-Conforming Use Status on Single Detached Dwellings
Input was received that residents do not feel they should be restricted in making upgrading decisions, summarized as:
  • Single family homeowners should be able to make investments in their home or property as they see fit and not be limited by non-conforming use conditions.
  • Single detached dwellings along Jespersen Avenue, Mohr Avenue, and MacPherson Avenue are desired to remain in the ARP area, and if these become non-conforming uses after redistricting that would be undesirable to some. 
  • Many attendees indicated that by becoming non-conforming uses/developments they would lose the freedom and ability to make renovations or add accessory buildings.
  • Some attendees expressed no confidence in “discretionary” type applications as they see this process meaning a “no” rather than a “yes” outcome respecting their intended developments.
Theme 4: Timing
Attendees understand that the area is part of a transition, but they do not wish to have this quickly forced upon them if it could occur more naturally over time.
  • There is a belief that density will be increasing over the next 10 years, and they know their property may be adjacent or near future higher densities. 
  • It is expected that an area the size of Urban Living Precinct redevelopment is going to take a long time, so the urgency to make changes is unnecessary.
  • Some residents wish to retain the choice and freedom to redevelop, maintain, expand or renovate their homes as they see fit given they have no intentions of moving in the next 10 years. 
Theme 5: Negative Impacts on Land Values
It was heard that area landowners see their home as their major investment and/or retirement security, and they want to make sure it retains its value despite the ARP changes. Summarized comments are: 
  • Concern exists that the ARP makes their single detached house obsolete and non-conforming. This devalues their house as it limits the market to only investors whose motive is to assemble land for redevelopment. 
  • Changes would eliminate people who would choose to buy their single family dwelling with the intention of renovating and/or living in proximity of the City Centre where there is character in the homes.
  • There is also concern that any insurance value of the house where it suffered a catastrophic fire would not enable them to rebuild their house.
Consultation Summary:
The comments received at the public hearing and through the additional consultation identified the ARP's Urban Living Precinct planning as being the area of most concern.  Comments received were primarily from a focused group that had concerns about the plan's vision and treatment of the existing neighbourhood's single detached dwellings.  These expressed concerns point to more consideration of what options might exist for adjusting the ARP's intended land use and transitioning within the proposed Urban Living Precinct.    

Options:
Upon consideration of the received public comment, and the redevelopment intentions of the City Centre ARP, the Planning and Development department has identified three possible options for consideration:

Option 1 - Continue with the ARP's existing Urban Living Precinct plan: This option would remove all lower density residential development types, and upon redistricting in the area make existing single detached dwellings legally non-conforming uses per Municipal Government Act Section 643.  This option would allow the most straight-forward interpretation of the ARP and its goals for area transition, improvement, and infrastructure expenditures. This option does not address the concerns of some residents not accepting of limits of legally non-conforming use regulations. 

Option 2 - All Single Detached Dwellings in the existing R1 District be made Discretionary Uses:  This option would "grandfather" existing single detached dwellings to allow that this use type would not be subject to the rules governing legally non-conforming uses.  This option would allow those property owners who expressed this concern to make improvements to their dwellings, but it would also apply to those who didn't express this concern.  This option has been previously used for some single detached dwellings in the existing R2 District. This option could confuse the intended messaging that this area is agreed for transition, and also complicate the implementation of road and infrastructure improvements intended to benefit the transition. 

Option 3 - Include Single Detached Dwellings a part of the ARP’s long-term plan:  This option would confirm single detached dwellings as the preferred land use for the existing R1 districted areas. While possible, this approach would require the other residential lands in the city centre to be built at a higher density to 'make up' the reduced density and still achieve the EMRB density target of 100 du/nrha. 

Recommended Option:  Of the identified options, Planning and Development recommends the Option 1 for the following primary reasons:

i. Non-conforming use rules exists to assist municipalities with transitioning land use, and these have been developed over time across many jurisdictions as a reasonable compromise in these situations.  This compromise considers residents who support change, are against change, and those somewhere in between where a transition is indeed desirable.

ii. The transition of the existing R1 District area supports achieving the ARP density need of 100 du/nrha.  The hesitance of removing single detached dwellings by some residents is understandable; however, to not utilize this area in achieving the needed density would require the remaining area to be build more dense and with bigger projects that could change the economic viability and the message about the area's transitioning goals. 

iii. New infrastructure expenditures are proposed in the ARP's Implementation Plan for the residential areas.  This expenditure by the City could happen within 5 to 10 years to help foster the physical and servicing preconditions for redevelopment. Extending out the transition period or changing the message about the redevelopment opportunity may affect the economics of making these investments. 

iv. A choice was made in the ARP to have two slightly different areas of density in the City Centre.  If infrastructure is provided as planned, the existing R1 District areas could allow for smaller scale projects that may come about sooner than larger apartment projects.
Options/Alternatives
Council may accept the additional public consultation as complete, or may otherwise request administration to undertake additional actions.
Consultation/Engagement

Additional consultation was requested by Council a the May 27, 2019 public hearing, and in response administration and the planning consultant developed and held two community workshop events to hear and receive input from area residents as to their concerns. In advance of the workshops, 448 mailed invitations were sent out to residents in the Urban Living Precinct area. Additional advertisements were placed in the Spruce Grove Examiner and on the City of Spruce Grove’s website.  Attendance at the workshops totalled 38 individual addresses, with 12 of these being from outside of the Urban Living Precinct boundary that included city centre commercial landowners and Edmonton. The recorded workshop attendance identified 26 separate addresses over the two evening sessions with good representation from owners in the central single family dwelling areas.  The comments received at these workshops were summarised in the What We Heard Report - Urban Living Precinct Workshops. 

Implementation/Communication
The What You Heard Report will be shared with the general public on the City's website. Administration shall use Council's input on the What We Heard Report and Council's discussion of the identified options to determine what additional planning process and/or policy changes are needed to finalize the proposed City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan.  When the additional actions to finalize Bylaw C-1074-19 City Centre ARP are complete administration would bring the Bylaw back to Council for a second public hearing.
Impacts
The reporting of what was heard through the additional consultation with residents and Council discussion will allow administration to make further choices as to any desirable revisions to the proposed City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan.  This Plan once adopted will provide the vision and policy direction for guiding the redevelopment of the lands within the City Centre boundary.

Attachments
Bylaw C-1074-19
What We Heard Report
Presentation

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