City calls for comments on housing changes

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Upcoming land use bylaw changes focus on densifying city

With a Feb. 5 review of St. Albert’s land use bylaw approaching, the city is calling on residents to share their thoughts on two new residential districts.

Councillors are set to review amendments to the land use bylaw that will add two new districts to the list of possible zoning designations, change six existing districts and modify some of the bylaw’s schedules.

Some of the amendments include adding provisions for garden, garage and above-grade secondary suites; modifying lot sizes, coverage and setbacks; changes to townhousing regulations; and incentives for underground parking and energy-efficient buildings.

The two new districts council will consider are RX, which is Mixed Residential, and RXL, which is Mixed Residential Lane.

RX zoning will allow for a mixture of single-detached, semi-detached and duplex housing, as well as townhouses with vehicle access to the street, with the aim of having mixed low-density housing together in the same zone.

Similarly, RXL zoning allows for a similar housing mix, but with garages at the back of the lot.

Many of the changes are being made to allow St. Albert to densify its residential neighbourhoods, an effort prompted by density targets from the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board.

An agenda report posted to the city’s website earlier this month, compiled by affordable housing liaison Lory Scott, states those targets would require R3, R3A and R4 multi-family zonings to double or triple in density if St. Albert does not change the way it is developing.

Alternatively, the city could aim to bring in “a broader range of smaller single-family lots” as well as more options for semi-detached houses, duplexes and townhouses.

“Restricting development forms could potentially restrict the City’s housing market, driving potential residents to other communities within the region,” the report warns.

On Tuesday, the city issued a news release encouraging residents to submit their input or come to the Feb. 5 meeting to speak to council.

Residents can submit their comments in writing by Jan. 30 at noon. For those wishing to speak to council on Feb. 5, the public hearing will begin at 5 p.m.

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