St. Albert city council gave Landrex the go-ahead on a new mixed-use development proposed for the King of Kings Church Lands in Erin Ridge North.
In May, the developer presented its plans to build a 5.18-hectare mixed commercial and residential development to council.
The development would be composed of approximately 140,000 square-feet of commercial floor space and 120 residential units located either above the businesses or in a standalone building. Eight per cent of the site would be dedicated to park space.
While administration recommended supporting the creation of a “compact, walkable mixed-use environment,” not all councillors agreed.
During debate on the third and final reading on Monday, Coun. Sheena Hughes urged council to reconsider allowing residential to be built in what she said was an already congested area.
“The direct-control mixed-use (DCMU) should not be located in this area,” she said. “If you want to put it somewhere along the (St. Albert) trail good for you, but this should not be in an area we already recognize as under high pressure from traffic.”
Hughes asked Landrex to reconsider the mixed-use development regardless of Monday’s outcome.
The addition of a mixed-use site on the King of King lands passed with a margin of 5-2, with councillors Cam MacKay and Hughes voting against it.
Coun. Wes Brodhead argued that while densification does bring new issues to the city, sprawl is far more costly to the city. “It’s not without difficulty to be sure,” he said. “But on the balance of how we move forward as a community, I don’t think that we can spread to the horizon and still support the community the services that (it) has grown to appreciate.”
Coun. MacKay said the commercial corridor established along the St. Albert Trail needs to be protected to not only attract more retailers in the future, but to build up the city’s commercial tax base.
Mayor Nolan Crouse, who has often voiced similar concerns, said council made its bed by allowing residential to be built along the corridor in the past.
“We’ve told the developer by our own votes over the last five to 10 years exactly what we want,” he said. “So it’s not surprising for the developer to come forward with a proposal to have residential mixed with commercial. We’ve shown the way.”
Crouse voted in favour of Landrex’s proposal because he felt that there was a good mix of commercial and residential.
The area structure plan amendments will also see the addition of low and medium density residential areas. The total number of residential units proposed for the site is 1,540.
The area structure plan now includes traffic calming measures for Ebony Way and the intersection of Ebony Way and Coal Mine Road, as proposed by Coun. Osborne.