Future development in St. Albert may be required to have a minimum number of bicycle parking spaces and electric vehicle chargers in accordance with a draft version of a thoroughly updated and changed Land Use Bylaw (LUB) published by city staff last week.
The LUB dictates how, and what kind of, development takes place across the city, while also regulating and setting development standards.
For any new apartment buildings, the draft states, one bicycle parking spot will be required for every seven apartments (and one spot for every three apartments if the new building is located downtown); and six spots will be required for new commercial properties throughout the city regardless of building size.
Currently, the LUB does require bicycle parking to be available for new builds, however there is no specified minimum number of spots that need to be considered.
Similarly to bike parking, the draft LUB update states any new shopping centres, hotels, schools, strip malls, and government buildings will need to ensure that electric vehicle charging stations represent 1.5 per cent of all parking stalls.
Electric vehicle charging stations will also need to represent at least 3 per cent of all parking stalls for new apartment buildings, and charging stations will need to represent 1 per cent of all parking stalls for new townhouse complexes.
Besides parking considerations, the draft LUB update also proposes some new regulations to encourage more secondary suites, like basement suites.
Currently single-detached homes in St. Albert are allowed to have one secondary suite on the property, however the draft document proposes to allow two suites per single-detached home, while also allowing duplexes to have secondary suites.
Other secondary suite-specific changes include no longer requiring secondary suites to have parking considerations, and capping the number of bedrooms allowed per suite to three.
Another change being brought forward in the draft is to allow for community gardens in all residential districts.
City staff have been working on a wholesale update to the LUB for the past year, and a public open house was held on Nov. 7 to gather resident feedback on the proposed changes.
“This format supported great conversations with residents about residential infill, secondary suites, digital signage, cannabis facilities, accessibility, town housing [and] medium density sites, and downtown,” city spokesperson Pamela Osborne said, adding that roughly 45 people attended the open house.
The goal behind updating the LUB is to better align it with the city's Municipal Development Plan (MDP) called Flourish; to modernize the document, which was originally created in 2005; and to make sure the LUB is web-friendly.
Despite the LUB being created in 2005, over 200 amendments have been approved over the years.
The city will also have a few new land use districts or zoning classes.
The new districts include a Conservation Park district, an Industrial district, a new Mixed-Use district, and a new Business Park district. A draft land use map included with the draft document shows that only the Conservation Park district is planned for use right away as the district's rules and regulations are proposed to cover Grey Nuns White Spruce Park and Forest Lawn Ravine.
Osborne said residents who weren't able to attend the open house on Nov. 7 can access a virtual open house on the city's Cultivate the Conversation platform, and residents are also encouraged to complete a 14-question survey about some of the proposed changes.
The survey will be open until Nov. 19, Osborne said.
Once the city completes this round of public engagement and draft any final changes to the LUB, council will hold a public hearing to go over the changes, after which council will debate and vote on the update.
The public hearing is expected to take place early next year.