Extra half acre for future development voted down
A round of applause rippled through council chambers from 25 people after council voted down a proposed redesignation in a 4-3 vote June 25.
Council was voting on a recommendation from the planning department to increase a residential lot size in Upland Aspen from one to one and a half acres to accommodate a condo development. The additional land was zoned public district and was originally planned to be a parking lot.
During a public hearing in May, a large number of residents of the area came out to protest the redesignation. They said the increased traffic would cause problems for the intersection off Aspen Heights Way and Lakewood Drive which they described as already dangerous. People felt the condo was too big and Upland Aspen wasn’t the appropriate location in town for the development. They moved to the area because it was quiet and they want it to remain as such, they said.
Last week, council deferred voting on the approval that night and requested more time to look over traffic concerns and to potentially find a “win-win” solution.
Council agreed that a small condo build with 16 to 20 units and two to three storeys high would be better than the proposed 36-unit condo for the area. But whether to use the half acre of land or not was debated.
“I believe it’s a nice piece of land to develop on,” said Coun. Jason Heistad. “I feel more comfortable that 16 to 20 unit condos will fit well with the homes there. Listening to people six weeks ago … it’s clear it would be a detriment to the area if we went with a ginormous condo.”
Coun. Mark Kemball agreed with Heistad.
“We heard last time ‘let’s find something win-win’ and I think a smaller piece with two storeys would fit.”
Coun. Derek Baird said in order to make a truly aesthetic piece, using the additional land could be beneficial. He pointed to other condo units in different communities that allow for RV parking and said the additional land could be used to accommodate parking or other amenities.
“I’ll be voting on the bigger parcel but not for the 30-something lots. That would be a travesty for the people who built up there.”
Mayor Jim Romane was the last to comment before council took a vote. He agreed with Baird and said the additional money they could earn from selling the larger piece of land could mean more money to go towards the intersection the residents want at Aspen Heights Way and Lakewood Drive. Improvements to that intersection have an estimated price tag of $310,000. He also said council had an obligation to all residents of Innisfail.
“I agree we need to lessen the impact but we do have an obligation to taxpayers who invested in this property to proceed with that. We did spend taxpayers’ dollars on that development.”
Coun. Heather Taylor, Baird and Romane voted in favour of redesignating the additional half acre. Councillors Tracey Walker, Brian Spiller, Heistad and Kemball voted against. The motion was defeated.
Council will discuss site specifications and requirements for the one-acre residential lot during council Aug. 27.