Blackfalds Town Council has voted to approve a new subdivision, despite their own misgivings.
When the proposed subdivision first came before council at its Aug. 13 meeting, council expressed its concern about lack of access to the rear lane in the subdivision as well as parking congestion in the subdivision’s cul-de-sac.
Twelve of the dwellings within the subdivision would have no access to a rear lane and thus would be unable to park anywhere but within their attached garages and/or the driveway.
Mayor Melodie Stol said that, especially given the recent problems Blackfalds has had regarding parking, the small frontage of the dwellings in the subdivision as well lack of access to the lane were concerns for her.
“Are we creating a parking nightmare?” said Stol. She added that she had further concerns about space for garbage pickup from the front of the dwellings as well.
In response to such concerns, council voted to refer the proposal back to administration for review and give the developers a chance to re-examine their plan as well.
However, when the issue returned to council at its Aug. 27 meeting, the developers and engineers involved said theirs hands were tied.
“We are really restricted on the site because of the width of the site and the land-use bylaw,” said Fahim Quamrul of Al Terra Engineering.
Allen Trites of Meadowglen Developments added that he had examined some other closes within Blackfalds and found that other residents seem to be doing just fine in similar situations.
He said that one close he drove around, despite having access to a lane, has no one parking at the rear.
“They have the same situation as if they didn’t have a lane in the back,” said Trites. He added that the proposed subdivision has just as many parking lots in the close itself as other areas in Blackfalds as well.
“So there is really not that much difference,” said Trites.
Although administration, developers and engineers were not able to resolve the concerns council had with the proposal, council seemed somewhat more at ease knowing an effort had been made.
“Initially when I saw this back on the agenda I really wasn’t that happy because there wasn’t any changes that I could see,” said Councillor Dean Wigmore. “So I’m glad that our delegation was here tonight to clear up some of this.”
However, not all the minds of council were put completely to rest.
Councillor Carol Simpson expressed her doubts on the plan, saying that although she understood it met all the requirements she still foresaw problems with the development in the future.
“I will support this motion,” said Simpson. “I’m still somewhat uncomfortable with it, it’s a working solution. I still have a little bit of foreboding that we are setting ourselves up, a little bit, to fail. I still think that there are going to be issues with parking and I still think there are going to be some upset citizens out there.”
Wigmore, who made the motion to approve the subdivision with amendments recommended by council and administration, said he understood Simpson’s concerns.
“I would agree with you 100 per cent,” said Wigmore. “Don’t think that I’m making this motion very happily, but I think it’s the best solution, probably, for this parcel.”