Citizens sound off on residential area rezoning

Lacombe City council has voted unanimously in favour of giving second reading to the rezoning of a parcel of land

  • Dec. 12, 2013 8:00 a.m.

Lacombe City council has voted unanimously in favour of giving second reading to the rezoning of a parcel of land in order to facilitate the future Trinity Crossing at Terrace Heights development, also known as Trinity Crossing.

The decision came after a public hearing where council heard the concerns citizens in the area have with the proposed re-zoning and the subsequent high-density housing to be built there as part of the Trinity Crossing development.

While the housing needs assessment stated Lacombe is in dire need of high-density, residents made it clear they were not happy with the re-zoning or proposed development.

Located north of Terrace Heights Dr. and east of C & E Trail, the proposed development requires the rezoning of a section of land from Future Designation District (FD) to Maximum Density Multi-Unit Residential District (R6).

During the hearing, council heard from at least half a dozen residents and had already received more than 100 written responses. Most were opposed both to the re-zoning and the proposed development. Those in opposition cited concerns of increased traffic volume, speeding, parking congestion, decreased property values for existing properties and unpleasant views from their homes.

Some stated they opposed the idea of low-income, high-density housing in this area of the City, saying it would attract transient individuals not invested in the well-being of the community and would lead to higher crime rates.

Others suggested the City was placing too much emphasis on high-density developments in this area of Lacombe or even that there was enough high density residential zones existing.

Some suggested density should instead be spread throughout the City or was better suited to other areas like downtown.

“When is enough, enough?” said Jennifer Nesbitt, a resident of Terrace Heights Dr. “There are town homes, there are duplexes and the assisted living down the street. That’s enough, that’s plenty.”

A few residents suggested high-density housing developments were not needed or did not belong in a city the size of Lacombe.

While there was little in the way of support for the re-zoning or the development, some of those who spoke stated they were not in opposition to development or growth of the City, but only opposed to how the City and developers were approaching it.

Marco de Andrade, a resident of Terrace Heights Dr., said he did not oppose high-density, but felt that the City should be striving to exceed requirements instead of simply meeting them.

Many of those who spoke at the public hearing also voiced complaints about how the City notifies area residents of coming developments.

In response, Councillor Grant Harder said a revision of the City’s notification system was necessary, something that earned him applause from those gathered in the gallery.

“I think it’s very clear that we need to address our notification system,” said Harder.

“Just because we have always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it.”