City planners are responsive to developer needs

As Lacombe grows and develops over time, residents can rest assured that the City’s Planning and Development Services

As Lacombe grows and develops over time, residents can rest assured that the City’s Planning and Development Services – which is responsible for coordinating land use matters with Council and various stakeholders – is working hard to ensure that growth and development occurs in an organized, rational and sustainable manner, in order to maintain and enhance our built and natural environments.

Council has stated publicly the Lacombe is ready and open for business, and staff has been diligent in reviewing all applications to ensure compliance with current regulations, and also been responsive in taking land use amendments to Council in a timely manner for review and consideration.

So far this year, they have brought forward seven land use bylaw amendments for rezoning and text changes, all to help facilitate new development in Lacombe.

At present, the department is working on a number of large projects, including the Downtown Area Redevelopment and Urban Design Plan (DARP); Trinity Crossing at Terrace Heights and the Wolf Creek Crossing Outline Plan.

DARP is a statutory land use plan that was adopted in January 2013.

The plan provides a guiding framework for the redevelopment of the downtown area. Currently, we are in the process of drawing up architectural design guidelines for the plan to ensure that future development in the downtown area achieves quality design and is complementary to the character and land use of surrounding areas.

The public is invited to a workshop on July 16 at the LMC to help develop these guidelines. Please go to www.lacombe.ca for more information.

The Trinity Crossing Outline Plan is a residential development, which outlines the planning direction and controls for the north area of Lacombe. The developer sought to amend the original plan, to change the types of residential land use districts proposed, and included upgrades to the proposed trail system and an additional playground.

On May 13, Council adopted the amended Trinity Crossing Outline Plan, clearing the way for the applicant to proceed with subdivision and rezoning work.

The Wolf Creek Crossing Outline Plan was adopted by Council on June 11, 2012. The area will be developed as a large format commercial (including a Towne Centre), mixed residential and light industrial development.

More recently, Planning and Development staff worked closely with an applicant proposing to develop a hotel within the area.

Recommendations were taken forward to the Municipal Planning Commission and the development permit was approved on June 26. Specific attention was paid to ensuring that the application not only aligned with the Land Use Bylaw requirements but also to the Wolf Creek Crossing Outline Plan.

This was done to ensure that the application complemented and reflected the overarching vision for the plan area.

The City of Lacombe has been responsive to requests made by the developer, and Council has repeatedly demonstrated the will to work with them to expedite the process within the guidelines and parameters of the Municipal Government Act and relevant municipal policies.

However, the driving force behind development in the community is the developer, not the municipality.

We are the authority that processes the applications and permits, and provides the checks and balances to ensure the process is fair and equitable. We can react only if the developer decides to proceed.

Finally, if you or someone you know is considering undertaking a development in Lacombe, I encourage you to contact our knowledgeable staff to discuss your project. They will be happy to engage in dialogue and answer any questions, and offer guidance on your specific development requirements. Planning and Development Services can be reached at 403-782-1264.

Steve Christie is the mayor of Lacombe.