Swanson: Development near parks “premium location”

Lisa Goudy
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At the Dec. 16, 2013 council meeting, Coun. Brian Swanson explains the reasoning behind his motion to discuss zoning requirements around Crescent Park at a future executive committee meeting. His motion was referred to executive committee.

Zoning requirements around Crescent Park will be discussed in executive committee.

At Monday’s council meeting, council referred Coun. Brian Swanson’s motion and the background information to executive committee. Swanson’s motion was for city administration to provide a report to executive committee with zoning requirements for properties facing Crescent Park.

“Many communities are fortunate like Moose Jaw in that they have a centrally located park: Crescent Park in Moose Jaw’s case. Regina has Victoria Park. An extreme example would be New York with Central Park,” said Swanson. “One common feature in all those parks is the development that occurs across the street from the park.

“It’s usually considered to be a premium location and often for multi-residential or multi-floor development that brings in a lot of taxes to the city.”

He said that type of construction is evident by walking around Crescent Park. However, there are still some vacant lots available and have been that way for years and in some cases decades, he added. He said that should be discussed in a less formal setting in executive committee.

According to a business development division report, two zoning districts exist for properties around Crescent Park, R4 Core Mixed Residential and C2 High Density Commercial.

“The purpose of the RV Core Mixed Residential District is to provide the opportunity for commercial and residential developments to co-exist in a non-intrusive fashion,” it said. “The majority of uses on R4 properties surrounding Crescent Park are Multiple Unit Dwellings…”

Swanson said the R4 zoning was the most concerning.

“We recently had an application to build I believe a 24-unit building facing Crescent Park. Because it didn’t meet the requirements of the zoning, it made an application to development appeals, which was subsequently withdrawn,” said Swanson, adding other builders have been granted exceptions to the zoning requirements on empty lots around Crescent Park through the development appeals process.

“Rather than subject developers to go through the hoops, the bureaucratic hoops, to get development appeals that have been routinely approved or been approved in a number of cases, I would suggest that we would look at these things in executive committee and consider any amendments to it.”

The R4 units have setback requirements of 7.5 meters on the front and rear and 1.2 meters for the side. The maximum site coverage is 50 per cent. However, many properties have received variances.

A few examples of permitted uses for R4-zoned lands include adult day care centres, boarding apartments and houses, multiple unit, townhouses and group dwellings, independent living suites, medical clinics, outdoor recreation facilities, restaurants and retail stores.

Some examples of discretionary uses include day care centres or pre-schools, one- or two-unit dwellings, semi-detached dwellings, funeral homes, hotels, parking areas and private schools.

“The purpose of the C2 High Density Commercial District is to provide an area with a wide range of commercial, institutional and residential uses in high-density form,” said the report.

Most uses have a zero setback for front, rear and side with 100 per cent site coverage.

Several examples of C2 permitted uses are boarding houses, bus terminals, casinos, commercial recreation establishments, cultural institutions, drycleaners, dwelling units, entertainment establishments, financial centres, grocery stores, major and minor shopping centres, motels, night clubs, photography studios, police stations and fire halls and theatres.

Instances of discretionary uses for C2 zoned land are auction centres, car or truck washing establishments, private clubs, service stations and gas bars, vehicle rentals or sales and certain types of veterinary clinics.

“I think it’s a benefit to the citizens of Moose Jaw that we have the maximum development around a feature for Crescent Park,” said Swanson. “I think we need to look at how we’re doing this to encourage development there.”

Coun. Don Mitchell moved the referral motion, which was carried.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Geographic location: Crescent Park, Moose Jaw, Victoria Park New York Central Park

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