Zoning around Crescent Park a hot topic at executive

Justin Crann
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Coun. Brian Swanson discusses why he believes administration should provide a report to executive committee detailing the rezoning of properties facing Crescent Park that are currently zoned R4 “with the intent to allow for enhanced usage of the site" at the Feb. 10, 2014 executive committee meeting.

Councillor Brian Swanson believes the city ought to review the zoning around Crescent Park.

A report requested by Swanson during an executive committee meeting in February came to the fore at Monday’s regular executive committee meeting. The report offered a review of the zoning surrounding Crescent Park, which lies at the heart of Moose Jaw’s downtown core.

In the report, city administration advised that a detailed study of Moose Jaw’s downtown to determine a primary direction for the entire area be commissioned before committee considers changing the zoning around Crescent Park.

However, Swanson disagreed.

“It just makes sense that (the area around the park) be developed to the highest assessment as is possible,” Swanson told the committee during the meeting. “We have a developer who wants to build on the north side of Crescent Park … (and) I don’t see how it hurts anyone In fact, it’s only to the benefit of the city to have larger development there.

“If you look around there, there’s a bunch of vacant and under-utilized property and it’s the one place where we seem to have some demand to do something,” he added. “Our zoning is going to limit what could be done there.”

Swanson’s remarks drew a response from Matt Noble, Moose Jaw’s city manager.

“Admin is not recommending that no action be taken, but as you’ve indicated, there has been a number of development applications over time,” he said. “From a best practices perspective, the right way to do this would be to address the whole area … rather than address (properties) on an ad hoc basis, which creates problems in the community.”

But “the argument that we don’t want to spot zone only works when we don’t have someone coming forward and asking us to spot zone,” replied Swanson.

Coun. Don Mitchell saw merit in both sides of the argument.

“Obviously, it has been a huge problem where we’ve been dealing with spot zoning in different areas of the city … which are in transition, so there is development that has come forward without a general plan, either in terms of infrastructure or the mix (of zones),” said Mitchell.

“Integrated planning for larger areas is a critical part of our strategy. … That’s the direction we have to go in to get away from this reactive response to development in areas that are changing,” he added.

Mitchell moved to receive and file the report and no other motions stemmed from it during the meeting after his motion passed.

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Geographic location: Crescent Park, Moose Jaw

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