Airdrie City Council voted to amend a bylaw which will allow public storage facilities to be added to the list of discretionary land uses, but with the caveat that the potential for an outdoor storage facility is limited for a particular parcel of land near Fletcher Village.
According to City documents, applicants had submitted a site-specific amendment application to the Land Use Bylaw, 'to add Storage Facility, Public as a use specific to 305 Towerlane Drive SW.'
"The M3, Downtown Core Mixed Use District does not presently include a Storage Facility, Public as a use, restricting the pursuit of development plans for a five-story self-storage facility proposed at this location," city documents added.
In late December, The Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) reviewed the application and the original version of the proposed bylaw at their meeting.
"MPC expressed concern that the amendment could allow for outdoor storage of vehicles and boats based on the definition of storage, self-storage. MPC suggested revisions to the administrative recommendation of [the] bylaw that would restrict outdoor storage. MPC voted five to two in favour of recommending the amendment version of [the] bylaw number. The amended version would allow for self-storage on the site, but prohibit any outdoor storage," said Samina Tuli of the City's Planning and Development department.
During the public hearing, an Airdrie resident who lives in Fletcher Village spoke in favour of the bylaw amendment but underlined that she wasn't in favour of the development of the parcel of land.
"My balcony looks out over that parcel of land. The concern that I have is that it [is] wetlands, and we must support and maintain our wetlands," said Julie Noseworth. "It's also a wildlife corridor; there's moose, there's deer. There are all kinds of birds. I appreciate the development and I am not a person who says, 'Not in my backyard.' However, the wetlands I believe are critical to our community. For that reason, I would not support any construction building on the north side of the railway."
However, Councillor Tina Petrow clarified that the bylaw amendment would simply add storage facilities as a discretionary use to the Land Use Bylaw; and that no development is considered at this time.
"I just wanted to put it out there; that this does not approve any development on this site, just the opportunity to come forward with a plan to see what is possible on that site," Councillor Petrow stated.
A letter submitted to city council enumerated that they were not in favour of the bylaw amendment.
"I am against changing this bylaw. This law is part of the downtown core and should remain as such, building a storage facility takes away from the pedestrian and other active transportation uses for a friendly street environment. This is close to the new library and eventually will hopefully be a dynamic area of the city. I suggest that storage facilities should remain in industrial areas," the letter read.
Tuli added that the next steps will include a required pre-application meeting before any development permit application is submitted.
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