Primrose plan at MPC this week, then on to council
A plan to rezone greenspace near Primrose Drive for a potential housing development will appear at Wednesday’s meeting of the municipal planning commission though a group of residents is also planning their opposition.
“People are really, genuinely angry about this,” said Connaught area resident Robin Cowan. “It’s a beautiful space. It’s not excess land, as they say.”
Officials with the city’s land and properties office say they are acting on a strategic priority laid down by city council to evaluate the city’s land inventory and market land not needed for municipal purposes for private development.
Drop-in information sessions for neighbours, they say, was to inform the community of what was proposed.
“The goal was to inform the neighbours about the potential designation ... and inform them how to voice their concerns,” said Jane Zwicker of the land department office. “It’s ultimately council’s decision as the regulator.”
The item could potentially receive first reading at city council on Nov. 19, meaning a public hearing on the change would be held in December.
The change also fits with a city development goal of spurring new higher-density housing along major routes in established neighbourhoods. That is seen as the most cost-effective way to increase the tax assessment base and add population density, without incurring development costs related to new subdivisions.
Cowan and other residents however, say the land is too close to major intersections, and the idea resembles a defeated plan to build condos there in the late 1990s.
Since then, he argues, traffic has only increased, and after public information sessions showed strong opposition, he wonders why city administrators haven’t abandoned the idea.
“Is it the developers who have all the influence at city hall? It’s not the people of Medicine Hat.”
An application to rezone the land from “open space” to medium-density residential, would allow a condo block or townhouses.
Land department officials say the major route can handle the traffic and have proposed that access would be made off Primrose Drive, which winds through the quiet community of Connaught.
Also this fall, the land department released a list of four other properties in the city that would be newly placed on the market, or see price reductions in order to hasten sales.
They include a lot next to the Moose Ball Diamonds, which had been subject of an cancelled offer from land developer last year, land set aside for a firehall in Crescent heights facing Division Avenue, and lots beside Luther Manor in the Flats and another on Allowance Ave.