The stage has been set for the long anticipated public hearing on the Greystone Area Structure Plan (ASP) and a nonstatutory hearing on the Area 'C' neighbourhood plan.
Scheduled to be held June 18, it's the first major development piece the new town council will debating since the fall election and comes after an extensive public consultation that began in Sept. 2016.
The Burnswest development is designed to be a unique community within a community, bridging high-density and low-density housing, light industry and its own commercial hub that could potentially include a hotel, grocery store and other services. There are extensive recreational grounds largely located near the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre. It would also be a prime location to utilize smart technology with its proximity to the town's black fibre.
Still, there are some contentious issues in the eyes of residents of the Riverview Community that lies upon its doorstep.
Gerry Ertel, Riverview Community Association president, has already given notice he will be speaking on behalf of the association and has requested a 30-minute time slot in light of the number of people he will be representing.
The association remains concerned with the maximum population density allowable in Greystone, not the anticipated density.
"While the town and Burnswest have indicated the ``anticipated density`` of the Greystone development is proposed to be 8.2 units per acre (upa), they do not specify or disclose what the proposed maximum density is for the Greystone development," states Ertel in a letter to town officials.
The association also questions how the town could accommodate the development with its current water licence for an estimated 40,000 people. The town, says the association, has already approved developments that at full build-out would accommodate a population of 51,000 and they estimate Greystone will add 2,860 to this total.
The public hearing is expected to draw a large crowd and if need be the meeting will be relocated to a larger premises, town council has been told, and that pleases Ertel, who says the association has been pushing for this for several months.
Only a few changes were required just prior to the final open house in late April and the company is excited to be presenting the plan to council, said Joshua Hagan, Burnswest vice-president of development, during the open house.
Hagan says the aim is to have 8.2 upa and they've reduced their maximum density to 12.6 from 13.4. That has primarily been done by adding more single-family parcels on the east end of the development, the area closest to Riverview, while reducing high-density offerings. At the east end, there would be 5 upa, which he says complements and almost mirrors lot sizes in the Riverview community.
"I think we've been really cognizant of making sure the transition between the two communities is as seamless as possible," says Hagan.
The phasing of the development is proposed to start from the east end, but would bring some of the larger single family lots onstream should there be demand.
Hagan says the changes made in the plan over time reflect the feedback they've received from the community.
"We have 100 per cent listened to concerns from residents of all the communities of Cochrane and I think we're quite proud of the changes that you see today. It accurately captures a lot of those concerns. Of course, you're not going to be able to address all of the concerns and I think what we've been hearing here today (at the open house) and previously are a lot of the concerns are a bit more on the macro level, as far as traffic congestion in Cochrane in general and how can that be fixed."
"A lot of that stuff is beyond the scope of our development."
He says Greystone offers a tremendous opportunity for the town and has been exciting to plan.
"Most municipalities looking for a product that would be offering this diversity and complexity and location would be quite excited. We're excited about it, turning a brownfield into a new development. We want to make sure it's done right, we believed we have listened to the concerns of residents, we've addressed them and we're looking forward to having a good public hearing."
While supportive of the development of the Burnco site, the Riverview Community, has some concerns they plan to bring forward at the public hearing.
Among those are increasing the commercial development to 75 to 100 per cent of the land and should there be any residential development it should be capped at 10 upa. They also propose a caveat on developing homes on the north side of the property until Spray Lake Sawmills (SLS) ceases to operate in its current location along Griffin Rd.
RCA says the 2012 Cochrane Open Spaces Master plan called for the town to buy land near the rec centre to develop play fields. They want the town to live up to that commitment and allow the green space in Greystone to be spread throughout development. It could also be used to help provide a larger buffer from SLS for homes on the north side of the development.
RCA remains concerned over traffic congestion and believes the development will drastically increase traffic along Griffin Rd., encouraging motorists to divert through Riverview. They also believe the Transportation Impact Assessment completed doesn't adequately assess congestion points in town and should be revised.