A controversial rezoning proposal in the Gleneagles community is back on the table and is scheduled to be reviewed by the Municipal Planning Commission before going to a public hearing on Sept. 10.
QuantumPlace Development Ltd. (QPD), on behalf of Hazkar Development Inc., is pursuing the development of a 4.15-acre parcel, better known as the "Jones Estate." The land is capable of accommodating a maximum of 11 single detached dwelling (R-1) houses. The land is currently an urban reserve and the developer wants it rezoned residential single detached district (R-1) and public service district. The idea has been widely condemned by nearby resident in the past and continues to raise their hackles.
The planning commission is scheduled to hear from the applicant on July 18 and will provide comments for the September public hearing.
If Town Councillor Alex Reed had his way, though, the proposal would not even have reached this point. In what some may call an unorthodox move, Reed opposed giving first reading to the bylaw, despite being encouraged to let the development proposal be heard.
Reed, a Gleneagles resident, says his rebellious spirit was showing.
"I saw the way it was going. I understand I was being told [to support first reading] and I just disagreed; that's why we're elected," says Reed.
He didn't see any significant changes to a proposal previously rejected. On Apr. 27, 2017, the previous town council refused to give first reading. When the property owner, then Marcia Johnston, asked council to reconsider their decision, she was once again denied.
"It sounded to me it was exactly the same, so I don't know why we're seeing this again if it's exactly the same, other than its a different developer," says Reed.
Reed isn't the only one that feels this way. In fact, all 17 people responding to the town's call for comment voiced opposition and it was commonly stated the reapplication varies little from the previous proposal.
The community association, three condominium corporations, and 12 private residents voiced their views and there was a long list of concernings ranging from traffic, safety, noise, land stability, groundwater, stormwater drainage to aesthetics such as the impact upon existing views and privacy for nearby residents. The question was also raised as to whether Cochrane needed more housing developments and some raised a concern that the land would later be rezoned to accommodate a higher density.
Some residents also believed the land was part of the Gleneagles Area Structure Plan adapted in1990, but the planning department has clarified it wasn't. The land was privately owned at the time by the late Muriel Evelyn Jones and when the Gleneagles ASP was adopted the land was designated as residential. This, they say, carries weight in giving consideration to the rezoning.
QPD has met with several of the community's residential organizations, including the community association, to discuss the proposal. They held a public session on Feb. 12 to present the conceptual site plans.
Cochrane's planning department encouraged them to provide details of their public engagement to help them get a public hearing.
"The applicants were disappointed with Council’s decision (on Apr. 27, 2017) and inquired to their options," explains Drew Hyndman, the town's senior manager of planning services. "We recommended they ensure they provide a public engagement summary that detailed there efforts to meet with adjacent residents to better understand their concerns before they proceed with the new application."
The rest of council agreed to hear the application, including Councillor Morgan Nagel, who made the motion. He explains he doesn't necessarily agree with the proposed rezoning but believes the due process should be followed.