The proposal to build a townhouse-style development on 4th Street South, near St. Mary’s School, will be going ahead.
At Monday’s meeting, Nov. 20, Cranbrook Council gave third reading to two bylaws to amend the Official Community Plan and to rezone the undeveloped area — between 4th Street South, Rotary Way and the school — from Low Density Residential to Medium Density Residential.
The developer is Pinetree Wholesale Ltd., who acquired the land recently from St. Mary’s School. Pinetree manages property in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The City of Cranbrook has received a raft of letters from citizens in the neighborhood, expressing concern and opposition to the development.
Lower property values, a depredation of the neighbourhood, and safety concerns were among the reasons cited.
On Monday, Council held a public hearing prior to the reading.
Two neighborhood residents spoke. One asked if the developers planned the development for rental property, and expressed concern this would lead to the block of townhouses taking on the run-down state seen in other neighborhoods.
Another resident, speaking for her crescent, she said, said the residents were concerned about the potential for increased crime in the neighbourhood, and heightened safety risk due to increased traffic.
The developer, Matthew Dorling, spoke to these concerns. He said that first of all, he and his partner, Frank Machl, felt fortunate to have been able to acquire the property, that it was well suited for families.
“”We thought the property was ideal for for … homes up to three bedrooms, for young families, close to schools,” Dorling said.
Darling added the development would benefit the neighbourhood and the city as a whole. Pinetree proposed to dedicate 30 per cent of the land to public park use.
As well, the road running from 4th Street to the school is currently a private road. “We’ve decided to give it to the city to become a public road,” Dorling said.
The sidewalk along 4th Street South will also be extended and upgraded.
Darling spoke to the neighbor’s other concerns.
“In my experience, with similar developments in Saskatchewan, a development like this doesn’t promote loitering. I disagree that our development will attract a lower class of people into the community.”
Mayor and Council gave third reading to the bylaw, and afterwards spoke on the merits of the development. Rental properties are in short supply in Cranbrook, and it is very difficult for young families to break into the housing market.
“We have a lot of people not moving to Cranbrook because there is no housing available for them,” Mayor Lee Pratt said, citing feedback from local realtors.