LDA20-0026 - Former St. John’s School Site Rezoning (10231 - 120 Street NW)

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Because of public health issues, the City can't host an in-person Public Engagement Event to share information and collect feedback, as usual. This page is to help you find out information and tell us what you think, instead of having an in-person meeting.

Please watch the video and look at the information to the right. Tell us what you think and ask any questions below, before June 26, 2020.

The applicant wants to change the property's zone from the Urban Services Zone (US) to the Medium-Rise Apartment Zone (RA8). The proposed Medium-Rise Apartment Zone (RA8) would allow for a 23-metre high (about 6-storey) residential building with possible commercial uses, such as Child Care Services, General Retail Stores and Specialty Food Services, at ground level.

We will use any feedback that you share to make sure our review of the application is as complete as possible, and will also summarize it for City Council so that they know your perspective prior to making a decision.

Because of public health issues, the City can't host an in-person Public Engagement Event to share information and collect feedback, as usual. This page is to help you find out information and tell us what you think, instead of having an in-person meeting.

Please watch the video and look at the information to the right. Tell us what you think and ask any questions below, before June 26, 2020.

The applicant wants to change the property's zone from the Urban Services Zone (US) to the Medium-Rise Apartment Zone (RA8). The proposed Medium-Rise Apartment Zone (RA8) would allow for a 23-metre high (about 6-storey) residential building with possible commercial uses, such as Child Care Services, General Retail Stores and Specialty Food Services, at ground level.

We will use any feedback that you share to make sure our review of the application is as complete as possible, and will also summarize it for City Council so that they know your perspective prior to making a decision.

Tell us what you think about the application.

Please let us know what you like and what could be better about this application. What should Council know as they decide whether or not to approve the rezoning? Other people that visit this part of the site will be able to see your comments.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

As a property owner in the Carnaby Lanes condominiums, I do not support the proposed zoning (RA8) of the adjacent to St. John’s School site. I feel that the minimum setbacks and development height permitted with an RA8 zoning is inappropriate given the proximity to single family dwellings. I’m concerned that a looming six story building will result in a safety issue from falling objects and a significant loss of privacy to our back yards and deck areas. Furthermore, the sun shadowing caused by a six story building will detrimental to the enjoyment of the community gardens to the north of the site. I would prefer to see a proposal that is more sensitive to the character and nature of our neighborhood.

Lisa 16 days ago

I live adjacent to this site, and while I do support development here and in Oliver in general, I do not support this particular zoning. An RA8 zone is not contextually appropriate for this space given the minimum setback and stepback requirements, which ultimately place this building as a hulking brick with little to no green space surrounding it, aside from the Peace Garden Park to the north which is likely to be negatively affected by such a building mass. Green space is limited and cherished in Oliver, and I encourage you to look at the area in question on any weekend or evening and you will likely see rogue garden plots being tended to, children playing, dogs being walked, and friends gathering (at a distance). I would be in support of a reasonable residential development here with more appropriate setback and stepback requirements and consideration for how the space has organically developed to become a community gathering spot. The right kind of development here has the potential to enhance this community, but an RA8 zone limits that potential. A Direct Control zone would be more appropriate.

Shereen 16 days ago

The residents of Carnaby Lane (the condos south adjacent to the rezoning site) have concerns about the proposed zoning (RA8) and development of the St. John’s School site. RA8 zoning is not appropriate for this parcel of land based on the building setback requirements and requirement for a meaningful stepback. Our concerns for the south setback, north setback, building transition stepbacks, and general zoning appropriateness for the neighbourhood are detailed below.At the south side of the property, the RA8-minimum building setback requirement of 1.2 m would allow for a building only 60 cm from the existing fence separating the former school yard from the adjacent property due to the existing property line. At this distance a 6 storey building would pose several problems:● Safety concerns of falling debris such as bottles and cigarette butts from balconies onto our homes and family members;● Landscaping requirements on future development of the site will likely require trees or shrubs along the south side of the building. Within a few years any trees planted in this narrow setback would be a serious damage risk for our existing sidewalk, fence, decks, foundation, sewer and natural gas piping;● The narrow width of the setback will not allow for snow-clearing from the back-access walkway of our homes. Without the ability to clear this snow in the winter we have lost an access/egress route from our homes;● Inability to practice safe physical distancing from residents of adjacent patios/balconies when accessing the rear entrance and sidewalk of our homes;● It is incongruous that a building setback this tight would not be permitted adjacent to single family dwellings in other (comparably central and transit adjacent) neighbourhoods such as Glenora or Belgravia.At the north side of the property, the RA8-minimum building setback of 1.2 m and maximum height of 6 storeys would pose a problem for the nearby Peace Garden Park. This is a well-used and well-liked park in a neighbourhood with increasing demand for green space as population increases and communities face issues like the current pandemic. The community garden in the park would be particularly adversely affected. Losing even a section of the community garden plots would put increasing demand on a community resource that already has a 3+ year wait list.We recognize that this site is considered to fall under the purview of Council’s Transit Oriented Development Guidelines. When an amendment to the ARP is considered, the TOD Guidelines stipulate that the proposed new building development must provide for transitions away from adjacent development--starting with a stepback to match the height of existing development, and continuing to provide for an angular transition away from existing development of lower heights as illustrated on page 33 of the Guidelines, a photo of which will be emailed to council.We note that the RA8 zone makes provision for a required minimum side setback from 7.5m to 3.0m for large development sites next to areas which permit single-detached development. Given that the Carnaby site is extremely limited in lot dimensions and indeed predates the zoning bylaw, the existing 1.5 storey buildings are the effective maximum which could be developed on our site. We would look to this 7.5m to 3.0m range as providing the guidance for what would constitute an appropriate setback for this situation, when the actual site context is considered.We do support development in Oliver, but we do not believe the rezoning and development should move forward as currently planned and we believe that any zoning for the parcel of land should have increased setback requirements and other considerations in accordance with the Oliver Area Redevelopment Plan to maintain the character and preserve appropriate green space in Oliver. We would be willing to support another development and rezoning if the above significant concerns are addressed. We are willing to work with the Oliver Community League, other adjacent owners, and the developer to support a more community-oriented development. We look forward to the opportunity to meet and engage with all relevant parties, to work towards a solution that can benefit everyone.Regards,Carnaby Lane Condominium Corporation

Carnaby Lane Condo Corporation 16 days ago

While I do support residential development on this lot, I am not in favor of the proposed RA8 zoning. My concern is primarily for the immediate neighbors to the south, where intense development would be placed directly against their property. The character of these homes as historical rowhouses require much more significant setbacks that can only be assured through DC2 zoning. The cavernous environment created by a directly adjacent 10m wall sets a poor precedent for the community and hurts the development of family-sized housing.I also have concerns about the continued vibrancy of Peace Garden Park to the north, as shadowing would very negatively impact its use during spring and fall. While these periods lie outside of peak gardening season, Peace Garden Park is a very important green space in a neighbourhood largely made up of apartment dwellings. As such, I would support retaining the integrity of this key space year-round. Sufficient setbacks again, cannot be achieved through RA8 zoning and will require a DC2 designation.Thank you.

Matt Cudmore 16 days ago

Please don’t do anything that will ruin the community garden, that’s where my vegetables live.

Matt 17 days ago

Hello,My name is Derek Macdonald, Co-Chair of the Oliver Community League Civics Committee. Please see the below comments based on initial feedback from our Civics Committee and Board members, and general discussions with the applicant and the City. Please note that further feedback will be provided after the applicant presents to the Civics Committee in July (this will be the first formal presentation for this application).The Oliver Community League supports increased density that is context sensitive and enhances the public realm. The proposed RA8 zone does not provide adequate setbacks or requirements for ground floor interaction and overall building massing in order to ensure that a 23.0 m (6 story) building on this site would be a net benefit to the community. Our membership has expressed concern regarding shadow on Peace Garden Park. Even though shadowing may not be as much of a concern in the peak summer months of June and July, it is important to note that this is a park that needs to function as a multi-season space. As Oliver continues to densify, the City needs to ensure that existing public park space is designed to maximize its benefits to the community. The RA8 zone does not guarantee that will happen here, as seen by significant shadowing on up to 50% of the park during shoulder season periods. Not only does this affect the gardening potential of the plots in shadow, but it also limits how people will choose to gather and use the space otherwise. This shadowing limits the number of outdoor-comfort days that the park is capable of between early May to mid-October. One of the five main principles of the City's Winter City Design Guidelines is to maximize exposure to sunshine through orientation and design, and the standard RA8 Zone is not suitable for ensuring that this principle is followed on this site.There is an opportunity here to create a site-specific, context sensitive design that enhances the public realm while adding density near active transportation routes and a future LRT stop. The OCL believes that a DC2 Direct Control Provision that is modeled after the RA8 Zone, but contains modified setbacks, ground floor requirements, and building massing, is more appropriate for a site that is situated between an invaluable park space and the iconic bubble houses. This site is unique, and deserves to be treated as such. The OCL encourages the applicant to consider adding units with individual entrances facing Peace Garden Park that help activate the space and allow for public/private realm interaction. A DC2 would also allow for greater setbacks and stepbacks that prevent shadowing on Peace Garden Park (ie. terracing the upper floors of the building) and would allow for better interaction with the bubble houses to the south. The OCL encourages the applicant and the City to consider a modified DC2 Direct Control Provision that is based on the RA8 Zone, so that the proposed development enhances the surrounding public realm instead of taking away from it, makes the most out of the unique opportunity that this site provides, and sets an example for how to develop context sensitive, transit and active transportation oriented density within the heart of a community. We look forward to continuing to engage with the applicant, the City, our membership, and the community at large as this application proceeds, and are happy to discuss our initial feedback further at any time.Thank you and I look forward hearing from you,Derek Macdonald

Derek Macdonald 17 days ago

if this is going to be accepted there should be consideration for businesses on the main floor or a public space. Library rental unit etc...

daniel 17 days ago

I am a resident in the Oliver neighbourhood. I do not approve the RA8 rezoning but the DC2 sounds acceptable. I approve of high rise buildings on the exterior of the Jasper Ave to 104 Ave corridor, but lower rise buildings in the interior keep it feeling like a neighborhood and community. The is important to me to maintain with new developments in this already densely populated neighbourhood.

E.D. 17 days ago

I understand the varying perspectives within the city, the developer, and the community at large in regards to this development. For better or worse, the land was sold to the developer versus the city. Multiple economic factors over the last years all play a part of the current equation. The developer want's to make a return on their investment, as they have a right to do. However, I am still opposed to the current state of this proposed development for several reasons.I believe the R8 zoning is insufficient in ensuring a development that provides respectful setbacks to the surrounding community that has existed prior. A DC2 would allow for a more nuanced control of this development, taking into better consideration the setbacks to the "bubble houses" to the south of the site, and potentially further minimizing shadow impacts on Peace Garden Park. Is there potential for a unique development footprint, with some grace from the city to better buffer these two neighbours? While the new shadow study provides a significant improvement from prior iterations of this project, I am still left concerned with "worst case scenario" potential. Shadow aside, minimum setbacks and lack of creative architecture may result in a structure that creates a towering wall over a cherished public asset, permanently changing its character and that of the surrounding neighborhood. I am left wondering: "Are there ways to encourage a structure that better integrates with the existing neighborhood, in a way that contributes to neighborhood harmony?"Moreover, Edmonton's growing season is changing significantly. As our climate changes, so does the "norm" - Springs in Edmonton have been cooler and fluctuating in their temperatures over the last five years, meaning some years the growing season is delayed. Particularly wet periods, also on the increase, require direct sunlight to ensure that water evaporates and does not drown garden beds. In short, stating sunlight will hit a percentage of the garden at certain times does not consider the long term impacts the shadow may have on those areas that fall within it. While we cannot predict the future of weather, we can proactively work to ensure that our existing public green spaces are given long-term consideration from various angles.The developer originally purchased this lot with the *potential* for development. And based on their original proposal, was met with varying opinions of support or rejection from the community. I am not unsympathetic to the time and energy they have spent on the numerous changes to move forward on this file. However, considering the original proposal, its numerous iterations, the lands location and its proximity and impact to an existing public asset, and studies that only attempt to mitigate shadows versus creative solutions in architecture, I believe a DC2 is the more appropriate zoning for this development.The video presentation on this page advises that an expansion of Peace Garden Park was rejected as part of the prior "land swap" proposal. As a member of both the Oliver Community League and Peace Garden Park, I wan't to be very clear that at no time was a park expansion formally proposed or backed by dollars from either the city or the developer itself. It was brought to my specific attention when the developer came to my door while canvasing signatures in support for the prior proposal. It was an idea, a supporting graphic, with no formal engagement with the volunteers who operate Peace Garden Park. Projects of this nature require large amounts of time, to volunteer, organize, and to fund raise.I believe this site represents a challenge to existing development perspectives and from those within city administration. As our core grows denser and our needs grow stronger, it is paramount that we consider the impacts to our neighborhood and park spaces, versus simply following a rule book of previously set standards. By traversing a line somewhere in the middle, I hope the city, developer and community can see a solution that strengthens the needs of park space in Oliver, while underlining the deficit it already experiences in regards to accessible park space. It is an important reason among many that have brought passionate voices to the table.If a solution proves impossible, perhaps this is a chance for the city to obtain the site for an expanded community asset - With the number of condos already approved or under construction in Oliver, there will be increased pressure for garden plots at Peace Garden Park. And a growing disparity between the number of residents in Oliver and the parkland available too them.

JK 17 days ago

I support this development. A six-storey multi-family development is perfect for the neighbourhood and is well suited among other multi-unit buildings

Cheryl 17 days ago

Since this location is so close to the bike lanes on 102nd, the Oliver Exchange and the future LRT, it would be an ideal location for more density (a 6 story building). I hope it will include larger units (at least 3 bedroom) for families and spaces for small community businesses.

Daniel 17 days ago

I oppose this development. My parther and I live just south of Peace Garden Park, in the 3 story Sherwood Apartments building. We love our neighborhood and love to visit the garden. I believe the empty lot is a great opportunity to expand the Peace Garden Park. The space could be used as a grassy area with benches and picnic tables for local residents to enjoy. Filling this space with a building would negatively impact our neighborhood and especially the residents of the townhouses just south of the lot. A strip of grassy land behind the townhouses is already frequently used by residents as a place to visit and play, and to take this away would be disappointing. The residents of Oliver love our green spaces, including Paul Kane park down the street which is always busy and frequently crowded. An expanded Peace Garden Park would absolutely be well used by Oliver residents and their pets.

Olivia Forsyth 17 days ago

As an adjacent resident, height by itself is not necessarily a concern. However, the RA8 zone is a contextually inappropriate tool for regulating maximum development on this site.It should be noted that the RA8 zone's setback and stepback parameters have generally been calibrated assuming a greenfield development situation, where both the site and adjacent sites are assumed to be abiding by the same setbacks as regulated in the contemporary zoning bylaw. For mature core areas such as this neighborhood, most of the surrounding development predates the current zoning bylaw, so any development zoning must be especially cognizant of and sensitive to the actual context. In this regard, the minimum side setbacks of 1.2m and minimal stepback at the top of a 10m wall creates a wildly out of context and cavernous condition with the site edges north and south.The RA8 zone does provide alternative minimum side setbacks of from 7.5m to 3.0m, but only (prejudicially) invoked when the interface is with a zone for single-detached housing. This would be an appropriate guide for revised setbacks on the north and south, better protecting the park from shadow and the south property line from inappropriate location of building mass.The RA8 zone cannot meet the expectation's of City Planning's Transit Oriented Development Guidelines for appropriate height and massing transitions. It would be helpful for City Planning to show all sides and context in your massing model video, as only the north was shown.There is also an issue with the 'oprhan land' on the north edge of the site (between the development site and Peace Garden Park).- It is unclear if the City owns this, as it was previously developed as part of the St. John school site (asphalt area) but is not developed as part of City park space. A Direct Control zone would allow for the additional development of landscaped area on this parcel to the public use and benefit. Otherwise, under the RA8 it appears this unkept, unused area will not be properly incorporated in any site nor landscaped, and will remain isolated and without providing any benefit to the community nor to the possible future development.

A Resident 17 days ago

It's foolish to think that no development should occur on this parcel, especially when the city is not in a position to be able to purchase this land from the developer to facilitate the number of requests to keep it a green or public space; however, I also do not believe that the monolith of a building allowed by the RA8 zoning provides enough setback from the garden and neighbors, nor will the allowed 6-storey height be congruous to the 4-storey limit within Oliver ARP. The previous DC2 zoning would have allowed margins for a more nuanced and artful development.

OJH 17 days ago

I oppose this development, Feel it is too high for the neighborhood as it will tower over every building near to it and shadow many apartments and houses close by. The increased traffic (cars and people) will be overload for this area. Where are all these cars going to park? Nowadays one is charged for underground parking, and many will not pay for it, so will take a chance and park on the street. The plan looks like they are not even suggesting any kind of green space. How can that be in this day and age? We need more greenery in Oliver, not more cement. I would like to see how many apartments are planned for this building, and the actual design proposed. I think it would detrimental to the garden, it certainly will not have the same feel...

Ladybug 18 days ago

I oppose this development. This breaks well known and fundamental principles when it comes to the design of spaces, and how we use them as citizens. An easy example is how the currently vacant lot is actually far from "vacant". This space is already used by people during both the summer and winter months for spending time with pets, a play area, and more. The patterns of use for this space are already alive and evolving organically by individuals and families. This proposal imagines that a building will put this space to better use, when it produces no evidence that is the case. Given that this lot is essentially surrounded by narrow streets, how would one expect to accommodate for the increased traffic and inevitable demands for more parking? How does this building take into account the number of available rentals already in this area? It does not. For clusters of houses and communities, there is a need for common land, "public outdoor rooms", and spaces for animals. Given how poorly Edmonton is looked upon as an example of good urban design, I would hate for this space to befall the same negative patterns that have warranted this reputation. Spend time thinking about the actual long term organic use of land and space, instead of giving free reign to developers that clearly have no interest in making Edmonton a better place to live.

Bobby 18 days ago

I strongly oppose this development. Adding a property to this area would create more congestion issues regarding parking. Adding a property will significantly disrupt the surrounding community where people will be subjected to noise related to construction, construction debris that may damage vehicles (ex: nails in tires). Construction tends to start early, end late, and require a large amount of building materials and equipment, which would disrupt residents, limit their ability to park in their own neighborhood. It would also increase the polution in the neighborhood significantly. The street is already very congested with vehicles and large transportation trucks drive through the neighborhood evrey day. I see issues with this only increasing, and foresee a greater risk of accidents occuring in this neighborhood. this space is currently a naturalized looking green space and would be better utilized as an extension of the community peace garden, or utilized as a fenced, leashless dog park within the community, as residents use this space all winter for their pets. This space could also be well utilized as another park where people can come to enjoy recreationally. One of the appeals to living in this community is the vast amount of green space and historical buildings, so it would be unfortunate to see that green space reduced in favor of a new, likely poorly constructed, building. Condos are currently not selling or filling well, and now more than ever, the focus of city council should be quality of life and community of residents rather than more buildings that are poorly built and overpriced.

Kylie 19 days ago

I am against this development. Oliver already has a very high population density, with not enough parkland. This is even worse now with COVID. There is little space to walk with proper distance. The last thing we need is more apartment buildings. And this will ruin the little park next to it.

Michelle 19 days ago

The previous applications were voted down and should not be considered in this particular application. I believe this to be disingenuous presentation. The expansion of Peace Garden Park was never agreed upon in the ‘land swap’ application. The current proposal has some merits. RA8 is an appropriate rezoning. It appears there is an impact on the gardens in Peace Garden Park which I find acceptable. Articulations in any of the facades should be included to minimize the shadows on the garden plots. There is no mention of community amenities contribution? I also think there should be consideration of the neighbours to the south of the building. It appears as though the building is pushing right to the boundaries of the site and does not sit back from sidewalks, gardens or houses to the south.

EW 19 days ago

The proposed zoning of RA8 does not fit with the current City of Edmonton development planning documents for Oliver. As per the development plan, the interior of the neighbourhood should maintain the current 4-storey character with higher development along the major transit corridors of Jasper Avenue and 104th Ave. Rezoning this parcel to RA8 would increase traffic along already busy streets and put pedestrians and cyclists at risk. It would also decrease livability for those in the surrounding apartments/houses. Please do not approve this rezoning application.

TH 19 days ago