Trend for residential development needs to change
The growth of Airdrie over the nearly 15 years I have lived here has been staggering. Obviously growing pains are inevitable. However, the trend over the last few years for our new residential developments needs to be reversed. Too many of our new developments are becoming ill-thought out, non-descript neighborhoods built on lots that are too small, with cookie cutter designed houses.
The proposed development of South Windsong is a case in point. The development plan for this area received first reading in Council Chambers August 06, 2013 and raised a number of issues that need to be addressed. “Units per acre” (UPA) is one measurement that determines whether you can “reach out and touch your neighbor”. The current municipal development plan for Airdrie records the minimum UPA is 7 units. The proposed South Windsong development had a range of UPA’s of approx 8 to 18, depending on the type of housing to be built (fully detached to multi-family), with the overall average coming in at approx 9.5 units per acre. It used to be you could drive a car between two houses and still have room to spare. With new developments, like the proposal for South Windsong, you’d be lucky to ride your bicycle between two homes without bruising your elbows!
The report presented to Council by the planning department also raised concerns over the lack of diverse housing styles proposed by the developer. In other words, there is concern this new development will look no different than those surrounding it. Thankfully, the South Windsong development proposal isn’t set in stone yet. There’s still time for public input and feedback. Sadly, for a number of recent developments, the time for public feedback has come and gone.
What happened to building character into new neighborhoods? Do we really want new neighborhoods that have a look that would bore you to tears. Has greed of the almighty dollar deluded us into being OK with sub-standard, vanilla, same old same old communities?
When will Council stand up to developers/builders and say enough is enough? Perhaps that will occur following the election of a new Council come October.
Mike De Bokx