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Bearspaw residents concerned about proposed rezoning

A rezoning application to develop a 500-unit senior residence facility has stoked the concerns of one Rocky View County (RVC) resident about densification in his community.

A rezoning application to develop a 500-unit senior residence facility has stoked concerns about densification among some Bearspaw residents.

Tom Dechert said he and some of his neighbours feel the proposed development is “disproportionate” compared to the scope and density of the rest of the acreage community of Watermark-at-Bearspaw, which features estates on lots that range from 0.25 acres to one acre in size.

“A lot of the community understood quite clearly that there was going to be a seniors’ facility here as part of the Watermark development,” he said. “I don’t think anyone had an issue with that.

“But I think once we saw the scope of what was being proposed, everyone was taken back by the scale. How is this going to be managed and how is this going to work with [existing] infrastructure and with the particular density outside that scope of project? I think there’s concern it’s just not going to fit in with what we thought a seniors' residence was going to be.”

The rezoning application, submitted to Rocky View County’s (RVC) Planning Services Department July 24, would allow for the development of four multi-family dwelling buildings on the Damkar lands – a 12-acre parcel that lies on the west side of 12 Mile Coulee Road and a little more than one kilometre south of Highway 1A.

According to the application, the four buildings would include 500 residential units in total – a number Dechert said he and other Watermark residents were surprised by.

“We have a certain density of residents here in Watermark and Blue Ridge, and all of a sudden, we have a complete intensification of land use immediately behind single-family housing that is unlike anything we’ve seen anywhere [nearby],” he said.

“Having seniors in our community is something we welcome. Aging in place is something that makes sense, and we want to see that happen. I just think the scale of this particular project is disproportionate and needs to be re-examined.”

In a statement, RVC Manager of Marketing and Communications Bart Goemans said the County was unable to provide comment or information on the rezoning application, as it has yet to be discussed by council.

Coun. Samanntha Wright, who represents the division the proposed development would be located in, echoed Goemans, saying she cannot comment on the rezoning proposal until after it has come before council. She added she encourages area residents to submit their thoughts on the matter and looks forward to hearing feedback at a future meeting.

Dechert said he and other residents of Watermark plan to submit comments to the County about the proposal and would likely voice their concerns at a public hearing if one were to be held in the future.

“I would like to see something re-proposed that is more appropriate for not only the community, but of a lesser density and reflects the integrity of neighbouring communities,” he said. “I don’t think at this point, what [has been] proposed really does that, and it’s a disservice, not only to the neighbouring community of Tuscany, but also the Blue Ridge villas.”

Scott Strasser,
Follow me on Twitter @scottstrasser19

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