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Bylaw opens door to higher density in MD

by Dave Husdal Bonnyville The MD of Bonnyville is considering a landuse bylaw amendment that creates the potential for 49-foot apartment buildings in serviced, urbanized neighbourhoods on the fringes of Bonnyville and Cold Lake, as well as at Moose L
Town-style apartment buildings would be a discretionary use under a proposed MD of Bonnyville bylaw.
Town-style apartment buildings would be a discretionary use under a proposed MD of Bonnyville bylaw.

by Dave Husdal

Bonnyville

The MD of Bonnyville is considering a landuse bylaw amendment that creates the potential for 49-foot apartment buildings in serviced, urbanized neighbourhoods on the fringes of Bonnyville and Cold Lake, as well as at Moose Lake.

The bylaw received first reading but little discussion at MD council's meeting on June 9.

The bylaw, which will go to the public for feedback at a future public hearing, and still requires two more readings from council to become law, would create a new landuse zone known as CR3, which stands for country residential estate.

The zone would sanction single family homes, minor home businesses and accessory buildings as permitted uses, but also lists apartments, bed and breakfasts, retail stores, duplexes, fourplexes and townhouses amongst its 10 discretionary uses.

In the case of apartments, they could potentially reach 15 metres — a little over 49 feet — in height, with a density of 100 units per hectare, the equivalent of 40 units per acre.

The height and density for discretionary apartments are the same as the potential heights and densities allowable under the highest density residential use in the Town of Bonnyville's landuse bylaw.

Reeve Ed Rondeau noted the new zone would intentionally match up with what's allowed in Bonnyville and Cold Lake, but he also emphasized discretionary uses would be at the discretion of the MD.

“It doesn't mean that just because it's in there (in the bylaw), that particular place will get that type of building,” Rondeau said.

“It's to protect the city, or protect the Town of Bonnyville, so that when they do annex it down the road, if they ever annex it, they have a situation where it fits into the town, where it fits into the city, because you don't want to have a quarter section of land, for instance, with 25 or 30 lots in it, in the city or in the town,” Rondeau said. “You want a denser population than that, otherwise just servicing it alone can be a nightmare, cost wise and everything else.”

Rondeau added that he doesn't consider serviced neighbourhoods on the fringes of Cold Lake to be a done deal.

“No. It's not a done deal. The developer still has to go to the city and he still has to work it out in his development agreement with both the city and the MD in order to get that. If he can't work out that agreement, then of course he won't be able to do it.”

Regarding apartments, Rondeau said a 15-metre apartment building amounts essentially to a three-storey structure with a roof.

He acknowledge that 40 units per acre may be “a bit scary” to some residents, but strongly emphasized such uses would be discretionary, not permitted.

The CR3 designation isn't yet in the landuse bylaw, but it's already the proposed zone for a Moose Lake area development for which first readings of an area structure plan and landuse bylaw change were given by council on June 9.

The development, to be known as Lakeside Village, is proposed for NW 10-61-6 W4, immediate west of Bonnyville and immediately south of the town's water treatment plant on the east end of Moose Lake.

The area structure plan for Lakeside Village contemplates more than 100 lots equipped with water and sewer services. The area structure plan map included in council's agenda package indicates low density residential and low density duplex lots.

Council also gave first reading to two other residential area structure plans at the same meeting — one contemplating 101 lots on the quarter section of land immediately east of 34th Street (the east boundary of the town) and immediately south of Secondary Highway 659/50th Avenue on the east end of Bonnyville.

The other residential ASP to receive first reading was for close to 70 lots on the south shores of Cold Lake, known as The Estates of Long Bay.

No rezoning bylaw was introduced for either development, though they would logically receive the CR3 designation if they're going to be serviced with water and sewer.