Holyrood Gardens update from city councillor Ben Henderson

Councillor Henderson send the following email on the afternoon of December 14, 2017 to update people who messaged him about the Holyrood Gardens proposal.

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Thank you all for emailing me abut the Holyrood Gardens proposal and once again an apology for the group email but there were once again too many to reply individually.

I wanted to let you know what had happened at the public hearing about this proposal and what I believe will happen next.

We ended up taking two days to do the public hearing and I wanted to thank the many people who came out and made presentations to Council. In large part we heard that although people were supportive of a development on the land there were concerns about the details of this particular proposal and a strong feeling that it could be done better. The particular concerns were about the height of the buildings and the way they interfaced with the neighbouring single family properties and worries about traffic spill over and its impacts on the local roads within the community. There were also many who felt strongly that to ensure a quality development the project should go through the Edmonton Design Committee for their response.

Based on this I put forward a motion to refer the project back to our administration with some very specific parameters for improvement. The precise motion is as follows:

That the September 11, 2017, Urban Form and Corporate Strategic Development report CR_5108 be referred back to Administration to return with a proposal that generally meets the large site guidelines for the 35 percent plane, the tower floor plate size, and work with the community on potential road closures to mitigate traffic cutting back into the community including concerns about ramp design and pedestrian access on 93 Avenue and refer the revised proposal to the Edmonton Design Committee.

In simple terms this means that the height of the buildings will have to adjust to make sure that they are no higher than what would be captured from a 35 degree angle from the edge of the neighbouring properties. This angle was worked out as part of our existing city policy to protect the neighbours access to sunlight and sky. The smaller floor plates (basic size of every floor) also means that tall buildings are narrower also allowing for sun and view penetration. The points on the traffic are self explanatory.

The motion passed 8 to 5.

The applicant now has two choices. They can either walk away from the project or they can go back to work on it to come back with something that fits within these parameters. My understanding is that they are interested in doing the latter and that conversations with our planning department and the community should start up again soon. My hope is that at the end of the process we will have a development that can move forward, that will be something the majority will be happy with, can see the site get developed and working as a good transit oriented development, will mitigate the negative effects on the neighbourhood,  and can be a real benefit to the community.

Please let me know if any of you have any questions.

Ben

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