Public to have say on Aberdeen plan
It’s been in the works for years, but now, the first phase of a massive development in Aberdeen is about to get a good look at city hall.
City council has approved an application for a public hearing on the rezoning of a proposed development at the end of Bentall Drive in upper Aberdeen.
The developer, DA Taylor Holdings, is planning to rezone a 34-hectare parcel of land to build a 500- to 800-single and multi-family unit development, centred around a mixed-use commercial neighbourhood village.
Council agreed to the public hearing, but passed a resolution to move the date of the hearing back a couple weeks to give residents more time to look at the proposal.
Notices of the hearing will also be delivered to homes within 500 metres of the property, as opposed to the typical 30 metres.
The public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 15.
The city’s development and engineering department supports the application, but noted there are a few issues to be addressed, including traffic and ground water.
David Trawin, director of development and engineering services, explained the developer’s hydrologist believes the property is not at risk to the same groundwater and slope issues which have plagued other parts of the neighbourhood.
But, to be on the safe side, Trawin said in the unlikely event enough water from the development does get into the ground, causing slope destabilization, the developer will be responsible for installing dewatering wells to fix the problem.
The developer is also asking for a 20-year phased-development agreement, which would keep the zoning in place for the duration of the agreement.
Any zoning agreement more than 10 years needs provincial-government approval.
It’s the first phase of a development that will be familiar to Aberdeen residents.
In 2007, the developers had announced plans to develop a 400-acre parcel of land into a community called Edinburgh Heights, which would resemble a village in the Scottish countryside.
The vision was pockets of houses dotting the hillside separated by open plains, English-style lampposts, narrow, windy streets and low brick walls lining the sidewalks.
The council of the day was cool to the plan, in part because of concerns the project didn’t have enough high-density units.
The first phase set to go in front of council does conform with the Aberdeen Neighbourhood Plan’s requirement at least 60 per cent of the units be in the form of a multi-family development.
Trawin said the developer hasn’t told the city whether it plans to change the original plan.
City staff also recommended the developer hold a public open house for area residents.
However, the developer declined, noting it had sent out 500 copies of a newsletter to residents and participated in the Aberdeen Neighbourhood Plan public consultation process in 2008 and met with the Aberdeen Community Association in 2010.