July 22nd, 2024

City plan promotes increased density in new neighbourhoods

By Tim Kalinowski on February 4, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

BILD Lethbridge hosted an online “coffee chat” with city planning staff on Wednesday to go over proposed changes to the City’s Municipal Development Plan which could have implications for local developers.
The updated MDP accounts for new development of the Airport Business Park, and the City’s plans to annex lands from Lethbridge County from the airport all the way up to the current City of Lethbridge boundary over the next few years.
The MDP also includes plans to provide more opportunities to build supportive housing and low-income housing in alignment with the City’s Municipal Housing Strategy in various areas of the city. Supporting, as city planner and MDP document co-author Tyson Boylan explained to attendees, “YIMBY, (Yes In My Back Yard),” instead of “NIMBYism.”
The plan promotes increased density in new neighbourhoods in a manner that respects the existing character, and to have new neighbourhood Outline Plans to have a minimum average density of 27.5 units per hectare for anything built after this MDP is approved.
There will also be greater flexibility in zoning for builders, and will allow current land use bylaws to be updated more easily to allow for more secondary suits and duplexes in more low density areas.
According to city planners, Lethbridge could fit another 200,000 citizens into current city boundaries without unnecessary annexations - save for annexations for development of the airport and future industrial development.
The new MDP will also put a greater emphasis on “more walkable neighbourhoods” in appropriate land use districts, and will require developers to pay more attention to the “built environment” to minimize driving and encourage other forms of transportation. Many of these changes have already outlined in the City’s Transportation Master Plan.
The MDP also outlines new protections for environmentally sensitive lands in the City of Lethbridge. New developments will have to do wetland and rangeland health assessments with Area Structure Plans.
Another aspect of the updated MDP will also require an assessment be undertaken on any potentially culturally sensitive Indigenous sites within developer’s Area Structure Plans.
The Municipal Development Plan will receive First Reading from city council on Feb. 9. The plan is now available in full within the city council agenda package for that day.
Staggered public hearings on the new MDP will be held between Mar.1 and Mar. 5.

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