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Housing dropped from warehouse expansion in Banff's industrial compound

Limits on commercial activities when mixed with housing in the industrial compound, based on building and fire codes, led to the removal of proposed residential housing in a warehouse expansion.

BANFF – A plan to include residential housing into a commercial warehouse expansion – one of the last commercial development allotments under the growth cap – has been scrapped.

Town of Banff planners say the applicant decided against pursuing the two apartment units as part of the development due to a number of factors, including limits housing puts on commercial activities in the industrial compound.

“They’ve reconsidered and decided to pursue alternative ways to meet that requirement through the housing policy,” said Eric Bjorge, Banff’s development planner during a Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) meeting on Thursday (Jan. 14).

“That would be the construction of that housing offsite at a different location, or payment through cash-in-lieu provisions.”

The warehouse expansion and renovation at 107 Eagle Crescent, which was approved by MPC in November last year, is continuing with the same site layout and building envelope as proposed, except commercial space goes to the top of the building.

The applicant was awarded a commercial development allotment of 334 square metres in March 2013 – the last commercial lottery that was held under Banff’s federally legislated commercial growth regulations.

The existing single-storey warehouse building was previously occupied by Alpha Dairy, and is currently used by Mount View Barbeque as a warehouse and office space.

Dave Michaels, the Town of Banff’s manager of development services, said the applicant found some of the requirements in the land use bylaw specific to apartment housing in the compound to be challenging.

He said one of the biggest hurdles was the limits fire and building codes have when mixing commercial operations and residential housing, particularly in the industrial compound.

“It puts a lot more limits on that commercial space because of that mix and that all comes down to building and fire codes,” Michaels said.

“Based on the kind of warehouse model, they felt it was quite restrictive when looked at in more detail as to what could actually occur there.”

The application is being re-advertised and circulated within Town of Banff departments.

Because housing, which is a discretionary use, is no longer part of the project, and the warehouse, which is permitted in the industrial compound, the application is being considered internally by the planning department and not MPC.