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One of last commercial development allotments used for warehouse in Banff's industrial compound

The Municipal Planning Commission and administration for the municipality are looking at an area redevelopment plan for Banff's industrial compound
Banff Town Hall 2
Banff Town Hall

BANFF – One of the last development allotments awarded under Banff’s legislated commercial growth cap is being used as part of a residential-commercial building in the industrial compound.

The Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) has approved a development permit for site redevelopment at 107 Eagle Crescent that includes expansion and renovation of the existing warehouse and two new apartment housing units.

Town of Banff planners say the applicant was awarded a commercial allotment of 334.6 square metres in March 2013 – the last commercial lottery that was held under Banff’s federally-legislated commercial growth regulations.

“At that point, the entirety of our commercial use development allotment, which is the amount of floor area that the Town can grow commercially, were completely distributed,” said Darren Enns, the Town of Banff’s director of planning and development at a November MPC meeting.

“A number of those have been built out now, things like the Moose Hotel, or you’re seeing the Inns of Banff now. Those are examples of the final commercial buildings that are being constructed for build-out.”

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

The applicant, Alison Brewster, said she believes the project will be a much-needed improvement to the industrial compound, adding warehousing is needed in Banff.

“Of course, residential housing in the town of Banff is always needed,” she said.

In 2002, council changed the land use bylaw to allow for residential development in the form of apartment housing as a discretionary use in the industrial compound, also known as the commercial services land (CS) use district.

MPC has previously recommended council consider an area redevelopment plan (ARP) for the industrial compound.

The goal is to address increased frequency and complexity of development applications as well as the challenges of connectivity to the townsite, resident amenities and potential cumulative impacts on future commercial services.

Administration plans to bring a proposal for an ARP to council for consideration as part of the 2021 service review, which gets underway on Jan. 18.

Eric Bjorge, development planner for the Town of Banff, said the CS district was not originally envisioned to include residential use.

“It’s been identified by administration as well as Municipal Planning Commission that some attention needs to be paid to how to properly integrate the industrial and residential uses, as we will likely see more of these types of applications in the future,” he said.

“We will look at kind of design standards and probably some capital projects to make sure these two uses are as compatible as possible and set up this district for success in the long-term.”

Bjorge said the municipality is also in discussions with Canadian Pacific Railway about a new railway crossing to provide better access for pedestrians to and from the townsite.

“Those discussions are in progress and ongoing,” he said.

Commissioner Corrie DiManno, a council representative on MPC, said she welcomed discussions with her council colleagues at service review about an ARP.

“I think it’s a really important piece as we continue to have conversations around housing in the CS district, as to how to connect those folks to the downtown core,” she said.

DiManno also thanked Brewster for including residential housing in the development.

“I am really pleased to see redevelopment happening, especially with the creativity of adding housing here,” she said.

“Apartment housing is a discretionary use, but clearly not uncommon in the CS district, and in fact, it’s becoming quite popular. Kudos for including that element.”