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Council approves Teepee Town changes to Land Use Bylaw

Changes to the Land Use Bylaw proposed for Second Avenue included allowing tourist homes to be developed, but limiting them to one unit per lot

CANMORE – Changes to the area redevelopment plan for the Teepee Town area of Canmore have been adopted into the Land Use Bylaw – with one notable change that was approved by council affecting tourist homes. 

Development planner Nathan Grivell presented second and third reading to amend the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) to council at the beginning of October, while a public hearing was also held at the beginning of September. 

"Given the changes to the district, amendments to the Teepee Town CR-district aligned with the area redevelopment plan, administration recommends council give second and third reading," Grivell said. 

Councillor Joanna McCallum proposed an amendment prior to second reading to limit the number of tourist homes developed, which are only permitted along Second Avenue, to one per lot. McCallum explained her intention was to mitigate commercial uses from taking over the street and ensuring residential ones are maintained. 

"We all understand this neighourhood is supposed to stay that – a residential neighbourhood – with some touches of commercial and I feel that this [tourist home] use actually has and can have a very heavy impact," she said. 

"Under the current proposed bylaw, those entire block faces could become ... tourist homes. What I am trying to do is a bit of mitigation.

"Certainly by allowing for that tourist home use per parcel, it ensures that it does not take over the entire building, which could have the effect of disrupting that neighbourhood feel you have on Second Avenue." 

Second Avenue has frontage along Bow Valley Trail and has been the subject of debate as to what is envisioned for its future under the Teepee Town Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), which was recently updated by council. 

As a result, changes to the LUB were also required to bring the new ARP into alignment with it – resulting in the recent public hearing and bylaw approval process. 

Mayor John Borrowman and councillors unanimously supported the amendment  to limit tourist homes.

"I think this is a good amendment," Borrowman said. "It allows some use for tourist homes, but ensures the neighbourhood still has a residential focus." 

Any properties already developed with more than one tourist home would be legally non-conforming. Grivell said any applications being processed for properties along Second Avenue would be held to the most recently approved bylaw. 

Changes to the LUB to support the ARP support council's goals of improving housing choice, enhancing neighbourhood greenery, maintaining neighbourhood character, incorporating pedestrian design and supporting small-scale commercial, according to the staff report. 

Accessory dwelling units are permitted throughout the three sub-districts established in the LUB, including townhouses. Second Avenue is set out to accommodate a mix of uses, with low-to-medium residential density permitted and commercial on the ground floor possible. 

Administration originally recommended Second Avenue properties be required to develop commercial on the ground floor, however after a public hearing council amended the ARP to allow whether or not commercial is developed to be at the discretion of the property owner. 

Additional landscaping requirements are new to the area as part of the LUB, as in the past the focus has been on preserving mature trees in the neighbourhood already. New incentives in the bylaw hope to encourage the maintenance of mature trees. 

Coun. Jeff Hilstad proposed a successful motion to create language to add decorative concrete styles as permitted for use on driveways.

As an issue that came up at the public hearing, Hilstad and Coun. Karen Marra said they feel it is of high enough quality to be considered as a driveway material. 

Borrowman noted the length of time council and the municipality has been working on establishing updated regulations for the Teepee Town area. 

"I think we have heard quite a bit from residents in Teepee Town and I think this bylaw responds in the best way possible to the different circumstances that are there," said the mayor.  

"I think this bylaw, and the recently approved ARP, will help define that area for the next 15 years or more and Teepee Town will continue to be an important and vibrant part of our community."

McCallum sat on a task force established to manage the original Teepee Town ARP. She thanked the residents who volunteered their time towards planning for their neighbourhood's future. 

"It has been a long road," McCallum said. "This is a very important neighbourhood. It is right in our valley bottom and it has access to amazing services. 

"I am truly looking forward to seeing how it grows and changes because I truly believe it has the potential to be a fully local neighbourhood." 


Tanya Foubert

About the Author: Tanya Foubert

Tanya Foubert started as a news reporter at the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2006. She won the Canadian Community Newspaper Award for best news story for her coverage of the 2013 flood. In December 2018, she became editor of the Outlook.
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