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Silvertip residential subdivision approved

Canmore's subdivision authority approved an application by Stone Creek Properties for block 10 – a residential neighbourhood – even though development of commercial lands for the resort centre have not yet commenced.
Silvertip Development
The new Silvertip residential subdivision will create 24 duplex lots, 34 single detached dwelling lots, one parcel of municipal reserve, one of environmental reserve and a public road. SUBMITTED PHOTO

CANMORE – Stone Creek Properties has received approval for its next residential subdivision, but it must move forward in conjunction with or after another recently approved commercial subdivision. 

The subdivision authority heard submissions on the application by the developer on Nov. 24 for the next phase of residential housing in Silvertip. The application proposed to create 24 duplex lots, 34 single detached dwelling lots, one parcel of municipal reserve, one of environmental reserve and a public road. 

Development planner Tracy Woitenko told the subdivision authority, which is comprised of the mayor and council, that the approval is subject to a number of conditions.

"The application for subdivision is to create a low-density neighbourhood," Woitenko said. "There are a number of things that the subdivision authority is required to consider when approving or refusing a subdivision application." 

Block 10 within Silvertip is 5.95 hectares in size and subject to the policies set out in the development's area structure plan (ASP) approved in 2007. 

Woitenko went over all the considerations required under the Municipal Government Act, and noted when they were related to a condition of approval as recommended by administration. Those included topography, soil characteristics, stormwater collection, flood mitigation, water and sewer requirements and accessibility. 

Woitenko said the proposed roads – Mountain Tranquility Gate and Mountain Tranquility Lane – did not meet the standards of the municipality for a local road and another condition of approval would require it to so. She added that both would also need to meet the standards for fire access, while emergency access to the subdivision would also have to be sorted out. 

"There may be a design consideration that needs to be changed as a result of getting more details in the form of a transportation engineering report," she said. 

Woitenko said the subdivision is generally consistent with the municipal development plan and the approved ASP, however noted there are phasing requirements with respect to commercial development. 

The ASP specifically set out conditions for the phasing of commercial and residential development. Since 2007, only residential development has been proposed by Stone Creek and approved by the development authority. 

In 2019, the developer reached the limit of residential development permitted according to the approved plan, which required that Silvertip proceed with its commercial development for the resort prior to building more housing.

The developer, Stone Creek Properties, appealed the refusal by the subdivision authority to approve the application for block 10 due to the phasing requirement to the Court of Queen's Bench.

At the time, Silvertip argued that significant changes to market conditions should allow for it to proceed with more residential development.

The Town of Canmore and Stone Creek reached a settlement agreement in September 2019, however, when the Outlook requested a copy of the agreement, it was denied. Officials said the agreement is considered confidential. 

In October, the subdivision authority approved an application for the first commercial development in the resort centre, other than the golf course, clubhouse and conference facilities that have already been built. 

Block 3 was approved for subdivision to create a spa and resort accommodation. It is located along a bench between Silvertip Trail and Little Ravine Road and would require a new roadway to be built – Silvertip Village Lane. 

Block 10 includes a condition of approval that sets out that commercial development in block 3 should occur prior to, or at the same time as the residential development.

"The reason we have allowed for this is the applicant would like to start work on the subdivision of block 3 and block 10 concurrently with heavy machinery," Woitenko said. 

Mayor John Borrowman said it was important for the subdivision authority to understand how the conditions will provide certainty that the commercial development will proceed before residential, as per the ASP. 

"We were clear when we approved block 3 that it had to begin before any residential, which is from the ASP," Borrowman said. "There were a number of conditions put in place and if those are met and endorsed, the commercial subdivision can start.

"In the meantime, if this residential subdivision is approved, what are the contingencies if the residential subdivision gets ahead of the commercial subdivision?"

Woitenko said planning is of the opinion that the commercial subdivision has commenced once the utilities have begun to be installed. In order for endorsement to occur for block 3, she said the utilities would have to be in place. 

Endorsement is when the individual lots are created or subdivided, and then development or building permits can be applied for. She acknowledged that there is a risk that the residential development could be completed and occupied prior to the commercial area moving past the servicing stage. 

However, Borrowman said he would support the subdivision application as he is confident the conditions of approval are consistent with the direction in the ASP for Silvertip to proceed with commercial development prior to any further residential. 

"I feel confident those terms will result in commercial development happening before residential," he said. 

The subdivision was also the subject of an environmental impact statement (EIS), as well as an independent third party review. The EIS was limited in scope, noted Woitenko, but did recommend a number of mitigations proposed for the construction and operation of the development. 

They included the need for a vegetation buffer along the rear the property line, fencing and a non-disturbance covenant. 

Stone Creek's vice-president of resort and community development Jason Kelder noted there are also plans for fenced-in off-leash dog parks in the overall area to manage human-wildlife conflicts.

"It is our intention if the subdivision of this neighbourhood is conditionally approved, to pursue that to support our goals around the lower wildlife corridor," Kelder said. "Off-leash dogs is one of the biggest deterrents for wildlife use of that area." 

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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