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New land use proposed for the Lodges

A second proposal has been put forward to remove restrictions on length of stay for an accommodation provider on Bow Valley Trail.

A second proposal has been put forward to remove restrictions on length of stay for an accommodation provider on Bow Valley Trail.

But unlike a failed proposal last fall to rezone the entire district, this time the proposed land use bylaw change would create a direct control district for one building – the Lodges at Canmore.

Doug Churchill with Devonian Properties detailed the proposal for the new district to include a use of visitor accommodation – extended stay, which would not restrict the length of time people could stay in a unit.

Currently, the district restricts visitor accommodation to a 28-day stay, but Churchill said the rezoning would be a test run to examine the effects of the amendment before applying it to the entire area.

The request for the change, Churchill explained, is the result of challenges in getting mortgage approval for units with such restrictions.

“Changes in policy and lending practices within the banking industry resulting from the economic crisis have produced significant difficulties in securing mortgages and loans for certain types of real estate, specifically those with restrictions on stay,” he said. “The most significant result of this is the declining market value of this class of property beyond just that resulting from the recession and the probability that those values will not rebound as the market improves since there are no lenders willing to provide conventional mortgages.”

Churchill said reduced property values will eventually become a problem for council, which could just raise mill rates.

However, he said, doing that to deal with one type of property would increase taxes for all commercial properties.

“The information generated through direct control extended stay on one project would allow a test case for administration and the redevelopment of Bow Valley Trail,” he added.

In 2011, administration is expected to work on an area redevelopment plan for the entire district.

The new use, while removing length of stay, would maintain the property as commercially taxed and require it to be part of a managed rental pool.

Devonian is the managing partner in a joint venture, Deep Powder Properties, which made the application.

A proposal by the company to include resort accommodation, which does not restrict length of stay, as a discretionary use for all Bow Valley Trail, was denied in a split decision by council last fall.

The concern of politicians at the time was the global effect of the change on Bow Valley Trail as a whole and the possibility of units meant to be rented out as hotel rooms being used as full-time residences.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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