Town approves land swap for condo

February 29, 2016 8:22 am
Kevin Weedmark

Moosomin town council has approved a land swap with a condo developer which will see a 12-unit condo developed along Wright Road, south of Kin Place, instead of the originally planned location on Gordon Street.

Developer Albert Vanleeuwen had purchased the former Barrie Davidson property that runs between Main Street and Gordon Street with the intention of building two 12-unit condos on the property. The land was rezoned from R1 to R2 residential to accommodate multi-family housing.

The first condo has been built, and the second was put on hold after the town identified sewer capacity issues on the west side of town. One 12-unit building that was destined for Moosomin was instead built in Kipling because of the sewer capacity issue.

Another prefabricated building is being put together for Moosomin and will be ready in a matter of weeks.

After Vanleeuwen met with council two weeks ago, councillors proposed a land swap, in which the town would provide him with two lots facing Wright Road that are zoned R2 in return for the lot facing Gordon Street.

Several neighbors of the Wright Road property, and Kin Place board members, were at the council meeting Wednesday with questions about the development.

The questions ranged form drainage on the property to availability of parking on the lots to questions about how the land around the condos will be landscaped to development of the back lane between Henry Street and Wright Road.

“We’ve had issues with the water running our way and because we’re a non-profit we run into an issue,” said Robert Mullett of the Kin Place board. “If elevations are changed, who’s responsible? How does Kin Place deal with issues that we don’t have money for? As a non-profit group we don’t have the money to fix drainage issues, or to add fencing.

“We know it was zoned for that, and we as taxpayers want to make the town bigger and better, but we’re concerned with the question, have we looked further down the line? If young business people come into our community, is there another area that we as a town can develop that’s as nice as the spot we have sitting there right now?

“Is there a place for me if I’m coming into town as one of the potash workers and I’m middle class and I want to build myself a home like what’s across from the hospital?”

“Do we have an area that’s ready to go for spring or summer that we could develop single family homes on?” asked Mullett.

“We want to ensure that council looks at all the alternatives and have a place that people can come and develop a single family home and we don’t want to lose that.”

Charlie Adair suggested to council members that if the condo is approved for the Wright Road location, it would lead to more condos in the neighborhood rather than new single family homes. “Where would you provide land for new housing, for people wanting to build larger, high-end homes?” he asked. “We feel this proposed project is a major mistake in this location. This type of property should be in a location with provision for parking and play areas.”

Velma Moore presented a petition from Kin Place residents opposing the location.

The land being offered to the developer was zoned R2 for multi-family housing. At one point, Kin Place was planning a second phase on the lots facing Wright Road, with the land between the two buildings being a garden area. The garden area has been developed across the undeveloped alleyway.

Councillors felt that developing the alley would improve drainage on the block.

After meeting with the delegation, council decided to approve the condo swap with the developer, since the land is already zoned R2, and the three-storey condominium is a permitted use within R2. The vote to allow the swap to proceed was unanimous.

Vanleeuwen had also asked about putting a hold on two additional lots next to the two he wants for this condo. The additional lots would be for senior housing. The senior housing units are similar to the condo units, but each building contains a manager’s residence and a common area.

Council voted against allowing Vanleeuwen to put a hold on two lots, because it has not allowed holds on lots in the past.

Councillor Jason Miller, who owns a home near the proposed location of the condo, left the council chambers for the discussion and the vote on the issue to avoid any potential conflict of interest.