Residents looking to downsize will soon be able to and stay in the city.
Council approved a change to the city’s Land Use Bylaw creating a new type of land use district which covers the smaller homes and lots, known in the bylaw as planned lots.
“The desire to offer a mix of housing types in order to stay a sustainable community is a vision that was built into the MDP, with the guidance of our resident committee,” said Chestermere’s Mayor Patricia Matthews.
While staff where consulting residents for the city’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP) update last year, residents told staff that the city has a lot of large family homes and expressed a desire for a smaller option.
The city does have several multi-family developments that offer a smaller option. With the resident’s feedback, staff wanted to expand the kinds and sizes of houses available in Chestermere.
“Residents love the ‘community’ feeling in their neighbourhoods but wanted more options for the types of houses they could choose to live in.
“More range and diversity in housing options became a top priority to achieve the City’s updated Municipal Development Plan vision,” said City of Chestermere Municipal Planner Jillian Geen.
The new planned lot district house will provide both residents and people looking to move to Chestermere smaller single family homes that will meet the needs of first-time home buyers.
These new houses will also provide young professionals and families a more affordable option.
Finally, these new housing products will give seniors in Chestermere and option to downsize while staying independent and in the community.
“The Planned Lots provides another option to current residents that may be seeking to be comfortable in Chestermere during different stages of their lives, as well keep our community attractive to new residents and employers,” said city Development Services Coordinator Jeffery Gibeau.
The decision by council to approve the new zoning came with a significant amount of debate as councilors wanted to ensure this was done right the first time.
“The challenge is to make sure that the intent of smaller houses on a smaller yard doesn’t get lost in a push from the market for large houses on a smaller yard- that can be found anywhere,” said Matthews.
“Now is the time to fine tune what that might look like in our neighbourhoods and we want to make sure it’s done right,” she said.
The approved changes also open the door to bungalows being built in the planned lot districts for both seniors and those residents with reduced mobility.
“We want a unique offering that reflects Chestermere values,” said Matthews.
With the approval at the May 1 council meeting, land owners and developers can now apply to the city to use the planned lot designation and can start building this new type of house in the city.
There are already new neighbourhoods being planned for the western edge of Chestermere which include planned lots in their proposals.