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Viscount Bennett Sale

Viscount Minto Board presentation Nov 14, 2023

 

Minto provided a first look at their proposal for redevelopment of the site.

Their land use plan was submitted to the city Nov 15.

This is going to be a high rise/high density development with no single family or duplex units

The slide show they presented can be accessed via this link.  https://www.richmondknobhill.ca/post/viscount-minto-board-presentation-nov-14-2023

Highlights

 

-2,500 units  (over 200 UPA  (Units per acre))   The wedge is approximately 5 UPA

 

- Green space- 1.8 acres   previously 9 acres

 

- west entrance change to mid-block on 25 Street

 

-Building heights - maximum:  8 stories, 15 stories and no maximum for the 3 land use categories

 

Land use definitions

 

M-H1

Multi-Residential - High Density Low Rise District (M-H1)

M-H1 is a multi-residential designation that is primarily for 4 to 8 storey apartment buildings that may include commercial storefronts. Land Use Bylaw - M-H1

M-H2

Multi-Residential - High Density Medium Rise District (M-H2)

M-H2 is a multi-residential designation that is primarily for apartment buildings of varied height (4 to 15 storeys) that may include commercial storefronts. Land Use Bylaw - M-H2

M-H3

Multi-Residential - High Density High Rise District (M-H3)

M-H3 is a multi-residential designation that is primarily for high rise apartment buildings (no predetermined maximum height) that may include commercial storefronts. Land Use Bylaw - M-H3

Viscount Bennett News - November 10

Upcoming Open Houses

Nov 29 virtual

Nov 30 in person

More info: https://2501richmond.com

Viscount Bennett update Oct 26, 2023

Several of us from the community met with representatives of Minto today to present and discuss community interests and concerns regarding the redevelopment of the site. A copy of the list we gave them is provided below.

Minto is currently working on a land use plan and they are planning a to have a presentation to the community later in November, date to be confirmed. We believe this was a very productive meeting.

Stay tuned

Community reps:  Phil Harding, Director, Viscount Bennet; Storm Purdy, Chair Viscount Bennett  Committee; Dave Avramenko, Viscount Bennet committee and Director of Facilities

Minto reps:  Charles Boechler, Viscount liaison and Martha McClary,  Strategic Lead for communications and Engagement

Viscount Bennett and Community redevelopment List  October 23, 2023

 

We believe it is extremely important that you hear from the community regarding what is important to them for the site and also what upgrades will be required offsite to accommodate this development.

On Increasing Density in Established Neighbourhoods:

The MDP directs growth to nodes, corridors, and activity centres including the downtown. The City in other instances has recommended against increased densities in locations that did not meet such criteria (Chinook Mid-town as an example) as it drew away from priority locations for increased density.  The Viscount Bennett site is similar to the Chinook Mid-Town concept as it does not meet basic criteria for such increases.  Having said that, the community could support revitalizing the school site with modest density that contributes to the community.

This is by far, the largest undertaking in this community since its inception in the early 1950’s. The site is problematic since there is really only one way in and one way out. We expect there will be 1000 to 1500 people or more, a huge increase in population and as important, major traffic issues particularly on Richmond Road. The project will create a lot of pressure on other areas such as green space. The community, with the population additions which have occurred since 2019 will be below the standard metric for green space per person. 

We have worked with members of the community and consulted as a committee to produce the following list of community benefit items we wish you to consider proving to the community recognizing the impacts the increase in population will have throughout the community.  We feel these items are important and constructive to the development. It is divided into ONSITE and OFFSITE categories with a view that some of the OFFSITE items are equally as important as what will be happening on the site.

Viscount Bennett was removed from the Westbrook LAP and designated as a Special Study Area so it will receive more rigour and engagement throughout the planning and redevelopment process.

 

ONSITE

1.Green Space

The Viscount Bennett site is 12 acres, 9 of which are included in our community (for all of Richmond Knobhill) green space count. This 9 acres accounts for 25% of the total green space in the community. This space has always and continues to have high use both from within and outside of the community. 

It will be important to provide significant park space recognizing that there will be a net loss in space countered with a major increase in population. This math runs contrary to the requirements of the MDP.

As such, we would like to see, at a minimum, a 4 acre park on the south west corner of the site which will allow direct access from 25 Street and 30 Avenue. It will also retain some portion of the hill which is heavily used for tobogganing.

As we will indicate later in this letter, the location and area of this parcel would have to be guaranteed by a DC guideline or some other methods it occurs as promised.

2. Site access

We would like to see access to the site using the existing roadway adjacent to Crowchild and eliminate access from 25 Street. This should result in better traffic flow by having vehicles moving primarily on Richmond Road and eliminating a likely bottle neck at the intersection of Richmond Road and 25 Street.

3. DC Zoning

The site, as part of the DC needs to be specific regarding what portions are appropriate for various forms of density, heights and uses including park land. A site plan that breaks the site up into the various DC components is most appropriate. This approach is typically used in larger, more varied sites such as this site.

We’d like to have DC zoning for the site appropriate to what gets agreed to for land use and development guidelines on different areas of the site to ensure certainty and avoid the possibilities of unforeseen changes which might occur after the land use changes are approved due to claimed market conditions or resale.

4. Low traffic impact uses

We would like to see some buildings which would have a low traffic impact, In particular, we feel their should be a seniors complex, either as a stand alone building(s) or as part of another building(s).

5. Food Beverage facility

Some form of small-scale food/beverage access for residents of the site and the adjacent community. Wonder about the possibility of a “club” type of arrangement with different ownership model.

OFFSITE

6. Richmond Road Redesign

One of the major issues and problems of the site will be traffic. Given the anticipated population, there will be lots of vehicle traffic and given there is only one way in and out, Richmond Road will be the roadway used. We want a redesign of this road from 29 Street. to Crowchild using a curvilinear (serpentine) format in order to manage speed and make it a safe roadway by reducing speed by virtue of the design. The redesign should also include beautification and landscaping to make this a model, first-class thoroughfare.

7. More green space

We would like to get control of the greenspace in the corner of Crowchild and 33 Avenue. This would add a few more acres of greenspace to a community which will be under the requirement due to your development. We know this property is controlled by City of Calgary Transportation Department (for any future transportation need at this location) but we would like to use it “temporarily”. This would include removing the fenced “garbage dump” and maybe relocating the gravel box. E would have Parks and Recreation suggest what could be easily done to make it useable.

8. Iconic signage

We would like to have a sign utilizing artwork with the community’s name, Richmond Park, on it. This sign would be located at 29 Street and Richmond Road, the main entry to the community. Maybe another one at 26 Avenue and 25 Street.

 

Community Enhancements

Off Site levies and Established Areas Growth Management Strategy funding should be activated if the school site is redeveloped. Issues such as infrastructure upgrades and road upgrades will likely form part of the negotiations between the City and the developer. Other community enhancements could include a new ice rink roof, additional open space (and improvements to existing open space) …..etc. and should be negotiated once growth funding amounts are agreed upon.

We have a rink complex (hockey rink, pleasure rink and pathway) which is an important element in the community. It is expected that the new residents of Viscount will be users of the rinks and community green spaces. It takes a lot of manhours to provide good ice. Significant time is spent shovelling snow. The RKHC board has identified that a roof would go a long-ways to reducing the time required to shovel snow off the rink (see Ramsay and Inglewood). It also helps maintain ice quality by keeping the sun off of the rink. This would be a roof only, open on all sides. In conjunction with the roof, we are looking at the possibility of adding a couple of bleachers for spectators.

Also, a community sign (electronic) at the hall that is programmable for messages. This will eliminate the need for a bold sign advertising events at this location and make it easier to keep the community informed of what’s going on.

Viscount Bennett Site Security Update from Minto Communities (Aug 23 2023)

  • Signage on the building itself has been enhanced to identify security contact as well as the personal health hazards that exist from use of the site.

  • The unsafe playground equipment has been successfully removed.

  • Over 90% of the windows and doors have been boarded up and barricaded with the involvement of our security contractor with support from the City of Calgary Police and Fire. This has proven to be effective at preventing individuals from accessing the building.

  • There is a full-time security presence, including added cameras, lighting and 24-hour security guards that monitor the site.

  • Several adjacent streetlight outages were repaired through escalations with the City of Calgary to improve nighttime visibility.

  • Landscaping has removed shrubs and pruned existing trees to eliminate hiding areas and improve security site lines.

  • General maintenance of the site is ongoing, including mowing grass and actively removing debris from the site.

Minto and our security provider maintain ongoing contact with the City of Calgary's Coordinated Safety Response Team (CSRT). Implementing their recommendations in late June effectively prevented unauthorized building access, resulting in a significant decrease in attempted site access

Update on sale of Viscount Bennett May 25, 2023

Sale closed May 24, 2023 to Minto Group, Ottawa

 

Website for Minto is now up and running- see link below

Per the note below, the sale closed yesterday

Closing on the building will occur May 24. Signage will go up promptly. The only area that will be fenced off is the deteriorated playground, and signage will go up specifically noting the playground removal in June so that we have a visual communication on site on the matter. 

 

There are FAQ questions/answers and a registration portal on the current project website: https://2501richmond.com/

***

Important Community Information !!

The meeting held on September 27, 2022 was very spirited and resulted in a committee with 18 members. This committee will be working on a number if initiatives to better understand all of the stake holders and the impact that the development will have on our community. Conversations have started with the potential Developer.

Please stay tuned for further updates!!

Viscount Bennett Sale and Rezoning                                                                                                                                                      Sept 2022

Background

The Viscount Bennett site will be sold to a developer in the near future. We don’t know who the developer will be or what they will ask City permission to build HOWEVER we assume that they will want a predominantly residential development with many buildings 6 stories or more in height if they can figure the access out. This information sheet will help you stay in touch and let your opinion be heard

 -Viscount Bennett has been around for approximately 70 years dating back to the 1950’s

- Current zoning is RC-1  (single detached housing)

-served as a Junior and Senior High School with approximately 2000 students at the height of its life

-site is approximately 11 acres (11.49), approximately half of which (6 acres) is playing fields, and 3 acres are parking lots which are part of the community’s open space count

-the buildings were shuttered about 3 years ago and the sale process began

-Calgary Board of Education owns the site and will receive all funds from the sale

-the sale process also saw the City, who had a right of first refusal to purchase the building decline to exercise this right (spring 2020)

-the sale process is well under way and a sale may occur soon now that we are emerging from COVID

-the school is bounded on the east side by Crowchild Trail, on the south and west by RC-1 single family dwellings and across the street to the north by a medical clinic, new multi-family unit (under construction), an old postal outlet and small multi family building. The land to the northwest is mostly zoned RC-1 with some RC-2 (semis) and DC.

-the actual green/open space of approximately 6  acres has and continues to be well used. This area (as well as the 3 acres of parking) is included within the calculation of green space for the community. We do not want to lose the 6 acres of well used green space.

-the site is problematic when redevelopment is being considered since there is only one real access to the site via Richmond Road

-the city has and continues to state that no entry/exit to the site from Crowchild Trail can be provided

-the community has existed virtually since it’s inception in the 1950’s having the site and green space as part of the community and does not want to lose this space to redevelopment.

 

Development Options

In the matter of future use the first 2 choices below have been ruled out by the City and School Board:

1.Turning the majority of the space into a park. By virtue of the city declining to purchase the site, we assume they are not willing to go this route

2. Sale for use as a school site. This option has been explored by CBE and there has been no interest.

3.  A third option – site development under the current RC-1 zoning (which is the zoning of the surrounding area) – is outlined below:

 

Assumptions – Option 3       RC-1

12 acre site (6 open space, 3 parking, 3 buildings – to be demolished)

3 acres for open space (roughly equivalent to the land the buildings occupy- ¼ of the total site area)

9 acres for housing

Approximately 5 houses per acre-  roughly equivalent to adjacent development

No commercial or retail development

Occupancy rate of 2.7 people per dwelling unit

The City and developer will want much more density than this option would allow

Outcome if the City agreed with this option

Design an attractive and highly desirable single family addition to the neighborhood consisting of approximately 45 units with 3 acres of open green space and 9 acres of land for housing

-this property provides an opportunity to design and create a unique new inner-city RC-1 development combined with the significant green space allocation

-this is a density of approximately 5 UPA which is similar to the adjacent homes

-develop the site as RC-1 to minimize the impact in an area that has only one way in and out (45 additional houses would generate approx. 450 additional vehicle trips per day with about 10% occurring during the 2 rush hours)

 -retain approximately 3 acres of land as green space to be included in the design process

-there is neither a need for nor should there be any consideration for retail/commercial development on the site given the access limitations and the fact that the land is adjacent to RC-1 land

-provide a low impact from traffic standpoint acknowledging the difficult location

-population increase of approximately 135 persons

Other Development Options

We assume the developer and the City will be supporting a medium rise (4-6-8stories) , medium density development with the largest buildings along Crowchild. The City has already published the draft of our new Local Area Plan that shows the some of the east side of 25 St upzoned. There are many ways the added density /housing/small retail/ could be accommodated on the site if the developer and City wanted it. We have not seen specific developer plans yet.

 

Next Steps

Come to the Sept. 27 meeting

We will continue to inform you of the progress of this file – Feel free to contact Phil Harding at  viscountbennett@richmondknobhill.ca

 

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.  Phil Harding, Director Viscount Bennett RKH Community Assn.

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