Fifth Local Area Plan (LAP) Meeting – Montgomery Place
19 November 2015 – St. David’s Trinity United Church lower hall
Attendance – A large and vocal group attended the 5th Montgomery Place LAP consultation directed by City of Saskatoon planners. For official minutes of this meeting online, go to saskatoon.ca/lap .
Agenda – Agenda topics included:
1. Vision Statement
2. Land Use and Zoning
3. Infill including Garden and Garage suites
City of Saskatoon – Representing the City of Saskatoon were Konrad André, Paula Kotasek-Toth, Melissa Austin, and Paul Whitenect.
MP Vision Statement – Konrad André read the ninth version of the MP Vision Statement, arrived at in consultation with MPCA executive, as follows:
Montgomery Place – Historic Roots and Rural Charm in an Urban Setting
Trees grow tall and roots run deep in Montgomery Place.
Settled by veterans after the Second World War, built on a strong agrarian base, for almost a decade Montgomery Place thrived apart from the City of Saskatoon – a country setting on the urban fringe. Veterans planted trees where no trees grew before. Self-sufficiency, community cooperation, respect and “Let’s get it done!” attitudes prevailed. Our neighbourhood is known for its large lots, mature trees, and small town atmosphere that encourage lifelong friendships and lasting connections.
In the future, we will value, strengthen, and preserve the heritage of our Veterans Land Act community. We honour those who have served our country – peacekeepers and armed forces – past, present and future. Our welcoming and inclusive neighbourhood will be a quiet place where people can enjoy green spaces and a country feel – a place where children come back to.
We will be a desired area of the city: an easily accessible, safe community with engaged and involved residents. Our parks and open spaces are inviting and beautiful. We co-exist with wildlife in clean and green spaces, leaving a gentle footprint, respecting the environment and eco-systems in the community and nearby countryside. Poppies bloom, honouring our roots, committing to a future where Montgomery Place continues to be a special place to live for all generations.
Land Use and Zoning – Paula Kotasek told the gathering that the Planning and Development Act of the Province of Saskatchewan, as well as the Cities Act, govern land use and zoning. In 1963 the City passed the Official Community Plan, used to define growth and evaluate development. There are six zoning categories: 1. Residential; 2. Institutional; 3. Commercial; 4. Industrialized; 5. Specialized; 6. Discretionary. There are four categories of building: 1. Permitted; 2. Discretionary; 3. Prohibited; 4. Accessory.
Montgomery Place is classified as an R2 neighbourhood. The CN Curling Club is M3. Viterra is 1H. The 11th Street apartments are R4. There are two commercial properties at either end of Montgomery Place. In 2003, a minimum size lot for subdividing in Montgomery Place was passed at 18.25 metres (60 ft) by 39.6 metres (130 ft).
Land use applications fall under six categories: 1. Discretionary such as day cares or care homes; 2. Rezoning when zoning changes are requested; 3. Official Community Plan Amendments; 4. Subdivisions; 5. Development Appeals which go to the Development Appeals Court; 6. Development Permits.
Infill – The City has a study applying to all established neighbourhoods within the Circle Drive radius, plus Sutherland and Montgomery Place. This study was endorsed by City Council in December 2013. City officials say there is not a “big push” for infill in Montgomery Place. “Why then does it feel like you’re trying to double the population of Montgomery Place?” someone asked.
In the past, rules for infill renovations and infill new builds have not been stringent, so now many Montgomery Place original homes are dwarfed by the new homes beside them. Sunlight was cut off from original garden spaces. Backyard privacy was lost as new windows towered high above their neighbour’s fence. Drainage was altered as driveways were built without mandatory culverts and ditches were filled in and paved over for extra parking. Trees were cut down. The low water pressure in Montgomery Place got lower. Many new builds and renovations were undertaken without regard for the impact on neighbouring properties.
There is a drainage study currently underway that should be complete by the end of November 2015.
Another infill concern is the four-plexes that are allowed to be built on corner lots. This type of housing does not reflect our community roots in the 1940s and 1950s. The community cautioned that the vacant land on Dundonald Avenue should not be rezoned for multiple dwellings. The commercial space at the corner of 11th Street and Dundonald Avenue is probably polluted from the garage station that was once there. It should remain greenspace.
Discussion – Densificiation – the new buzz word which is probably not even a real word – will alter the fabric of our community. Preserving our heritage and character is important to us. Low density, large lots and their corresponding privacy, mature trees – these are the things that attract people to Montgomery Place. We have something very special out here. Greenspace is important. Not every blade of grass has to be covered with concrete.
Infill including Garden and Garage Suites – Montgomery Place is a Category 2 neighbourhood for garden and garage infill. At first we were exempt, but against Planning recommendations and Pat Lorje’s support, City Council was persuaded to include us. The comment was made that this is “subdivision by the back door.” We should seek to reinstate the exemption through the LAP – Local Area Planning process.
Discussion – Garden and garage suites don’t make sense in Montgomery Place. Alleys are not cleared over the winter. More people mean more cars and more parking problems and road safety issues. Narrow roads mean that on-street parking is hazardous both to vehicles and pedestrians. One MP resident suggested “infill with garden or garage suites doesn’t fit with our vision for our community.”
“What –If?” Exercise – We ended with a “hypothetical exercise” asking the pros and cons if two parcels were rezoned.
What if the vacant triangle plot of land at the 3300 block of 11th Street, west of new townhouses, was rezoned to allow for a complex with both commercial and residential spaces? Would Montgomery Place residents want to see a strip mall with businesses at the ground level and living spaces overtop? If so, what businesses?
What if the vacant land on Dundonald Avenue was rezoned for 40 units of row housing?
Currently, both of these parcels are zoned R2 like the rest of our community.
Discussion – Reaction was similar to both hypothetical scenarios. What is so wrong with leaving these places as greenspace? The first area, the triangle in the 3300 block of 11th Street West is home to deer, other animals and birds, native plants and shrubs. The first choice was to leave it green. If development went ahead (commercial on the ground floor of an apartment structure) the commercial places that would seem okay would be things such as a doctor’s office, beauty parlour or barber shop, neighbourhood coffee shop – nothing that would stay open past 9 pm.
For the Dundonald scenario, people said again, greenspace for wildlife and native prairie is not a bad thing. Anyone buying such a proposed row house would be inundated with Circle Drive South traffic noise and rail noise from the line across the street. Why would anybody want to live under such relentless bombardment? The first choice is to preserve the greenspace.
Wrap-Up – Thanks were extended for the active participation of all. Konrad André announced his resignation and introduced the new planner who will complete the Montgomery Place LAP – Melissa Austin.
Next meetings are:
December 2, 2015 – Come-and-go at Bethlehem High School, 6-8:30 pm, to discuss the options for routes to connect Highway 7 with Circle Drive South and the south bridge.
December 8, 2015 – St. Dominic School auditorium, 7 pm – Second Montgomery Place LAP traffic meeting.