Residents of Pierview didn’t get everything they wanted but they managed to secure protection for a tree stand which will act as a barrier between themselves and the new Crestview subdivision south of them.
Lamont Land Incorporated also agreed there would be no access from their lots to the lane that runs along the south border of Pierview.
A six metre wide municipal reserve (which will become town land) was incorporated into the outline plan for Crestview to protect the trees “in perpetuity”. An ornamental fence will also be erected by the developer along the property line. The reserve was originally to stop on the west side adjacent to the commercial property which houses the Fas Gas station. But an amendment approved by councillors extended that treed reserve right across the quarter section line to 50th Street. The only exception will be at Parson Drive which will be extended into Crestview and will connect through that subdivision to 50th Street.
Councillors, after listening to several speakers and much debate, unanimously approved second and third reading of bylaws which changed the South Area Structure Plan to allow the outline plan and changed the Land Use Bylaw to rezone the first phase of the Crestview subdivision which includes R1A (Medium Lot Residential District), R5 (Narrow Lot General Residential District) and PF (Public Facility) designations.
They unanimously approved the Crestview Outline Plan, then made amendments to it extending the reserve to 50th Street and requiring the developer to take extra care when stripping and grading adjacent to the reserve so root systems of the trees aren’t damaged. They also officially approved the name of the subdivision.
During the debate, the gallery was full with 45-50 people, mostly residents of Pierview, listening and applauding various speakers.
The council meeting Monday night began with the open microphone session where Heather Donald asked why neighbourhoods “have to go through the same knee jerk reaction when developers come along and want to clear cut trees and cram in more homes”.
“We shouldn’t have to keep having these discussions which are strenuous to us,” she said suggesting we should be building a different, more valuable way of life for Sylvan Lake.
Wayne Saastad again repeated his complaint that he felt the developer had not adequately addressed the need for a buffer between his kennel operation and houses planned in the subdivision.
“You will bear the responsibility — this town and this council, when conflicts do arise,” he charged.
During the delegation section of the meeting, Matt Prete, speaking on behalf of Pierview residents, called for a 15 metre municipal reserve across the entire quarter’s boundary to preserve the tree stand, include a minimum of 45 per cent R1 (Low Density Residential District) lots, retain Parson Drive as a dead end street and deem the changes major requiring another public hearing.
Prete used a report by Mississippi State University Extension Service titled Preserving Trees In Construction Sites, to highlight the residents’ request for a wider municipal reserve to protect the tree stand. His contention was that the root systems extended outside the proposed six metre reserve and he was concerned about development landscaping and landshaping which could damage the roots.
He also provided a sketch proposing a way to gain a 15 metre reserve while still creating an ‘economically viable’ development with a reasonable number of larger lots.
“The biggest problem I see,” he said, “is about imagination and vision. The imagination is how much money we can make if we put 62 lots in this spot. The other is vision. That rests firmly on town planners … Town planners should have a vision they’re giving developers. A vision of what has to happen”.
Randy Sieben, representing Lamont, countered Prete’s claims stating their proposal fit all the parameters of existing plans for single family residential housing adjacent to Pierview.
He noted that besides the six metre reserve, no excavation can take place within 7.5 metres of the north property lines of houses which will back onto the reserve.
Trees in the stand were surveyed to determine their location before the six metre width was proposed. “We didn’t just come arbitrarily at six metres,” Sieben said. He added that the number of lots backing onto the tree stand has been reduced from 32 to 30 and the size of the lots has been increased. Access to the public lane in Pierview has been removed.
The housing target market for those lots will be in the $400,000- $600,000 range.
Discussion by councillors focussed primarily on whether a six metre reserve was enough to protect the trees.
“I think the people in Pierview have a win because they do have a barrier between the two neighbourhoods,” said Councillor Ken MacVicar.
Councillor Laverne Asselstine agreed the compromise appeared to be good. He heard from residents they appreciated the isolated area, the birds and that there were concerns about increased use of the back lane which had since been taken out of the equation.
“The strongest thing we heard,” said Mayor Susan Samson, “is protection of the trees. In my opinion the developers have protected them with adequate setback that we are going to enforce even further. This is going to clearly delineate the neighbourhoods in an aesthetically pleasing manner.”
The further enforcement she talked about was captured in a motion by Councillor Sean McIntyre which requires extra care by developers when working near the tree stand so that the root systems aren’t disturbed during stripping and grading.