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Crowsnest council approves requested road alterations

Monday, 13 June 2022. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Crowsnest council approves requested road alterations

Crowsnest council approves requested road alterations
By Sean Oliver
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The rules of the road are critical standards that must be maintained for driver safety. Rules for the road are just as vital but some leeway is allowed in specific circumstances.

Crowsnest Pass’s engineering and development standards for roads require a width of 20 metres to accommodate a 10.5-metre paved road, sidewalks, street lights, fire hydrants and utility rights of way for repairs.

When the standards interfere with development plans or topographical features, requests can be submitted for council’s consideration to alter the road requirements.

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Crowsnest Pass council approved two such circumstances during its May 17 regular council meeting.

The first request was made by the developer of a 26-unit townhouse subdivision and development on the Old Dairy Road Park in Bellevue. Since the regular 20-metre requirement for urban roads would result in the loss of eight townhouses, the developer asked for the dimensions of the road in the development to be reduced to 11.9 metres, with the road itself being nine metres wide. 

The altered width will still allow for the required utility easements but will not permit sidewalks. Streetlights, which are normally required to be two metres away from the curb and roadway property line, will be set back only 0.6 metres and 0.3 metres, respectively. Fire hydrants will also be 0.6 metres away from the curb.

The reductions will not prevent the municipality from performing regular maintenance and operational work. Each townhouse will have its own parking pad, though extra or visitor parking will be restricted to one side of the road. Additional parking could also spill over onto 25th Avenue.

Whether the road in the development allows two-way or one-way traffic will be determined in the future during the detailed engineering review.

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Coun. Dean Ward said he was strongly in favour of supporting the road reduction requests because co-operating with developers was a way to address the housing crunch in the municipality.

“We have a lot of land tied up in a few houses and the only way you’re going to drive those prices down so the average resident can afford them is by allowing density and volume,” Ward said. “Density is the only answer to attainable, affordable housing.”

“I went around with a tape measure yesterday and measured about 15 different roads throughout the community,” he said. “Most of them aren’t much wider than this one.”

The second road request came from the developer of Greenwood Heights. The site’s steep slopes, coupled with the challenge of buying more land from adjacent landowners to design the road to municipal standards, resulted in issues meeting the municipality’s line-of-sight standards.

The road will be allowed to have tighter turns, with a speed limit of 20 kilometres per hour enacted to deal with the restricted line of sight. Tighter V-shaped ditches will also replace the standard U-shaped municipal standard.

The municipality will still be able to maintain the gravel road, which will ultimately see low traffic counts since it will be used mostly by residents of the development.

While not an ideal roadway, CAO Patrick Thomas said such adjustments were common as the mountainous terrain of the Crowsnest Pass necessitated tighter, steeper roads.

“We’re not a prairie town — it’s a challenge of being in the mountains,” Thomas said. “As we continue to grow and as we continue to develop, there’s going to be other developments that are going to want to push up-mountain too.”

The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, 7 p.m. at council chambers.