Wednesday , 28 July 2021

Council schedules public hearing for parking bylaw

City Council will hold a public hearing to gather feedback on a proposed bylaw that would relax parking requirements in the Downtown and Lakeshore business districts.

The public hearing will take place at Cold Lake City Council’s May 14 Regular Meeting, which will be held in council chambers at Cold Lake City Hall at 6:00 pm. The hearing will be open to the public to provide feedback.

Under the existing parking regulations, a coherent set of principles used to allow for new development in certain areas became difficult to distinguish, and parking regulations are increasingly being viewed as a limiting factor for establishing new businesses and for the ability of existing businesses to expand.

The city’s development authorities, including the Municipal Planning Commission and the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, have been working with prospective businesses seeking development permits and compliance with the existing parking regulations. Decisions that would allow for new businesses have become increasingly difficult to accommodate, however. The proposed bylaw being considered by council was drafted in response to these concerns.

The proposed bylaw would create what are known as “parking overlays,” or zones within which parking restrictions would be eliminated for certain types of businesses.

“If this bylaw gets the go-ahead we hope that it will help to usher in more business development in these two areas,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “When space is limited, parking restrictions effectively cap the number of businesses that can exist. This bylaw would create a zone where public parking would be shared by most of the businesses in the area. If a business wanted to make parking available to their customers they can still do so, but parking restrictions would no longer prevent many businesses from opening in the designated areas.”

While the bylaw would effectively eliminate parking restrictions in the two commercial zones for many businesses, not all businesses would be exempt from restrictions. As proposed, the bylaw ensures that certain establishments which could be expected to draw significant traffic would still be required to provide on-site parking. These would include: hotels; restaurants with over 150 seats; places of religious assembly; shopping centres, or any retail space in excess of 1,390 square-metres. Also, any commercial development which has residential spaces above it would still be required to provide parking to accommodate the occupants of the residential spaces.

“We’re hoping to gather as much feedback as we can – participation in the public hearings is always appreciated,” Copeland said. “Feedback is always considered and could result in amendments to the proposed bylaw. It important to strike the right balance between regulations and space for growth.”

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