Developer moving ahead with Mountain View Village

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A Calgary developer is not giving up on plans to build a multi-family complex in Black Diamond despite losing to an appeal by residents opposed to the project.

Proposals for Mountain View Village include three 41-unit apartment buildings and 10 semi-detached villas on five acres of land west of Oilfields General Hospital.

In a Jan. 4 hearing, the Intermunicipal Subdivision and Development Appeal Board expressed concern about the proximity of the apartments to the top of a nearby hill.

The board sided with residents who appealed the Town’s decision to reduce a required 30-metre setback under the Town’s land use bylaw to seven metres after approving a slope stability assessment by a geotechnical engineer.

Todd Gow, of developer Circle G Vitality Communities, said plans are being reviewed to move construction of the buildings 30 metres from the top of the hill.

“We will be submitting a new development permit within the next four or six weeks, likely – possibly even sooner than that,” Gow said last week. “I feel fantastic about it. I’m just as excited about it as the day I bought the land.”

The board also expressed concern about the age of the information relied on in the slope stability assessment after learning the site hadn’t been visited since the last development proposal 10 years prior, as well as the size and weight of the development due to expanding clay in the ground and drainage. The report stated the proximity of the apartments to the hilltop could negatively impact the use and enjoyment of people living nearby.

Following the board’s decision, the developer had the option to redesign the project, make a new application, walk away or appeal the board’s decision.

The decision was simple for Gow.

“Although the geotechnical report that we received on soil stability indicated we were okay to build on the slope, we are not going to pursue that option any further,” Gow said. “We made some design improvements and we are really excited to unveil it. There is still a lot of work to be done. We are working on it all day every day.”

Gow said the changes aren’t significant, nor are the additional costs.

“We found a lot of economies of scale and efficiencies that we’ve been able to use to make the project better,” he said. “We don’t have 100 per cent certainty that we will have the exact units as before but it will be very close, within five to six units.”

The redesign also takes care of the lion’s share of issues brought forward during the appeal, said Gow, including the apartments casting shadows on nearby properties.

“The shadow study incidentally was for two or three weeks a year casting shadows for 40 minutes to an hour a day maximum,” he said. “Although that’s not a consideration typically, we have taken that into account.”

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