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COURTYARD 33 - PROPOSED 6 STOREY/22M DEVELOPMENT

September 06, 2017 8:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
If you attended Marda Gras last month you may have come across a booth hosted by local developer RNDSQR promoting their proposed Courtyard 33 development, a 6 storey/22m mixed-use development they want to build at the west end of the 2200 block of 33 Avenue SW (across from the Petro Canada gas station).  RNDSQR will be hosting a community engagement BBQ for this project at the RKHCA Community Hall (2433 26 AV SW) on Friday, September 22 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm.

The RKHCA Development Committee reviewed Vision Brief 2.0 for the proposed Courtyard 33 development and submitted a list of preliminary comments/questions to RNDSQR on September 5.  On September 14 RNDSQR provided us with an updated copy of the Vision Brief, Version 3.0, and suggested that it would answer most of our questions.  Below are the comments/questions that we submitted to RNDSQR on September 5, with annotations in red to reflect new or changed information that we found in Vision Brief 3.0:

  1. Overall design — Appears quite striking from the renderings, although proposed height, density and intensity all significantly exceed that contemplated in the Marda Loop Area Redevelopment Plan (the “MLARP”) for this location — 6 storey/22m proposed height vs 4 storey/16m MLARP maximum height — proposed FAR of 4.0 vs. MLARP contemplated FAR of 2.5 — proposed net intensity of 820 population & jobs per hectare (P&J/H) vs. MLARP contemplated net intensity of 409 P&J/H.      [No changes made, no response provided]
  2. Uses — Ground floor and some 2nd storey retail, with residential above — consistent with the “commercial/mixed use” area provided for in the MLARP.     [No changes made]
  3. Proposed courtyard-style plaza — Interesting concept, although:
    • Accommodating it appears to require significant increases to the building’s overall mass to make up for the lost interior space, including 2 extra storeys, a front facade that pushes out over the public realm and a rear facade that pushes out towards the single-family homes across the rear lane.     [No changes made, no response provided]
    • It was not immediately apparent to some of our Committee members, nor to several others that we have spoken to, that the proposed plaza would be at the 2nd storey level, rather than at ground level.  Please ensure that this aspect of the proposed development is made abundantly clear at the September 22 engagement event.     [New image added on Page 26 showing close up of large staircase leading up to 2nd storey plaza]
    • How would mobility-challenged people gain access to the plaza?  We don’t see any ramps.  If by elevator, would public access be available at all times, or only during certain hours?     [No changes made, no response provided]
    • It would seem to us that the flow-through passage would be more beneficial if the plaza was at ground level and the building was mid-block and backed onto a lane with better “mews” potential.     [No changes made, no response provided]
    • Our understanding from sources such as Gehl’s “Cities for People” is that grade-separated plazas often don’t work particularly well, as the grade separation acts as both a physical and visual barrier.  What makes you think that the proposed grade-separated plaza would work well?     [More information about the courtyard plaza provided on Pages 29 & 30, but no response provided.  Also, on Page 29 Image 3 in Figure 2.1 says "shift density to building perimeter" and the image shows 2 extra storeys added to the top of the building -- the image does not show that above the ground floor the building's front facade has also been extended forward and cantilevered out over the front sidewalk, and its rear facada has been similarly cantilevered out towards the lane]
  4. On Page 11 we would point out that the image is not up-to-date — for example it does not show the Garrison Corner or Odeon developments — and the red boundary labelled as “Main Streets Study Area” does not match the boundary shown in the City’s current 33 Avenue SW Main Street map — see attached.  Please correct for the September 22 engagement event.     [No changes made]
  5. On Page 12 the current level of transit service along 33 Avenue SW and Crowchild Trail is overstated — currently there is no transit service along this portion of 33 Avenue SW and the transit service along Crowchild Trail at 33 Avenue SW tends to have head times of 12-15 minutes during peak periods and 20-30 minutes during off peak periods.  Please correct for the September 22 engagement event.     [No changes made]
  6. The proposed development does not appear to accommodate the MLARP’s public realm zones, as:
    • The proposed 2nd to 5th storey front cantilever, which is shown in Figure 1.9 as being 3.5m back from the curb, would not appear to leave sufficient room for street trees, which the MLARP contemplates being planted approximately 1.75m back from the curb; and
    • The support posts for the proposed front cantilever (not shown in Figure 1.9) would appear to fall near the middle of the MLARP's 3.0m wide sidewalk zone, which the MLARP provides “must be kept clear”.
      [No changes made, no response provided]
  7. MLARP Section 4.2.1.2 does not appear to support an increase to the 4-storey/16m maximum building height at this location, as:
    • This corner is not identified on MLARP Map 4.1 as a potential plaza/increased height location;
    • The intent of that section is to encourage the provision of sun-drenched plazas, whereas it does not appear that the proposed development’s courtyard-style plaza would receive much sun; and
    • It only contemplates a potential increase to 5 storeys, whereas the proposed development is shown as being 6 storeys.    
      [No changes made, no response provided]
  8. The proposed step-back at the top of the proposed development's 5th storey would appear to:
    • Be at least 1 storey higher than the maximum height provided for in MLARP Section 4.2.2.1;
    • Based on the side view in Figure 1.9, not even be sufficient to bring the 6th storey’s front setback back to the MLARP’s 6.0m minimum front setback, let alone back a further 3.0m as provided for in MLARP Section 4.2.2.1;
    • Do little to “allow for views of open sky” as provided for in the opening words of MLARP Section 4.2, as pedestrians’ skyward views would be blocked by the proposed 3m front cantilever.    
      [No changes made, no response provided]
  9. The proposed rear cantilever would appear to bring the 2nd, 3rd and 4th storey rear-facing units closer to the single-family homes across the rear lane than contemplated in MLARP Section 4.2.2.2, creating increased massing and overlooking issues for those residents.    
    [No changes made, no response provided]
  10. Proposed unit mix includes studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom, but does not appear to include more family-friendly 2-bedroom plus den or 3-bedroom units.  Is it intended that the residential units be separately titled and sold as condominium units, or that they be rental units?    
    [No changes made, no response provided]
  11. The renderings appear to show:
    • Front and side balconies with angled walls or windows — how much useable space would these balconies have?
    • Solid (opaque) balcony railings, which on the rear facade should help to reduce overlooking of the single-family homes across the rear lane.    
      [No changes made, no response provided]
  12. The Section Diagrams on Pages 33-35 appear to exaggerate the amount of shadowing that would be caused by the garages of the single-family homes across the rear lane, as the representative garage appears to be located unrealistically close to the home and its roof peak and eaves are both unrealistically high — see attached photo for comparison.  For the September 22 engagement event please provide revised Section Diagrams that include:
    • A more realistically located and sized representative garage (roof peak not exceeding 4.6m and eaves not exceeding 3.0m); and     [Requested change made]
    • An extra set showing shadows as at February 21/October 21.     [Not provided]
  13. With respect to the Shadow Studies on Pages 36-38:
    • In Figure 2.5 the 4:00pm study appears to show the same shadows as the 1:00pm study; and     [Correction made]
    • In Figure 2.7 there appear to be areas that are coloured dark grey which at 1:00pm on December 21 are not currently shadowed by any existing building, and therefore should not be coloured dark grey (eg. the south-facing and west-facing surfaces of the roofs of the single family homes across the rear lane from the proposed development) but would potentially be shadowed by either the proposed development or an ARP-compliant building, and should therefore be coloured either yellow or blue, respectively.    [No changes made, no response provided]
    For the September 22 engagement event please provide revised Shadow Studies that correct these errors and provide an extra set showing shadows as at February 21/October 21.     [Not provided]

[Pages 42-44 now contain a summary of the Transportation Impact Assessment (TIA) that RNDSQR has had prepared for this project.  The RKHCA Development Committee has not yet had an opportunity to review the TIA in detail, but notes that:

  • The authors of the TIA are under the mistaken impression that the proposed Courtyard 33 project is located in the community of South Calgary, rather than in the community of Richmond/Knob Hill (in fact, our community doesn't even appear to exist in their minds);
  • The traffic counts were conducted during the summer holiday season, a few days after Stampede ended (Tuesday, July 18), and therefore are not reflective of normal traffic volumes -- in this regard we would point out that the traffic counts are in all cases lower, and in some cases significantly lower, than the traffic counts that were done in 2015 for the ML33 TIA;
  • The projected traffic volumes purport to take into account not only additional traffic projected to be generated by the proposed Courtyard 33 development, but also by ML33 and 5 other redevelopment projects in the area, yet again they are in almost all cases lower, and in some cases significantly lower, than the projected traffic volumes in the ML33 TIA;
  • The TIA concludes that the additional traffic projected to be generated by the Courtyard 33 development, even when combined with the additional traffic projected to be generated by ML33 and 5 other redevelopment projects in the area, will not result in any area roads exceeding their design capacities -- however, this does not take into account the ongoing densification that is taking place in the adjacent residential communities, nor the further densification expected to take place in the Marda Loop business district in the near future; and
  • The TIA makes references to several Appendices, but none are attached]

The RKHCA Development Committee has extended several invitations to RNDSQR to meet with us to discuss the proposed Courtyard 33 development, but to date they have chosen instead to focus on interacting directly with the public, including through the Marda Gras booth and the upcoming community engagement BBQ on September 22.  We would encourage all RKH residents to attend the September 22 engagement event to learn more about the proposed Courtyard 33 development, and to provide informed feedback thereon to RNDSQR.  Thank you in advance for taking an interest in the future of this community.

Comments

  • September 20, 2017 1:51 PM | Anonymous member
    Being a resident on 32 Ave, south side, this development will be a neighbour. This is not something I am too happy about. Quite the opposite I am opposing the height of the building, specifically as it impacts the winter sun and I am very worried with the traffic on our back lane and on 32 ave. What ever happened to the left turn on 22Street for cars coming off Crowchild????
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