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33/34 AVE. SW MAIN STREETS PROJECT
By the time you read this, hopefully you will have attended the final public engagement session for the 33/34 Ave. SW Main Streets Project and will have provided thoughtful feedback to the City on the proposed streetscape plan for the 33/34 Ave. SW Main Streets, as well as on the proposed land use plan for the area. Thank you for doing so, and for helping to make the 33/34 Ave. SW Main Streets amazing!
The land use redesignation application for the proposed Courtyard33 development on the NE corner of the 33 Ave. and 22 St. SW intersection was reviewed by Calgary Planning Commission on August 23. With minimal discussion, the Commissioners unanimously passed a motion to forward the application to City Council with a recommendation for approval.
The application was opposed by both the Richmond/Knob Hill and Marda Loop Community Associations for, among other reasons, requesting substantially higher height and floor area ratio limits than currently allowed by the Marda Loop Area Redevelopment Plan, which was enacted in 2014 after much community engagement and volunteer time and effort. The proposed 50% height limit increase was deemed "a minor amendment”, and disappointment was expressed that the two community associations would oppose such a high-quality development over “a few metres of height”.
The community associations were also concerned that the application was seeking a special Direct Control land use district that, if approved by City Council, would make it virtually impossible for residents and others affected by the project to appeal its development permit approval to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.
We encourage you to learn more about this application by reviewing the agenda materials for either the August 23 Calgary Planning Commission meeting or the October 9 City Council meeting, and to share your thoughts with City Council.
CANNABIS STORE APPLICATIONS
Of the six applications for cannabis stores that were submitted for locations in the Marda Loop business district, two were approved and four were refused by the City’s Development Authority. The two applications that were approved were for the properties located at 2008 33 Ave. SW (currently Avenue Deli) and 2137 33 Ave. SW (the vacant corner lot occupied by Mazaya before it burned down).
The community association’s concern with both locations is that they are prominent corners that, with the right type of interactive storefront businesses, could really help activate the 33 Ave. SW Main Street. As cannabis stores will be subject to an Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLCC) requirement that no cannabis products, accessories or related items can be visible from the street. As a result, storefront windows will likely be obscured or screened in some fashion, which doesn’t create an engaging public realm.
This could be an even bigger missed opportunity if the new Main Streets streetscape plan ends up pedestrianizing some or all of the section of 21 St. SW between 33 Ave. SW and 34 Ave. SW to create a new public plaza, which would be right next to the 2137 33 Ave. SW location. At the time of writing of this article, three of the four refused applications have filed appeals, so it will be interesting to see where this all nets out.
OTHER NEW/PROPOSED PROJECTS
The ML33 condo building at 2418 33 Ave. SW is now fully framed and creates a much different experience as one enters the Marda Loop business district from the west. It has been suggested that coming into Marda Loop off Crowchild is starting to feel similar to flying an X-wing fighter down into a channel on a strafing run against the Death Star! What do you think?
We would love to hear your thoughts on these or other development issues affecting our community — email us at firstname.lastname@example.org