Renfrew Residents Rally Against Proposed Rezoning of Former Church Site – Calgary

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It is a corner lot that once housed a local church on a residential street in the northeast community of Renfrew, and its future has become a rallying point for those living in the area.

A rezoning application for the property, at the intersection of Radnor Avenue and Remington Road NE, has been submitted to the City of Calgary by Keystone Architecture.

According to area residents, the rezoning is to make way for a six-storey, 60-unit multi-residential building on the site.

« It’s a big mistake, » Chris Nannarone, who lives across from the site, told Global News.

« They’re going from residential bungalows to a six-storey block. »

A group of neighbors have now gathered to voice their concerns about the rezoning application.

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They’ve circled a petition and are fundraising to ensure they have expert help as the request makes its way to City Hall.

Gord Strasdin, who lives down the street from the site, says he feels the transition to a six-story building on the property is too much for the community, and would prefer the developer to explore more ‘middle’ type developments missing »like townhouses or townhouses.

“We understand that development has to be done. We understand that there is going to be densification in our neighborhood,” said Strasdin.

« We just think we should stick to what’s transitional, respectful and context sensitive. »

Neighbors told Global News there are several concerns about what might be allowed on the site if the rezoning application is approved.

These concerns include the size of a potential building and its impact on the neighborhood’s quiet street.


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Galina Ursu has three children who walk to school in the area and says she is concerned about road safety.

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« It’s a very family-friendly neighborhood and we would like it to be that way in the future as well, » she said.

However, the Regional Councilor believes the land is suitable for higher density construction and said it falls within the planning guidelines of the North Hill Communities Local Plan.

Ward 9 County Gian-Carlo Carra said that with the site near two schools, a playground and large fields, it makes sense to add density to the area.

“Is it possible to put a six-story building on this site that enhances rather than degrades the neighborhood? Absolutely,” Carra told Global News. “Is this project going to do that? We have no idea and that’s what we need to focus on.

The property was home to Renfrew United Church for many years before the building fell into « serious disrepair », according to an article posted on the United Church’s Chinook Winds area website.

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The vacant building was demolished last fall after several incidents of vandalism and break-ins, but the property still belongs to the United Church of Canada.

Carra said he shared the « neighbourhood outrage » over the future of the site as he would like to see a return of community benefits, similar to the redevelopment of a former church in Ogden which includes a day care centre, a cafe, and community space inside.

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“All of these things have to be thoughtfully determined. Both in terms of the shape of the building, but when you’re talking about church-owned land, it’s also about the programmatic approach to how we serve the community,” Carra said.

« There is an obligation there. »

In an email to Global News, a United Church representative said it is still very early in the process and no decision has been made on what will be built on the land if the rezoning is approved. .

“We need to rezone in this way because the current use of the church was no longer sustainable and we need to do something to properly manage the land asset in the future,” Joel Den Haan, coordinating consultant for the United Church property and the development of the new church. Council, said.

‘We intend at this stage to retain some features of the church on the site, but this needs to take on a new form and needs to be economically viable for us.’

Den Haan said decisions about a build would come at the development permit stage, and that the rezoning application is about defining a political envelope « in which a potential project will take shape. »

But Strasdin said there was broad opposition throughout the community for a large development on the site, and neighbors will continue to work to find a solution.

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« We think we’re very much in line with what the city says it wants to do, » Strasdin said. « But we’re a bit confused that we keep getting this big blunt instrument thrown at us. »


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