Banff, the Alberta ski town within a federal park, is now officially out of commercial space for new development, with the final allotment going to a small mixed-use industrial and residential project.
The Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) approved a development permit for site redevelopment that includes expansion and renovation of an existing warehouse and two new apartment housing units.
Town of Banff planners say the applicant was awarded a commercial allotment of 3,600 square feet in March 2013 – the last commercial lottery that was held under Banff’s federally-legislated commercial growth regulations.
“At that point, the entirety of our commercial use development allotment, which is the amount of floor area that the town can grow commercially, were completely distributed,” said Darren Enns, the Town of Banff’s director of planning and development at a November MPC meeting.
“A number of those have been built out now, things like the Moose Hotel, or you’re seeing the Inns of Banff now. Those are examples of the final commercial buildings that are being constructed for build-out.”
The existing single-storey warehouse building previously housed Alpha Dairy, and is currently occupied by Mount View Barbeque as warehouse and office space.
The applicant, Alison Brewster, said she believes the project will be a much-needed improvement to the industrial compound, adding warehousing is needed in Banff.
“Of course, residential housing in the town of Banff is always needed,” she said.
In 2002, council changed the land use bylaw to allow for residential development in the form of apartment housing as a discretionary use in the industrial compound, also known as the commercial services (CS) land use district.
MPC has previously recommended council consider an area redevelopment plan (ARP) for the industrial compound.
Administration plans to bring a proposal for an ARP to council for consideration as part of the 2021 service review, which began January 18.
Eric Bjorge, development planner for the Town of Banff, said the CS district was not originally envisioned to include residential use.
Bjorge said the municipality is also in discussions with Canadian Pacific Railway about a new railway crossing to provide better access for pedestrians to and from the townsite.
- Rocky Mountain Outlook