This letter is a summary response to the feedback that our company has received throughout our community consultation process. It has been almost exactly one year since we first posted a sign on one of our properties asking the community what kind of residential development they would like to see on the site. While many changes and modifications have occurred since then, the core elements of our proposal remain from what we read on that initial engagement sign. You can see what was written on the sign here:

The consultation process has certainly been different than what we had expected. COVID-19 meant that face-to-face meetings and discussions would be limited. As residents in the community, we were still able to have many informal chats on the streets with neighbours, but the bulk of our consultation was through emails and phone conversations. We are appreciative of those who took the opportunity to engage with us and help to create something better than what we could have done on our own.

While hundreds of people have been involved, we want to say a special thanks to those who live near our site and chose to be constructively engaged in discussions. Thank you for taking the opportunity to help us work through things like parking, landscaping, accessibility, and height. For some of you, this has been a difficult balance as you have liked some elements of our proposal but not other elements. Whether or not you are satisfied with our final proposal, we are truly appreciative that you chose to work with us during the past year.

We are also fully aware that our development plan will not satisfy everyone. The City of Edmonton’s online consultation page clearly revealed that some like our plans, some are neutral, and some are opposed. We respect these differences and recognize that no development will have unanimous agreement. We are very proud of the fact that North Glenora cares about its community and many took the time to provide their feedback both to us and through the city’s consultation process. Regardless of the opinion on this topic, we clearly all share a common passion for our community.

The guiding principles of our company are: Building Community, Environmental Leadership, and Honest & Authentic Communication. The following document seeks to help you to understand our thoughts as we have worked through finding an appropriate balance, while addressing the concerns that we heard. For simplicity, we have written the document as a Q&A so that people can read the sections that are of particular interest to them. However, we do encourage you to read the entire document as many topics are inter-related. This is not an exhaustive list, but it addresses the key questions or topics that we encountered.

Best regards,

David and Melissa Campbell
Michelle & Ryan Young

Why are you seeking Direct Control (DC2) Zoning?

The current RF1 zoning allows us to build 4 skinny homes with basement suites and garage suites (for a total of 12 units) without any rezoning or community engagement. We believe that the current zoning does not allow us to create housing that would most benefit our community. A standard zoning would not allow the street-oriented, courtyard design that we think would best fit the site. We could have requested a change to the RF3, RF5 or RA7 zones, but ultimately, we chose to seek the DC2 zoning because this allows us to customize the design to create a building that fits the location and optimizes integration into the neighbourhood.

How will this impact the sunlight for the house next door?

During our early consultation activities, a common question from neighbours was how the building would impact the sunlight of the adjacent home to the north. To address this early on, we created larger north setbacks so that our building is further away from the property line. We also reduced the height of the rear portion of the building design to maximize sunlight on the neighbour’s garden (something that the neighbour told us was very important to her). We then commissioned a shadow study to compare our design versus what is currently allowed on the site. The shadow study can be found here:
Shadow Study

Our project ends up creating less shadow on the property than what would occur if someone built skinny homes with a garage suite and is about equal to the shading that would occur with skinny houses and standard garages. We feel that our early consultation helped us to accommodate this neighbour’s opinions and needs into our designs from the beginning.

How will this impact the traffic and parking in the area?

Parking has been the most common concern expressed by neighbours. Some residents are worried that our proposed 8 stalls are not sufficient and that it would create unsafe conditions around the school. Several neighbours have also expressed concern about safety regarding increased parking and traffic near the school.

Our kids attend Coronation School and safety for students is extremely important to us. We spoke with the school principal on two occasions to get his insight on this concern. In both discussions, he stated that he has no safety concerns with our proposed development. Despite this assurance, we also decided to commission a traffic and parking study to test our own assumptions and to provide a professional opinion on the matter. The results of the study can be found here: Traffic & Parking Study. The study confirmed that there is sufficient parking space in the area for our proposal. The study also states that “traffic safety is not anticipated to be negatively impacted in the vicinity of the development.” The fact that cars parked on the road have a traffic-calming effect is also explained in this document.

This location has excellent access to public transit with direct routes to downtown, the University of Alberta, and other post-secondary institutions. Given the environmentally sustainability of this building, it will likely attract residents who choose to walk, bike, and/or utilize public transportation. However, we believe that we can also do more to help with the transition away
from private car ownership. To help with the transition, our company has been lobbying the carsharing service Communauto to expand its boundaries to include North Glenora. If this occurs, we hope that it will further encourage all North Glenora residents to consider relying less on private car ownership and help us to attract tenants without cars.

Why do you want to increase the density in this neighbourhood?

There are clearly philosophical differences regarding the effects of density on a neighbourhood. We believe that bringing more people into our neighbourhood would be beneficial for everyone. More people in the community increases safety as it means there are more eyes on the streets and more people looking out for each other. It would be beneficial to the potential new residents because it would allow them to live in this community that we love so much.

Increased density reduces our taxes, more efficiently uses existing infrastructure and is environmentally sensitive. The alternative to infill in a growing city is urban sprawl, which means that there are more roads, sidewalks, and utilities to maintain. A denser community means that more people share these costs. Increasing density near schools helps to keep neighbourhood schools viable by boosting enrollment. Lastly, increased density is a more environmentally sustainable way to live. We not only stop using farmer’s fields for growth, but we promote more efficient forms of housing.

A question that has frequently been asked is why we want to build 16 units rather than a smaller amount (e.g. 12 units). Our proposed design allows us to welcome as many new people into our neighbourhood as possible, while creating a building that has acceptable setbacks and height. This project is a form of  “Missing Middle” housing that allows more people to live in mature
neighbourhoods which is beneficial to everyone. The RA7 zoning would allow a higher building with more units, similar to what is being built on the section of the Patio Homes kitty-corner to our site. We feel that our proposal is the best fit for this location.

The number of units we chose for this site is based on similarly scaled projects we see in other mature neighbourhoods, specifically locations with 4-unit row housing with secondary suites on a single lot. These projects have successfully allowed more people to live in a neighbourhood while integrating well in scale. Our observations are that there are no traffic or parking issues as a result.

Missing Middle housing integrates well with the neighbourhood when it is similar in scale to surrounding properties. Managing height, width, and mass are far more important than trying to limit the number of residents. We want to create more housing for more people and therefore have designed the project to fit as many households as we can without having to substantially increase massing or height above 2 storeys.

Who would live in this building?

We believe that diversity in neighbourhoods is beneficial. A mix of housing types and a mix of renters & homeowners in all neighbourhoods promotes equity for all Edmontonians. Our proposed development includes:

3-bedroom units: These homes will likely attract families. Some comments suggested that families do not live in multi-unit housing, but this is not supported by the fact that many
families are already living in apartments and row housing in the neighbourhood. In fact, three North Glenora families have already expressed interest in moving into these units when completed.

2-bedroom units: These may attract families, couples or single people who don’t want to live in a detached house. These units would be ideal for North Glenora residents who may seek to downsize, but don’t want to leave the neighbourhood they love. Two of these units are also wheelchair accessible units.

1-bedroom basement suites: These suites would be perfect for students given the proximity of the building to most of Edmonton’s many post-secondary institutions. We have already been in contact with 4 University of Alberta students who have stated that they would like to be considered for these units when completed.

We intend to own the project long-term and rent the units. Our intention is that the project provides attainable housing to a variety of people. So, while the units will not have government subsidized rent, we have designed the units to offer a range of sizes. This will allow people with a variety of income levels to live here. We are expecting rents to be at or slightly below the market rate for housing of similar size, quality, and location.

How is this project environmentally sustainable?

We have committed to be the first multi-family project in Alberta certified to the Passive House standard. Passive House projects use 50-90% less energy than a standard building. The building design calls for highly insulated walls and roof, extreme air tightness and an extremely efficient mechanical system. Passive House standards provide an excellent starting place to achieve net zero emissions. We are currently fine-tuning our energy modeling and solar panel design to achieve as close to net zero as possible.

Our project has been recognized by the Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA) as a leader in environmental design and we have received a SSRIA grant to enable us to
implement our cutting-edge design and demonstrate to others how they can as well.

In addition to the environmentally sensitive design of the building, we are implementing environmentally sustainable landscaping as well. We have chosen “plant guilds” that have been designed not only for aesthetics but also with consideration to create a more resilient ecosystem.

Does the neighbourhood infrastructure (e.g., sewer & drainage) have the capacity for this project?

Each of the city departments receives a copy of rezoning and development permit applications to ensure the appropriate infrastructure is in place before rezoning and development permits are approved. Any identified concerns or issues will be noted in the city report and would need to be addressed before approval.

How will neighbours be impacted by the construction of this project?

We share our neighbours’ concerns about the effects of construction on surrounding homes. Maintaining a construction site that is clean, safe, and respectful to neighbours is very important to us. We plan on having a direct line of communication with neighbours so that concerns can be addressed directly to us. This will allow us to address concern immediately and effectively.

How did T5M Connect engage the community through this process?

Our public engagement process began as soon as we gained possession of the first house. This included:

• A sign posted in front of the house to get community input
• Door-knocking on all houses within 60 metres of the project
• Mail drop to all houses within 200 metres of the project
• Several meetings with groups of neighbours
• Numerous email and phone conversations
• Spontaneous sidewalk conversations

We were also in contact with the North Glenora Community League’s Planning & Transportation Committee to ensure that they have information on updates and to answer any questions.

The City of Edmonton’s public engagement process allowed for input on two separate occasions for which we received a summary of responses.

Open communication with the community has been a guiding principle throughout the entire process. As North Glenora residents, we felt that it was important for us to ensure that we were available to the community. While we know that diverse opinions remain, we are very confident that our year-long engagement process has provided much more engagement opportunities than what is normally provided in these proposals. We are always happy to answer any questions or discuss any concerns. We can be contacted at info@t5m.ca