A three-storey, residential complex is set to be built across from Loewen Windows.
The site includes a portion of 78 PTH 52 West which was initially a part of the Mid Canada Millwork complex and is currently unused, as well as 6 First Street which is at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Developer Mike Fast says the plan is to build to 22 to 24-unit building 8 feet from the northern edge of the property.
For the plan to go forward, Steinbach City Council needs to change the Official Community Plan for a portion of the lot from Industrial Policy Area to Central Business District Policy Area and rezone it from Residential Low Density to Medium Density. These are two separate bylaws.
John Sawatzky appeared before council on behalf of Loewen Windows, opposing the plan.
“The proposal involves pushing development closer to the sidewalk and street, in this case, a major highway and approach to the city. Additional housing units this close to the highway will add to what is already very busy vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the area.”
Sawatzky says they believe a building this close to the highway is unsafe
Finally, he adds “it is unsightly. This is regarding the sightlines which have already been discussed. We have a beautiful city that is occasionally spoiled by less-than-ideal development and we appreciate the need for more housing units in the city, however, when buildings are built to close to the road or sidewalks and allowances, they become unsightly and unsafe.”
Original plans had the building five feet from the northern property line, however, Fast says due to zoning requirements, it has been moved to the eight-foot mark.
Responding to traffic concerns, Councillor Damian Penner says they are already working to improve that intersection.
“We have already requested lights and so at this time, we can move forward on this project, and then once the lights are up, which will happen well in advance of this being completed, we can analyze the traffic after we’ve already put some improvements into that intersection.”
Evan Schroeder from Swift Underground spoke in favour of the plan, noting they had been working with Fast to ensure they would not negatively affect future residences in that area.
Councillor Michael Zwaagstra moved to approve the project saying it just makes sense for the area to be residential instead of industrial in the Official Community Plan.
Councillor Jac Siemens, however, spoke up against it noting “I think the buffer between the building and the highway needs to be a minimum of 30 feet and so I feel that is still something that should be required. The building will look out of place there.”
As a whole, council gave second reading to both the change of the Official Community Plan and the Rezoning Bylaw with a 5 to 2 vote. Councillors Jac Siemens and Jake Hiebert voted against both.