Residents push back on small-scale commercial building proposed for Glenora

Dozens of lawn signs in a west Edmonton neighbourhood are displaying a message for city council: maintain the community’s family feel by keeping commercial development out.

The signs read “we support family oriented development” — a response to a proposed small-scale commercial building that would sit across from a future LRT stop in Glenora.

The proposal will go to a public hearing before city council on Monday. If approved, it would turn a one-storey home into a two-storey commercial development on 134th Street and 104th Avenue.

A group of residents met Sunday to discuss their plan to convince council to oppose the project. The group, Family Oriented Development, is concerned the design doesn’t fit the neighbourhood’s character.

“This is the only residential, mature neighbourhood stop on the entire West Valley Line. All the rest of them are commercial,” said organizer Marie Gordon, a Glenora resident for more than three decades.

A community group called Family Oriented Development plans to speak to city council Monday in opposition of a commerical development proposed for Glenora. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

The project is part of what the city calls transit-oriented development, meaning it should offer retail services like food and drink or offices close to the LRT stop.

“If you had to ever think of a neighbourhood where there should be an exception to a rule about transit-oriented development, this is exactly it,” Gordon said. “This is a green jewel of a neighbourhood and we can’t lose it.”

The group worries the neighbourhood doesn’t have enough parking to accommodate more commercial space.

With the LRT line set to run down Stony Plain Road nearby, Gordon said she worries there will be more proposals for commercial spaces in the future.

“All of a sudden, we’ve hollowed out and we’ve lost what actually makes this places feel special, which is green, which is families, which is kids,” Gordon said.

“This is just not the right fit for those of us who live here and those of us who could live here.”

The commercial building proposed for 134th Street and 104th Avenue would sit across from an LRT station. (City of Edmonton)

The group faces an uphill battle, as city planners are on board with the project, saying it will provide a buffer between the future LRT station and homes to the north.

One goal is to ensure Glenora residents can walk to retail spaces — something Gordon said the neighbourhood already offers.

Despite the creation of a community group opposing the project, the developer, Otto Capital, said many residents have offered their support.

Company founder Dan Belostotsky lives in Glenora, and said he has spent a lot of time making sure the building aligns with the community feel.

Otto Capital founder Dan Belostotsky says he’s working to make sure the building would house suitable tenants. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Blueprints have been adjusted to address some community concerns, dropping the height from three storeys to two, and banning bars or cannabis stores, he said.

“We’re going to work as hard as we can to make sure the right tenants are there and the building looks as best as possible,” he said.

Belostotsky said the proposed development site is unique.

“This property is literally across the street from an LRT stop,” he said.

“People don’t want to live right in front of the LRT stop. And since this is the only property that’s actually right in front of the LRT stop, I think it’s a very appropriate use.”

The proposed development site. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

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