East Junction | 86m | 25s | Regency Developments | DER + Associates

What do you think of this project?


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@westcoastjos They are, but that doesn't make it a good process. The biggest beef I have with it is there's a pretty big imbalance of power; the developer is in it to profit, the city admin folks are doing this as their job, but for those of us in the community, it's whatever volunteer time we can scrap together.

In addition, there's virtually no information made available to residents about things like TOD Gudinelines, Large Site Infill Guidelines, no information on how to interpret sightline diagrams, sun-shadow diagrams, no way to understand how to read a traffic impact assessment,... ...and yet they expect residents to provide feedback on all these things. It's no wonder that views expressed are on the extreme ends of "yes moar towers & density everywhere" to NIMBY/BANANA without much in between. The nuance is completely lost.
Your second paragraph makes complete sense.

Your first one basically described any public engagement process that occurs, which is both a good and a bad thing. A good comparison would be when Government consults the not-for-profit sector, as most people in that sector would be doing the consultation off the side of their desk and/or for free. They still do it though. I do understand that there is an imbalance of power, but at the same time, they could also just be giving everyone a certain finger and doing zero consultation. Given that the developers are in it to make money, I wouldn't put it past them. Plus, the city is obligated to an extent to consult, but it isn't necessarily legislated the same way the Province might have to consult with a stakeholder group.

I suppose the bottom line is that people will always complain, regardless of the amount of stakeholder engagement that occurs. That isn't a bad thing by any means either. That is the point of consultation. However, people always seem to find a way to complain about the process, even if it is as good as it can be. People always point out the margins are pretty slim around development, and extensive consultation, especially to shift the balance of power, would most likely erode those margins to the point where it wouldn't make any sense to develop anything. This comes up a lot internally within various layers of government (federal, provincial, municipal), where in the last 10 years, there has been a shift of perception that the government should be transparent and open about everything. Of course, this came from the notion that all government workers take every Friday off and are all lazy bums doing nothing. In reality, it more likely based around the ebb and flow of the economy. Times are good, everyone does good. Times are bad, and the government still does good, whereas the private sector used to have an expectation that the rest of the company would wear the downturn so to speak. I think that belief in the private sector has gone away recently too, unfortunately. Anyhow, while open government is good (and I do believe it is), making everything open takes time and resources away from more meaningful work that those levels of government could be doing. Given the fiscal restraint we find ourselves in, that means other things get put on the shelf, instead of both being done.

This is simply me commenting and more food for thought. I definitely do not mean to be argumentative by any means! :)

Given the amount of interest from the community on this one, especially in person, I would hope that the developers do consider the feedback is given. Ultimately, I don't think people are against density; however, it has to be within a certain scale. I suppose it is always best to pie in the sky it to the extremes in development, and then scale it back within reason. That is often what seems to happen with many proposals. 22 in this case, is too big, but many of the stickies were referencing around 10-15 stories being more reasonable. Others were saying four storey places. There is a balance when you live in a city and I hope it is found in this case.
 
Sun studies aside, I have never been able to fathom the real difference between 15 storeys and 25 storeys. Density is not only good for a city it basically underpins the definition of a city. The greater the density in a given area, the more sustainable are the shops and services therein and the more variety provided to the community. Jane Jacobs in her seminal book 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities' scores all of the advantages of density (the biggest being reduced crime, eyes on the street and all that). Far, far more important is the interface between tall buildings and street-level life at the base of those structures. Too often the ground floor is a 'dead zone' with little in the way of pedestrian amenity. If one wants to have zoning laws, then the emphasis at street level should be activity -- retail shops, small markets, bakeries, pubs, restaurants, bistros, clubs... all of those things that make a neighborhood walkable and livable. Taboo at the base should be law offices, accounting offices, insurance offices... all of the elements inherent in city 'dead zones' (lift them up to the second or third level above the street).
In the (near) past we used to like -- that is Planners used to like -- separating everything use-wise apart from one another. It was a hard lesson for them to graduate to 'mixed use'. And now that they (Planners) have graduated to the notion of combining uses in a single development, they should take that further step and learn what puts and keeps people on the street.
By the way -- re Sun Studies -- the taller the building, the faster the shadow sweep over residences at ground level at the extremes (if your single family residence is next door then -- too bad -- your existence is going to be in the shade whether the neighbouring building is 5 storeys, 25 storeys or 105 storeys.
 
I do understand that there is an imbalance of power, but at the same time, they could also just be giving everyone a certain finger and doing zero consultation. Given that the developers are in it to make money, I wouldn't put it past them. Plus, the city is obligated to an extent to consult, but it isn't necessarily legislated the same way the Province might have to consult with a stakeholder group.

That's part of the issue, it feels to me that it's become a box-ticking exercise of doing the bare minimum, at least in our case. It doesn't have to be that way; the developers behind Strathearn Heights managed to build a great relationship with that neighbourhood for their proposal through a very good consultation. (That project has sadly stalled due to the 2008 financial crash).

Given the amount of interest from the community on this one, especially in person, I would hope that the developers do consider the feedback is given. Ultimately, I don't think people are against density; however, it has to be within a certain scale. I suppose it is always best to pie in the sky it to the extremes in development, and then scale it back within reason. That is often what seems to happen with many proposals. 22 in this case, is too big, but many of the stickies were referencing around 10-15 stories being more reasonable. Others were saying four storey places. There is a balance when you live in a city and I hope it is found in this case.

That seems to be the way the game is often played, though always. We're meeting the developer next week, looking forward to seeing what they have to say about the open house and feedback they heard versus the feedback we collected.

It's frustrating to hear people saying "well if you can't build density around LRT what's the point" - density has positive impacts, yes, and most people I've spoken to understand that. But it also has negative impacts that need to be mitigated. The devil is in the details and when you look closely at those details like we have, you start to see problems that need to be addressed. Those are what we're trying to shine a light on for residents, and to have addressed by the developer. Preferably before it goes to council, which I would hope they would also prefer if they want a smooth approval process.

Sun studies aside, I have never been able to fathom the real difference between 15 storeys and 25 storeys. Density is not only good for a city it basically underpins the definition of a city. The greater the density in a given area, the more sustainable are the shops and services therein and the more variety provided to the community. Jane Jacobs in her seminal book 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities' scores all of the advantages of density (the biggest being reduced crime, eyes on the street and all that). Far, far more important is the interface between tall buildings and street-level life at the base of those structures. Too often the ground floor is a 'dead zone' with little in the way of pedestrian amenity. If one wants to have zoning laws, then the emphasis at street level should be activity -- retail shops, small markets, bakeries, pubs, restaurants, bistros, clubs... all of those things that make a neighborhood walkable and livable. Taboo at the base should be law offices, accounting offices, insurance offices... all of the elements inherent in city 'dead zones' (lift them up to the second or third level above the street).

In the (near) past we used to like -- that is Planners used to like -- separating everything use-wise apart from one another. It was a hard lesson for them to graduate to 'mixed use'. And now that they (Planners) have graduated to the notion of combining uses in a single development, they should take that further step and learn what puts and keeps people on the street.

Absolutely; in fact the street-oriented units and the retail components are the least contentious parts of the development. The small-scale retail in fact is one of the things people I've talked to are most excited about. That said, the inner "courtyards" in the proposal are being touted as publicly accessible, yet their lack of permeability from the rest of the neighbourhood means few residents outside the development will use it, and their enclosed nature makes them a bit anti-CPTED. I think most people would honestly rather see the density more spread out over the area than piled up into towers.

By the way -- re Sun Studies -- the taller the building, the faster the shadow sweep over residences at ground level at the extremes (if your single family residence is next door then -- too bad -- your existence is going to be in the shade whether the neighbouring building is 5 storeys, 25 storeys or 105 storeys.

That's more a factor of the girth of the towers than the heights. The tallest tower is actually pretty wide if you look at the diagrams (can't remember if I posted them, can do that if I haven't), and at Edmonton's latitude it will cast a pretty massive shadow in the spring and fall (winter too, but everything casts massive shadows in our winters). The other issue is the transitions; right now many SFH in the neighbourhood would be adjacent to 6-story buildings with barely any transitions to the towers from there (again, will post the diagrams shortly).
 
Here's the sun shadow studies; note that these were done when the maximum heights of the taller tower was 20 stories - it is now 22.

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And the view angles:

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These are the developer's own studies.
 

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Some of the larger concerns, though, are the way traffic is managed. Because of the Valley Line LRT, much of the traffic produced by this development (and let's face it, even being right on the LRT not everyone is going to be taking the train), much of that traffic is going to be forced to go through Holyrood, since access to arterial roads from this site will be very limited. That's a big one that needs to be addressed, as it goes against a lot of the city's own guidelines on large site infill. And if it cannot be addressed, the developer needs to work with the neighbourhood and the city to find ways to mitigate the impact of that.
 
@Daveography -- that, again, gets back to the viability of the street. The more densification functionality is achieved in the development the less need there will be for people to board their autos for a trip, thereby reducing traffic. Even the SF neighbourhood, if the retail/hospitality/arts mix is appealing enough might find themselves trekking overland by foot to enjoy the amenities -- if I was on the community council, I would be stressing that strongly to the developer to the point of making them include that in their development agreement with the neighbourhood. The greater the ease for the greater numbers of LRT users, then, also the fewer vehicle trips downtown (I can think of at least one user who would, on inclement days, prefer to take the train ;) although we have to discount him because he probably wouldn't be taking an automobile in any case). The girth of a building, as you have recognized, is significant; the height is not. Tall buildings shadow sweep at the extremities may be measured in minutes, not hours -- kind of like a cloud passing overhead (even in spring, winter, and fall) -- and, certainly, much less concerning in a north-south oriented development. In my role as a neighbourhood rep, I would also be willing to trade girth for height and cement that into the agreement.
 

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Doesn't anyone have any issues with the massing studies above? The pictures make it look like the single family homes are 3 stories high and they make the towers look like they are shorter. Almost all the homes to the east of this development are single story bungalows. I think this diagram is unethical.
 
I now think this would have been the best option minus the parking. Bigger open sites, nice penetration and large sites from the alley to the street.

@westcoastjos

Original Option A:
img_20170119_170652-jpg.96511


Option B:
img_20170119_171140-jpg.96516


Submitted:
holyrood_gardens_dc2_provisions_and_appendices-2-jpg.103236


So slightly more site coverage makes up the difference, it seems. It is really more of a hybrid of the two presented options.

Only just noticed too it looks like all surface parking has been eliminated, which is good.
 
@planetanne Welcome to the forum!

I think the boxes for the SFH represent the roof gable heights, so yes, it is a bit misleading in that sense. What strikes me about it is how much of a wall it creates along 85 St. I'll be speaking at the council hearing on Sept. 11 to some of the design aspects.
 
@planetanneI think the boxes for the SFH represent the roof gable heights, so yes, it is a bit misleading in that sense.

I think it's trees. Some of the houses or garages look like chimneys. On Google streetview I've found some noticeably tall trees where a few of those are. Google maps has data on the building shapes, and it has overall height data, they're probably just combining the two, and showing the building height as the height of the tallest thing in the data. I think it's exploiting a flawed method, to allow the end result to be misleading.

Edit: Actually, it is definitely purposefully misleading. I get a similar view in Google Earth if I set "Elevation Exageration" to around 2x or 3x, AND include trees that overlap buildings. However some of the buildings are vertically scaled more than others. For example in the view from Bonnie Doon Mall, the building in front of the traffic circle looks scaled by about 3x, while the taller building to the left looks scaled about 1.5x.
 
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Residents brace for a fight over Holyrood Gardens development
City planners got an earful Wednesday night from a number of Holyrood residents angry at the scale and speed of a proposal to redevelop the western edge of their community into a high-density housing complex.

The controversial Holyrood Gardens project, which calls for 1,200 units in a five-block strip along the Valley Line LRT, is scheduled to go to city council for a rezoning decision next Monday.

On Wednesday, the city held an open house to show how the community’s views had been used to revise the design. But for many residents, the changes were insignificant to a project they called too tall, too dense and too rushed.

“The city has pushed this through to accommodate LRT and LRT housing, but they have disregarded an older group of neighbourhoods here that have been around forever,” resident Travis Klymchuk said.

“This is going to be a nightmare.”

Deanna Scott, a senior who lives in a condo near the project, said residents are not opposed to a redevelopment. But at 1,200 units, the project will create major traffic headaches on the neighbourhood streets, especially since the LRT tracks will make it difficult to get onto the main roads, she said.

http://edmontonjournal.com/news/loc...for-a-fight-over-holyrood-gardens-development

More study on Holyrood redevelopment needed before vote Monday, councillor says
An Edmonton city councillor says he wants to hit the brakes on a rezoning proposal in the city's Holyrood neighbourhood.

At an open house Wednesday night, Coun. Ben Henderson said he will introduce a motion Monday asking council for more time to study the redevelopment of Holyrood Gardens rather than voting in favour of the rezoning.

"There is room here for a 'good news' story if we tweak it a bit more," Henderson said. "I'm not hearing a community that's against development — they've actually been screaming for it for a long time."

The proposed development would build seven medium- and high-density buildings in Holyrood Gardens and include up to 1,200 living units, new retail spaces and an apartment tower.

Henderson and the Holyrood Development Committee want the Edmonton Design Committee to review the land-use and traffic concerns raised by the proposed development.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/holywood-redevelopment-study-needed-1.4278429
 
"Sensitive architecture" is a term that sticks in my mind. Having been to amazing cities like London and Toronto recently, I'm reminded how powerful good urban design can be, and how bad designs can seriously damage a community. Our committee may not fully agree on what constitutes good design, but we at the very least want it to be reviewed by those who understand it better than those whose mandate seems to be simply infill density at any cost.
 

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