A public hearing on the second stage of the Heritage Hills development was held at Monday’s council meeting where primarily developers spoke about the need to move forward with construction of 1,128 homes on the remaining 173 acres.
Although the Neighbourhood Plan was approved by Council in March, it was done with several caveats that developers feel have been met as they have agreed to restrict the building of slope retaining walls, though landscaping walls of no more than three feet would still be required in some area; have agreed to hire a third party geotechnical engineer to monitor and inspect grading and do the testing for surface and underground construction; assured Council slopes meet the 1.8 factor of safety needed to build on them; and will provide additional securities to the homes with Environmental Reserves being turned over to the Town two years after the final homes is sold. Harmony Park also moved the proposed multi-family dwelling further north so as not to infringe on the view of the families already living in Heritage Hills and reminded Council that they have contributed $5 million to the Town through offsite levies with their development activities over the years.
The only sticking point that remains is the requirement that no construction take place until the Province shows a firm commitment to upgrading the Hwy 1A/22 intersection, which the developers in the area feel is unnecessary. Based on the usual time it takes to get from an empty lot to occupancy is one and a half to two years, the developers figured the first 200 or so homes would not see anyone moving in before 2019, by which point work on upgrading the intersection should be well on its way at the very least.
It was also noted that before people move in to the currently undeveloped northern and eastern portion of Heritage Hills the developers would be required to have upgraded Township Road 262 in the north to provide an alternate route down to Hwy 1A or east to Hwy 22. As for traffic impact from these homes, they estimated that the 200 homes would add 150 cars to the road between morning and afternoon peak hours which could further be diluted depending on how many people chose to go directly to Hwy 22 rather than Hwy 1A.
Given that full build out will take eight to ten years, the developers felt there was no need to delay building new homes especially when a Request for Proposals has been issued by Alberta Transportation for design build consultation.
Before the public hearing ended, the Harmony representative also informed Council that they plan to have traffic lights installed at the intersection of Hwy 1A and Horse Creek Rd. by September, which would not be affected by the future highway widening as it will not extend that far west.
Source: Cochrane Times