Development permit for new church approved

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The new Catholic Church in Canmore is significantly closer to getting in the ground with construction after a development permit was approved by the Canmore Planning Commission.

Commission members voted unanimously to approve the permit after it was presented to them last Thursday (June 29) by Town planning technician Megan Dunn.

Dunn said the proposed building uses traditional church architectural style mixed with a mountain esthetic for the highly visible and significant site at the corner of Palliser Trail and Silvertip Trail.

“The church design is based on old world architectural style, blended with a mountain theme,” she said.

While architect Ron Boruk was unable to attend the CPC meeting, Vijay Domingo spoke on behalf of Our Ladies of the Rockies parish. He said the proposed church is a fantastic project for the community.

“It has been a long road and I hope you appreciate the work and bringing something unique, classical and beautiful to Canmore,” Domingo said.

The development permit requested three variances to maximum eaveline height, front yard parking and the freestanding sign area, which requires its own development permit.

The eaveline is proposed at 12.5 metres and the maximum height for the district is nine metres.

Dunn said in order to accommodate the windows as per the traditional church design, an eaveline variance is required.

“Administration believes it is reasonable to support the variance for the eaves, since the building height is still below maximum,” she said.

The building height is proposed at 13.7 metres and the district allows a maximum of 14 metres. However, Dunn noted the steeple of the church is proposed at 31.3 metres in height, and they “are excluded from building height calculations.”

The church asked for eight parking stalls to be located at the front of the site, requiring a variance. Dunn explained that four of those parking stalls would be barrier free and are supportable from administration’s standpoint.

The parking requirement sets out one stall for every five seats. Given the future development area, the total required parking is 110 stalls and the church is providing 112 stalls, seven barrier free stalls, a loading area and 24 bike parking stalls on site.

The site is located adjacent to a wildlife corridor, as defined in the municipality’s land use bylaw and municipal development plan. The application was referred to the province for comment.

According to the staff report, based on prior environmental studies, an environmental impact statement is not required for the development permit application.

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