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Concerns over proposed 30-storey condo near downtown Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: Another high rise could be on the way for the Oliver neighbourhood but - it requires the approval of a rezoning application. As Julia Wong reports, there's some opposition.

City staff are not throwing their support behind a proposed condo in Edmonton’s Oliver neighbourhood.

The building is being proposed at 99 Avenue and 111 Street, and an application has been submitted to change the zoning to allow for a 90-metre tall high rise, or up to 30 storeys. Current zoning in the area restricts buildings to four storeys.

READ MORE: Edmonton City Council votes to rezone land to make way for 80-storey Alldritt Tower

The city’s sustainable development department has reservations about the design of the building, which would be directly adjacent to a four storey apartment building.

“The proposed zone would allow for a tall tower on a very small site, while not providing appropriate transitions to surrounding properties and the public realm. As such, it is an overdevelopment of the site that does not contribute to the liveability of the Oliver neighbourhood,” reads a report headed to a city council public hearing this week.

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Area councillor Scott McKeen said the building is nicely designed, but he is concerned about the height of the proposed condo.

RELATED: Edmonton councillors approve controversial high-rise tower despite chief planner’s concerns

“We’re putting a lot of people on not that much space and then the distance between the proposed tower and the four storey apartment building next door is not very much,” he said.

“We can’t ignore the people [next door] who were living next to two houses. I don’t think in their wildest dreams or nightmares they would have imagined a 27-storey [building] going in next door.”

McKeen said he will be giving weight to the advice from city staff but also said he is keeping an open mind ahead of the public hearing.

“When we look at these towers, what’s best for the community? The local community has to be factored in, but what does this also do for the City of Edmonton?” he said.

RELATED: Edmonton city council approves 16-storey development in Old Strathcona

Lisa Brown, president of the Oliver Community League, said the concerns about the proposed condo outweigh the positives.

“Most of them centre on the fact the proposed development is extremely out of character for the neighbourhood,” she said.

“It just doesn’t respect the immediate buildings around it nor the feel of the community, which is very residential in this part of Oliver.”

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Brown compared the proposed condo to the Hendrix, which is a block away, and said that while the latter is the same height, it has a smaller footprint on its lot; the footprint for the proposed condo would be double the Hendrix on a lot size less than half of the Hendrix.

She is also concerned about the setbacks for the proposed condo, which would see the building as close as 1.8 metres from the north lot line; the Hendrix is set back at least 6.5 metres from all its lot lines.

The matter will be discussed at a city council public hearing on Wednesday.