A bureaucratic battle brewing between a growing Edmonton business and the city has been put on the back burner until near the end of summer. It’s all about parking.
Katy Ingraham runs the successful neighbourhood pub Cartago in Forest Heights. It occupies one side of the ground floor of a mixed-use building at 106 Avenue and 82 Street. It was built on a vacant gas station. Twenty-seven apartments occupy the other floors of the four-storey building.
Now Ingraham is hoping to expand. She wants to move into the other half of the ground floor with a coffee shop and deli.
When some of the neighbours got wind of it, she said they started complaining to the city.
Officially, Ingraham has been told her development permit has been turned down because of insufficient parking.
“We’re not asking for parking. The city is telling us we need parking.”
Ingraham has seen the letters sent to Councillor Ben Henderson.
“A lot of the neighbours’ concerns have to do with enforcement issues,” she told Global News. She said people are worried about cars circling the neighbourhood looking for a place to park so they can walk the rest of the way.
“People driving too fast on the street or doing U-turns and making it unsafe for their children to be on the street, which obviously would upset us as well because we are members of the community, but we can’t do that enforcement.”
After all Ingram said, the city’s own new Infill 2.0 study wants Edmonton to be less dependent on vehicles and aims “to create walkable, bikeable, community hubs in older central neighbourhoods.”
“My feeling about it is that if we reduce the available parking, if we make it harder to park at Cartago, that people will start to use alternate modes of transportation,” Ingram said.
The pinch point is 106 Avenue, in front of Cartago, especially during rush hour where there is no parking allowed. The issue will likely be addressed at the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board on Aug. 23.
Ingraham said she also has support from the neighbourhood and plans on submitting letters to make that case.
In the meantime, she’ll stew in her frustration with bureaucracy.
“Kudos to everybody in Edmonton who has opened a small, independent business because everybody’s had to deal with this.”