20-0723 v3.X Urban Ag - Climate and Wildlife Concerns
This project is seeking an exception to the I02 – Urban Agriculture Imperative. With a total project area of 1,600 m2 and a gross building area of 288 m2, the floor area ratio equates to 0.18. As per the LBC 3.1 Place Handbook, the percent of project site required to be dedicated to Urban Agriculture equates to 30% (480 m2). Bearing in mind the existing greenhouse, trees, and beds, along with additions of walkout beds, raised beds, a compost area, a second greenhouse, a bunny run, and other harvest areas, the 30% requirement is difficult to achieve on this site and the request is to reduce the required area for our project from 30% to 15%. This reduced percentage aligns more closely with the requirements of LBC 4.0.
The project site is located at an elevation of approximately 1327 meters (4,400 feet) where the climate is cold and temperate averaging between 85 and 111 annual frost-free days (at 0 °C) over the last five years. The average annual temperature is near 0 °C (32 °F). The site is located in USDA Zone 3a, or Dfc (subarctic with cool summers and year-round precipitation) as per the Köppen Climate Classification Map: coldest month averaging below 0 °C (32 °F) and 1–3 months averaging above 10 °C (50 °F). The growing season is short which limits the list of species that are suitable for agricultural purposes.
This area is conducive to growing some fruit, vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, and other plants, however there is the additional challenge of wildlife to contend with. The area is rich with bears (black, brown, and grizzly), moose, elk, deer and a plethora of other animals who frequent the townsite often, however residents have learned to live in harmony with these majestic creatures by minimizing attractants on their properties. The human/nature symbiosis is illustrated well by the larger neighboring Town of Canmore (population ~14,000), located just 40 km west, which has many stringent and exemplary documented tools (
) to curtail wildlife concerns:
• Fines from $250 - $10,000 for hanging a bird feeder during the warmer months and allowing bird food to accumulate on the ground underneath;
• Fines from $250 - $10,000 for allowing fruit to accumulate on trees, bushes, or the ground; and
• A voluntary fruit tree removal program where the town will cover 50% of the cost to remove a fruit tree from a propriety.
The project resides in a small, isolated hamlet (population ~50) where the wildlife concern is exacerbated, so residents typically avoid attractants altogether to reduce dangerous encounters and curtail animals being destroyed (some of which are threatened species).
The project has submitted a revised Project Area that complies with guidance laid out in the 3.1 Early Project Guidebook, and the resulting FAR results in a smaller area of required urban agriculture. The permissible area of urban agriculture proposed by the team of 252 sm is 86% of what is needed according to the revised FAR. Because a combination of factors on the site, including shading caused by adjacent forested lands and the unexpectedly large size and shape of the septic field render a substantial portion of the area as unsuitable for planting, and because the proposed area of agricultural is intensive relative to the available area, the areas designated for agriculture in the attachment to the Dialogue post, with the exception of the sapling area (unless they're saplings of fruit- or nut-bearing trees), are deemed sufficient to meet requirements.