Rezoning Q&As

  1. The ‘Proposed Rezoning’ brochure recently provided by the City states under Scenario 1: “An R-CG could have a maximum of 4 dwelling units on a typical 50 ft lot, with the potential for each unit to have a secondary suite and a backyard suite”. This means that on both sides of my property, I could have up to 12 dwelling units for a total of 24 new neighbours versus my current 2 neighbours.  Parking spaces, even with the new 0.5 cars per unit excluding any allowance for the backyard suites, will become very challenging, multiple garbage bins numbering 63 bins unless reduced by combined larger bins, many power cables across sidewalks, exacerbated in the near future with HV EV charging cables, even less space for snow clearing, loss of ‘relative’ privacy in my garden as well as loss of sunlight for growing plants and edibles, etc

Assuming this is correct, does the City of Calgary (COC) and Councillors really believe that this is desirable and reasonable?

  • COC states that ‘If someone builds a row house, what is the impact on a single detached house adjacent or directly opposite such a development’

COC states that based on current market analysis, there is no evidence that there is any negative impact on the property value of houses adjacent to rowhouse developments.

How does the COC justify this statement when demand for this type of property will drop?

  • The category R-CG is the Residential – Grade Oriented Infill District states that ‘This district has rules to ensure new buildings fit in with existing homes.’

The R-CG district is used in the established communities and contains contextual rules (the “C” in R-CG) to ensure infill buildings fit into the context of the existing homes on the street. 

The process states that Administration must take into consideration the application’s planning merits, applied against the Land Use Bylaw and applicable policies, while balancing the needs of the community. With the new ‘Proposed Rezoning’, it is felt that the City and Developer will decide with minimal input from the Community Associations / Residents.

We do not wish to have to revert to the SDAB (Subdivision and Development Appeal Board) on a frequent basis.

How will this be ‘guaranteed’ to residents ahead of any review of a neighbor’s ‘Development Permit’ (DP)? Who will decide on whether the new property ‘fits in’?

  • We have heard that there is a substantial amount of land where affordable housing could be built quickly and close to transport and other amenities. There is no clear inventory of City land and its applicability for affordable housing made available to residents as far as we know so transparency is requested.

Is there not enough currently zoned land to build affordable housing on?  Can the City please provide this in a simple and user-friendly manner so we can understand the extent of the problem or opportunity?

  • The Housing and Affordability Task Force was comprised mainly of individuals representing low income and homeless individuals/ charities/organizations. They had some great observations and constructive solutions, but although some amendments were made in the 3rd Sept 2023  Council, we felt there were many aspects needing further discussion. The ‘Guidelines for Great Communities’ incorporated some good concepts although as communicated by many CAs and residents, there was need for upgrading.

This proposed Citywide rezoning is a major decision, not a minor tweak to the by-law. There was no discussion of such a departure from our current Land Use Byelaws, or to rezoning on this scale in the last election. That election was held soon after a strong opposition reflecting similar citizen concerns led to the withdrawal of the Guidebook for Great Communities.

COC issued a letter to affected home owners in March entitled ‘ Notice of Public Hearing on Planning Matters’  just approximately 30 -45 days ahead of the Public Hearing.

Why is the COC and Councillors using the Affordability Housing crisis to push through a Citywide rezoning process with limited time for home owners to fully understand the implications and align with or object?

  1. The proposal to blanket up-zone the entire city is a significant change to current planning policies and patterns of development. Density can benefit the city and communities if it is well planned. Local Area Plans (LAPs) have been used somewhat effectively to engage with local residents to develop long term plans for a neighbourhood taking into consideration the City’s objectives, inclusive of densification. Oakridge as part of District 32 has spent the last 5 years attempting to engage the City and our Councillors to progress with a dedicated tailored plan for our neighborhoods.

Why can’t the City and our Councillors use the existing processes to gain alignment on predictable densification rather than considering uncontrolled blanket rezoning?

  1. Blanket up-zoning creates density without regard for community context. Housing choice already exists in Calgary. What is missing is deeply affordable non-market housing options. We need a focussed strategy to quickly and cost effectively generate affordable housing.

Blanket up-zoning will not supply affordable housing efficiently.

Can the City respectfully create evidence-based policies tailored to address Calgary’s specific needs and challenges that are co-designed with Calgarians?

  1. Recent Federal Announcements regarding funds may be influencing the City Administration and Councillors.  The Prime Minister announced $600 million for Housing initiatives on the 5th April 2024.  Linking our City housing plans to Federal Funds with constraints is risky as post the Federal Election within the next 18 months, agreements may change. Notwithstanding this, the COC intheir ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ stated that” Council will make the decision to proceed or not proceed with the rezoning at a Public Hearing of Council on April 22, 2024. If City Council does not approve the proposed rezoning, the fourth advance of HAF Funding may be impacted. Federal Housing Minister Fraser’s letter in September to Mayor Gondek and members of City Council, did, however, highlight the importance of taking this action to help create more supply. “

Why is the City apparently jeopardizing our planning process to gain ‘tied’ funds?

  • We have heard that the intention of the COC is to relax/reduce side yard (possibly no side set back) and front/rear yard setbacks, to accommodate (increased) lot coverage needed to accommodate all the increased building/housing accommodations.  Lot coverage from a maximum of 45% to 60%.  

If so, this may create additional regulatory needs. Will the COC ensure there is increased fire protection between buildings on adjacent properties?

  1. The COC states that “Most established area communities, especially those built prior to 1980, are below their historical peak population. Due to declining population in those areas, and higher efficiency houses being built, there is existing infrastructure capacity (roads, transit stops, water and wastewater management, etc.) to handle more types of housing.” However, many of these communities are now increasing in population without infills due to families moving back into single family residences.

Further increase in populations within residential neighborhoods due to rezoning is expected to generate many more cars/vehicles, therefore creating major congestion on the roads and in parking.

Why is the COC ignoring the major traffic congestions and frustrations that are already being experienced by communities such as Marda Loop and Kensington?

  1. Prior to the currently proposed rezoning changes, issues and changes to policy were subject to discussion, debate and consensus-based planning.

What has happened to the COC’s Engagement Policy?