Calgary city council gave the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan (NHCLAP) first reading, after a relatively short exchange Monday.
The matter was introduced at Monday’s Combined Meeting of Council after going through a series of amendments since April.
The document has been the subject of much debate and citizen campaigns over the past three months – and since the process began in 2018. Concerns over blanket density and public engagement dogged this plan and the former Guide for Local Area Planning.
Coun. Druh Farrell introduced the document in council Monday. She said for many communities looking for a new redevelopment strategy, this is a long time coming.
“We wanted to come up with a different way, a more efficient way to look at an area, a more all-encompassing plan,” she said.
“The North Hill plan accomplishes a number of things that you don’t have in place today.”
Farrell said along with the planning certainty, there are preservation instruments for heritage and tree canopy.
Not everyone was on board. Coun. Jeromy Farkas attempted to have the matter referred to allow for re-advertising and a public hearing. The latest document, after having specific NHCLAP changes and the 62 amendments of the Guide embedded in them, will not have a public hearing.
Coun. Farkas took issue with the fact that a letter with more than 1,000 signatures wasn’t considered as enough citizen support to consider a new public hearing.
He said that approving the NHCLAP is essentially approving the Guidebook.
“This is really the Guidebook in the back door,” he said.
That referral failed, as did a request to go in camera to talk about legal procedure around the approval.
With the first reading approved, the document will now go to the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board. It will come back to city council for second and third readings after that’s complete.
Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra introduced an amendment that would see the urban form map slightly adjusted to reflect concerns with building heights in some areas.
Coun. Sean Chu also introduced an amendment to have height amended in Highland Park along 40 Avenue NW.
Both of those were approved.