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Path to citywide upzoning included in Calgary housing strategy. So, what’s next?

With the endorsement of the Calgary housing strategy over the weekend, one of the big questions remaining is: What’s next with citywide upzoning?

The Calgary housing strategy – Home is Here – included a wide range of measures aimed at increasing the market and non-market housing supply, with one of those measures being the citywide land use redesignation to Residential – Grade-Oriented Infill (R-CG). This would make the base land-use R-CG, allowing rowhouses, townhouses, duplexes, semi-detached and cottage houses.

The strategy didn’t automatically adopt this upzoning. There is a public process that will take place before this would move forward.

Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp asked during Question Period at the Sept. 19 public hearing meeting about the process toward R-CG.

“We spent the whole weekend discussing housing strategy and there was a question posed to you about next steps for blanket rezoning,” she asked.

“Could you reiterate to the members of council and the public, what the next steps are and what the public will expect to see regarding the decision of moving forward with the blanket rezoning.”

When discussing the process with the media over the weekend, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek indicated it could take several months. She said it would likely go into the first half of 2024.

That was confirmed during QP at the Sept. 19 meeting, by Josh White, director of city and regional planning for the City of Calgary. White said the first step would be mapping parcels that are subject to change and then preparing notifications and communication.

“The next step will be notification,” he said.

“So, affected landowner mail out, plain language communication and legal letters, broad public communication on how to provide input, how to participate in public hearing, and advertising and then public input.”

Upzoning controversy didn’t delay strategy approval

While there were several Calgarians who came forward to express their disapproval of the R-CG base land use, it didn’t end up being a sticking point for the strategy’s approval.

Though there were unsuccessful attempts to remove it from the document, it ultimately stayed in place.

Ward 3 Coun. Jasmine Mian questioned, during debate on the document over the weekend, why councillors would oppose the entire strategy if a decision on the land use matter was still months away.

White said that there would be an opportunity for public feedback through a variety of portals, and they would advertise how the public can participate.

“Then following that public input period, administration will form a recommendation considering the public input received during that process. And importantly, that recommendation is not predetermined,” he said.

Once the recommendation comes forward, there will be a public hearing. That’s the opportunity for Calgarians to share their thoughts in council before elected leaders.

“We would expect, from a timeline point of view, that we would exercise that public hearing around Q2 of 2024,” he said.

After that, he said the effective date of the new land-use bylaw would be roughly one month after the council approval, White said.