Edmonton has ambitious plans for a significant zoning overhaul that will have long-lasting effects on the city.
The city council will soon consider a bylaw that will extensively revise the urban development map.
While the city has tweaked definitions over the years — including allowing subdivisions for garden suites in 2018 — this will be the first time since the 1960s that it’s done a major overhaul of this scale.
Here are some key points you should be aware of.
Many things are undergoing changes.
Each plot of land within the city is designated a zone, which dictates the regulations concerning the placement and nature of buildings, as well as the permissible activities on a given property.
Edmonton intends to reduce the quantity of zones by nearly half, going from 46 to 24.
If the new regulation is approved, it would entail the rezoning of nearly all properties in Edmonton to their respective, closest equivalents.
For example, the new Small Scale Residential Zone would encompass single-detached residential, semi-detached residential, and small-scale infill.
That means a neighbourhood now dominated by single-detached homes could see other types of housing sprout up more easily.
There is a significant amount of information to analyze in the extensive 700-page proposed bylaw, including the city’s reasoning behind it.
In the upcoming weeks, CBC News plans to provide extensive coverage on the potential consequences.
2. The objective of the city is to achieve simplicity.
The city assures that the redraw will simplify development procedures and eliminate confusing terminology that has frequently confused residents.
That includes changing rules around which projects require permits and which don’t.
It’s also aimed at aligning zoning more neatly with the City Plan — Edmonton’s big-picture strategy, approved by council in 2020. The plan imagines a more dense, environmentally-friendly urban space as the city grows toward a population of two million.
I have been working on it for a long time.
The city embarked on this trajectory in 2018, commencing research for the new zoning bylaw. This involved conducting workshops, surveys, and other interactive events.
The administration’s work on developing and finalizing the proposed bylaw led to ongoing public engagement in the subsequent years.
Critics have raised concerns about the extent of consultation, claiming that residents are often uninformed about future developments.
4. Not everyone agrees
No surprise, there is now a significant opposition to the renewal of zoning.
The Coalition for Better Infill, a collective, has distributed leaflets and penned articles for the local press. One of their main worries pertains to the limited choices residents have when it comes to addressing their opposition to additional infill developments in their neighborhood.
Developers who have previously expressed support for the changes are also actively coordinating.
We are seeking your input.
The city council will review the suggested zoning bylaw and the rezoning of the entire city during a mandatory public hearing on October 16th. This hearing will provide residents with another opportunity to express their opinions. If there are many registered speakers, the hearing may be prolonged and take place over multiple days.
Additional details can be found on the official website of the city.
If the new zoning bylaw is approved, efforts will be made to ensure that the new map becomes effective on January 1, 2024.
If it is not the case, then it is likely that we need to start over and come up with a new plan.
CBC News is seeking your input.
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