E-Newsletter

Understanding report CPC2012-003, Land Use Redesignation (Windsor Park)

While the Mission Road Innovation Project got all the attention at the January 9th Public Hearing; another land use item on the agenda also had interesting implications. See how Council voted and what it could mean to future redevelopment.

CPC2012-003 Land Use Redesignation (Windsor Park) and Bylaw 3D2012

As described in the CPC report, the subject parcel to be redesignated is located on a narrow parcel on Elbow Drive SW within the community of Windsor Park. The area is characterized by a mix of low density residential dwellings to the north and south and multi-residential dwellings to the east and the Calgary Golf and Country Club to the west.

The applicant was looking to redesignate the subject lands from R-C2 to Multi-Residential (M-CG) (M-CGd21) to accommodate a maximum of 5 dwelling units. So in other words, going from the already permitted 2 units on the parcel and adding a maximum of 3 more.

As mentioned in the report, this type of redevelopment would provide a transition to the adjacent low density residential development as the M-CG land use district ensures height is measured contextually to adjacent buildings to ensure compatibility with the existing streetscape. This would be in alignment with the provisions of modest intensification outlined in the Inner City typology within Calgary’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP).

How does that translate in layman’s terms?

Essentially this kind of redevelopment project fits precisely into the Plan It Calgary vision of ‘sensitive intensification’.

What did the community think? No objections were raised by the Community Association with regard to the subject land use redesignation. Which means the small increase in density wasn’t an issue but there were some concerns with regard to height, massing, privacy and placement of the units. As always, these types of design details would be worked out at the Development Permit stage.

But not so fast, what about the actual neighbours? A letter was received from the adjacent landowners to the north in opposition. While many of their concerns were of a similar nature, in fact they went a step further and asked the redesignation be refused, claiming that allowing the additional three units would, in their words, jeopardize personal safety, reduce property values and compromise the use and enjoyment of neighbouring homes.

Of note? These issues were raised by the condo board representing the already multi-residential gated community to the north. Of further interest? Mayor Nenshi even waded into the fray by asking those who objected if they thought the three additional units would really cause THAT much disruption.

What does this all mean?

What did Council do? Well the good news for those promoting the vision of Plan It is that the majority voted in favour of the redesignation with only Ald. Chabot, Demong, Hodges and Mar voting against.

On the one hand, it indicates a willingness by the majority of Council to approve sensitive intensification if it’s done in a creative way to take advantage of underutilized parcels along primary transportation corridors.

That said, not everyone on Council agreed. That can spell trouble, or as Industry likes to call it, ‘uncertainty’, when it comes to future decisions on determining appropriate locations for increased density.

It will take many more of these redesignations successfully navigating the system before anyone is ready to state unequivocally that City Council is actively encouraging and enabling the necessary changes envisioned by our new Municipal Development Plan.