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Making a difference: Planning & Development

Making a difference:
Planning & Development

Planning & Development​ is about building Cal​​​gary for everyone. Whether you’re a citizen, community member or a customer looking for information or services, we’re focused on making it faster and easier to find what you need. We’re gathering feedback, examining great ideas and removing roadblocks in an effort to make life better for Calgarians. Below are just a few of the many improvements we’re making to help people get involved in the planning process, or to support development in our city.

We’re listening to you

We want to hear from citizens, homeowners, business customers and industry about what improvements can be made, and how City processes can be enhanced. Let us know your thoughts, by commenting on our innovation​ page.​

Our improvement plans​ and efforts

Learn more about what we’re doing today, to improve our services and customer's experience tomorrow.

Home​owners

We’re working on making it easier to find safety, bylaw and permit information, apply for permits and book inspect​ions online. Part of these improvements include simplifying our processes to enable more self-serve options.

What we're working on

  • Applying online – Apply online for our most popular home improvement projects such as decks, basements and garages this Winter, using myID.
    Benefit – Save time and money avoiding travelling to City Hall to apply in person at our counter.
  • Inspection app - Coordinate your home improvement inspections using our 311 app, and receive a email confirmation of your bookings this Winter.
    Benefit – Customers no longer need to contact 311 by phone, and emails confirmations remind you of what inspections are booked.
  • Home sales & Real Property Reports – Submit your Real Property Report online and upload required documentation this Winter, using myID.
    Benefit - Homeowners no longer need to visit City Hall and apply in person.
  • Website improvements – Our sites calgary.ca/myhome and our home improvement hub will be further enhanced this Winter to include the addition of Land Use Bylaw and Alberta Building Code for each improvement project.
    Benefit – Information is easier to locate and understand both from a land-use and building safety perspective.

What we've completed

Single application for all home improvement projects

We’ve made life easier for homeowners interested in starting a home improvement project that requires a permit. A new simple and straightforward application process was introduced Oct 5, 2017 that consolidates 51 home improvement application types into a single form. The new approach cuts red tape and takes the guessing game out of permitting requirements for homeowners. Homeowners no longer need to determine when a building, development or homeowner permit is required, as The City will coordinate these needs on their behalf.

Existing r​elaxation process

Homeowners, real estate agents and lawyers work together to ensure a smooth home sale transaction, but sometimes an existing structure on the property (such as a deck, shed or air conditioning unit) fails to meet the rules of the Land Use Bylaw​. The City is changing some of its application requirements that have simplified the process for homeowners to save them time and money.

  • Homeowners no longer need to provide a copy of their Land Title as part of these applications
  • Often for applications of this nature, photos of the existing structures can be provided digitally, eliminating a trip to our counter to provide printed copies
  • Simplifying the process for 1,500 applications per year

Seconda​ry suites

In February 2017, Council approved the development permit (DP) exemption for secondary suites to continue indefinitely. Properties that meet the Land Use Bylaw requirements for a permitted use secondary suite can skip the DP process and proceed directly to the building permit application. This saves an estimated $2,000 in costs and what would normally take 30 days for the DP process is now a 30-minute bylaw review on the spot, making it faster and easier to apply for a secondary suite.

Business customers

We're working on making it easier to start or make changes to a business in Calgary by improving the information we provide customers and enhancing our processes.

What we're working on

  • Applying online - By July, approximately 35,000 Calgary businesses will be able to apply for business licences (including renewals) and development permits online.
    Benefit – Save time and money avoiding travelling to City Hall to apply in person at our counter.​

What we've completed

Ch​ange of use

Starting on May 15, 2017, we’re streamlining our application process for a change of use to improve timelines and create more certainty for business owners.

  • In some cases, ownership changes can now be applied for over the phone and instantly approved.
  • We’re eliminating the need for a site plan or floor plan.
  • All information can be submitted in one form, instead of in multiple documents and plans.
  • An average business owner saves two to three weeks in preparation time.

Developme​nt permits for events

In 2017, we made it easier for event organizers by allowing a development permit approval for an event to last for three years if this criteria met:

  • At least three consecutive years of approved development permits for Special Function Class 2 events.
  • No major changes to the layout of a special function event as shown on the previously approved plans.
    • Major changes like adding new tents or increasing the size of the special event area would be considered through a new development permit review.
    • Minor changes like moving a tent, reducing the number of tents or moving a smoking area because of complaints from last year would not impact the overall event and would likely be approved for a three-year development permit.
  • No appeals filed with the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) for three consecutive years.

Communities

We're focused on achieving the corporate goals of the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan through policy development, and application reviews and approvals. Our work is customer-focused and we pride ourselves on our interactions with our partners, stakeholders and the people who call Calgary home. We are aiming high and growing smart to make Calgary a place where people love to live, work and play.

Development information online - calgary.ca/development

  • Citizens can now learn more about applications to redesignate (rezone) a land use, or develop a site in their community 24/7 by visiting our Planning & Development Map​.
  • We’ve recently updated the site to include all development application types. Learn about an application and its status, share it and provide online feedback.

Notice improvements

  • Calgarians are often interested in learning more about applications to redesignate (rezone) a land use, or develop a site in their community.We've heard citizen concerns with our Notice, or the sign that appears onsite, and we've made improvements. We're piloting a new version of our Notice Posting sign that informs Calgarians about proposed land use changes or development applications. To learn more about our Notice Posting sign please visit calgary.ca/noticeposting.

Helping volunteers (community association, sports groups and social recreation) develop sites

Building and development industry

The City and Development Industry have collaborated to enhance accountability, make improvements, provide opportunities for feedback and set the direction for future work.

As a part of the Industry City Work plan, The Continuous Process Improvement Project (CPI) is looking to improve existing processes and communication across the Approvals Continuum. The City wants to ensure customers have consistency and certainty throughout the application process.

Online Directory for applicants

As a way to provide applicants transparency throughout the approvals process, The CPAG directory​ was created to give applicants direct access to City staff to ask questions or voice concerns.

Customized Timelines for complex applications

As a part of the Continuous Process Improvement project, in March, 2017, The City launched Customized Timelines for complex applications. A customized timeline is developed collaboratively with The City and the applicant and provides the process milestones and timing. To enhance certainty, Customized Timelines will help The City report application metrics more accurately. If applicants are looking for more information about customized timeline, they can contact their file manager for more information.

Development Commencement Extensions

On April 12, 2017 the Land Use Bylaw was amended to extend development commencement deadlines from a maximum of four or five years to a maximum of six or seven years and provide potential for two year extensions instead of the current one year.

This amendment will give applicants flexibility for longer time periods prior to construction, due to unforeseen circumstances – such as third party approvals or the economic downturn and facilitate a quick response by builders to improved market conditions. This amendment will also reduce significant delays, costs and uncertainty associated with development permit expiry and re-submission.

Development Commencement Extensions will provide a balance of certainty for applicants and stakeholders, while providing more flexibility in the amount of time between the Development Permit (DP) approval and the commencement of construction.

Saving time and money with online permits

Our Residential ePermit system allows registered business customers to apply and pay for building and development permits, track projects and manage inspections online. Application types available include single and semi-detached homes, secondary and backyard suites, home improvement projects and more. In June 2017, we’re adding residential demolition permits to the system.

Advantages:

  • Apply 24/7
  • Book inspections easily; no need to call 311
  • Instant correspondence; emails are sent out each stage
  • No finding or paying for downtown parking or standing in line
  • No printing multiple copies of drawings

Providing timeline certainty and transparency with online metrics

As a developer, we know you need some certainty in terms timelines to help run your business. To that end, The City has launched regular updated online metrics on nine application review processes, providing you with both target and actual timelines.

Save time searching for Direct Control Districts

There is a specific set of uses and rules for each of the numerous Direct Control (DC) Districts in the city. Each DC has its own bylaw number (or resolution number prior to 1980) which identifies the uses and rules that apply to the DC.

It is now easier to find a Direct Control District with our new search function.

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