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Development next to Freight Rail Corridors

The City of Calgary is developing a policy to guide development next to freight rail corridors (such as CN and CP train lines – this does not include LRT lines). The purpose of the Development next to Rail Corridor Policy is to manage the risk of development in these areas and ensure a high quality of life and facilitate responsible development. This policy advances the vision of the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) by ensuring that development and redevelopment of land adjacent to freight rail corridors is realized.

This policy will apply to parcels adjacent to freight rail corridors. Adjacent parcels means parcels that are partially or entirely within 30 metres of the freight rail corridor property line. This area is called Rail Proximity Envelope.

Until the rail policy is considered by Council, all applications that fall wholly or partially within the Rail Proximity Envelope will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and will be guided by the Development in Proximity to Rail – Interim Approach.

Proposed Changes

This policy guides and evaluates new and redevelopment applications from physical risk, noise and vibration perspective.

  • This policy applies to parcels adjacent to freight rail corridors. Adjacent parcels means parcels that are partially or entirely within 30 metres of the freight rail corridor property line. This area is called Rail Proximity Envelope.
  • This policy does not apply retroactively to existing structures. Only in the event of redevelopment or new construction within the rail proximity envelope would the policy be applied.
  • The policy does not apply to development outside the rail proximity envelope.
  • The policy applies to new development located within the rail proximity envelope. It does not prohibit development in that space, but requires additional consideration for mitigating the possible risk.

Policy Information Sessions

Public information sessions were hosted about the policy throughout the month of February 2018. Please find a copy of the boards presented to the public.

What to expect as an applicant

Applications in the rail proximity zone are assessed as follows:

  • Residential redevelopment must be supported by a risk assessment.
  • In new communities, a 30 metre setback from the freight railway corridor is required.
  • Commercial applications may require a risk assessment, at the discretion of The City.
  • Noise and vibration studies are required for residential and sensitive use applications.

Sensitive uses in the rail proximity zone

A sensitive use is a land use that includes occupants who may be confined or less able to help themselves in an emergency, such as children, seniors or people with disabilities. These occupants are typically more susceptible to noise and vibration impacts caused by freight rail operations.

Sensitive uses require additional planning and possible design considerations when adjoining a freight rail cooridor or located within the rail proximity zone.

  • Development applications containing the following uses must be supported by a risk assessment and noise and vibration study:
    • Addiction treatment
    • Assisted living
    • Custodial care
    • Emergency shelter
    • Temporary shelter
  • The following uses must only be considered contingent on completing a risk assessment, noise and vibration studies and consideration of site:
    • School - private
    • School authority - school
    • Child care services
    • Home-based child care - class 2
  • The following uses will not be supported:
    • Hospital
    • Jail
    • Residential care (non-ambulatory)

    Timeline

    2018: July 23

    Report to Council

    2018: April 30

    Report to Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development

    2018: January - February

    Public information sessions to inform the public of the proposed policy

    2017: September - December

    Development of policy based on risk assessment data and other best practices

    2017: March - September

    Development of the Baseline Risk Assessment

    2017: March 20

    Regular Council meeting Consent agenda (Item 6.2)

    2017: March 8

    Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development – update on the current approach and baseline risk assessment work
    Committee report and video (item 3.3)

    2016: June 20

    Regular Council meeting
    Council agenda and video (Item 5.13)

    2016: June 8

    Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development - current approach and terms of reference presentation
    Committee report and video (Item 4.2)

    2016: March

    Strategic session of Council
    Council report and video (Item 4.1.3)

    2015: July 27 and December 18

    In-camera session with Council
    December 18 Council agenda and video (Item 6.1)

    Contact us

    For additional questions about applications within the rail proximity zone, please contact:

    Cliff De Jong, Senior Special Projects Officer
    Planning & Development
    cliff.dejong@calgary.ca
    403-268-5232

    Abdul Jaffari, Planner
    Planning Development
    abdul.jaffari@calgary.ca
    403-268-8976

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