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Development in proximity to rail


Development of land in proximity to the railway corridor is important to The City of Calgary. Currently, we are working with the development industry and rail company stakeholders, to establish a policy to guide development approvals for lands adjacent to freight railway corridors. The policy will take into account safety for building occupants and citizens, protect buildings and facilitate emergency response to incidents.

The rail proximity zone is the portion of a parcel(s) within 30 metres of a freight rail corridor property line.

Until the rail policy is developed, all applications in the rail proximity zone will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and will be guided by the Development in Proximity to Rail – Interim Approach.

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)


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

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

Cliff De Jong, Coordinator Strategic Initiatives
Planning & Development