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Planning, Development & Assessment (PDA)

What we do

Our work in Planning, Development & Assessment (PDA) Department is responsible for defining and implementing the growth of the city. We do this through:

  • land use policy planning,
  • development and building applications
  • annual property and business assessment processes,
  • the Growth Management Framework,
  • business licensing, and
  • regional planning

Strategic Direction

In PDA we have a number of forward-thinking, future-focused, and outcome-based projects and initiatives. These have been collectively packaged as ‘nextCITY’. With nextCITY PDA is aiming high and growing smart.

Calgary is a city of tremendous opportunity and finds itself at a critical juncture in its’ progress. How we plan now and the decisions we make will shape the future of Calgary.

2012 – 2013 Accomplishments

  • The supply of planned and serviced land was monitored and incorporated into, planning and growth management decisions.
  • The Mayor’s Office credited Development & Building Approvals (DBA) with 98% of all Cut Red Tape dollar savings to citizens and the corporation, for a total of 1.1 million dollars to date. “Red tape” reduction initiatives include annual savings of over 26,000 hours in customer time and over 6,000 hours of employee time.
  • Partnering with the construction industry, a Practical Guide to Construction Sites in Calgary and the On Site Construction Safety Best Practice Guide was created, to educate industry and the public on roles, responsibilities and legislation governing construction and demolition.
  • Public Protection Site Safety Plans (PPSSP) are now required for construction, demolition and major alterations of façade on buildings five storeys or greater.
  • An implementation plan for the consolidation of business tax with the non-residential property tax was developed that will be implemented over the next 7-years.
  • The number of web tools and online resources was expanded, allowing property and business owners to access and review current year assessment information.

Improving how we deliver services

  • Two developer-funded Area Structure Plans (ASP) were piloted commencing in 2013. These pilots are providing a framework to create a shorter, more streamlined ASP and a process to provide Council control over when and where new development will occur in new ASPs.
  • Our commitment to continuous improvement included reviews of business processes, business technology planning and business technology tools. Some of these initiatives include the following:
  • Electronic submission of subdivision construction drawings (eCD) has replaced the manual process of circulating, managing and approving hard copies. This has decreased the circulation process on applications by up to 50 per cent.
  • Implementation of ePermit allows business users to submit online application and drawings for single construction permits, as well as combined development and building permits in developing areas. The first ePermit was issued in 9 days versus the previous median average of 13 days.

Flood 2013

PDA staff helped get citizens back into their homes quickly and safely. 18,000 safety inspections on more than 8,200 buildings in the evacuation zones were completed. More than 10,000 flood assessments were completed in week following the June flood.

Flood related data was gathered to help determine what affect the flood had on 2014 property assessments.


Total Gross Budget 2014 - $111.8

Tax-Supported Net Operating Budget 2013-2014 - $36.3M


PDA Operating Budget 


Capital Budget - $12M


PDA Capital Budget 


What services do we provide?

Land Use Planning & Policy (LUPP)

  • We work with communities and citizens through community planning committees and engagement processes, like imagineCalgary and Plan It Calgary, to determine what people want short and long term for their communities and the city.
  • We develop plans and policies, like the Municipal Development Plan, to guide development in new areas and redevelopment in established communities making the best use of space and land.
  • We work with landowners who want to change the use of land they own. We work with affected neighbours to help them understand the changes that are being proposed and ensure they have an opportunity to provide input.
  • We identify, protect and manage places of historical significance, like Reader Rock Garden and Stephen Avenue, to maintain our heritage and enhance the character of our communities
  • We monitor and forecast changes in Calgary’s population and jobs. Shifts in gender, race, age, income and employment help us determine what the current and future needs will be for services.
  • We have a plan to continually improve our Centre City and coordinate other city services for more than 6,000 businesses and 34,000 residents.

DID YOU KNOW? In 2013, Calgary’s developed areas population grew by almost 10,000, marking the sixth year in eight that developed areas have grown.

Development and Building Approvals (DBA)

  • We take Council’s priorities and policies into appropriate recommendations for land use, development and new community design. We provide the link between what is decided at City Council and how it is implemented with builders and designers. In 2013 we negotiated 36 development agreements for 251 hectares of land.
  • We work on development permits for new construction or changing the use of your building.
  • We issued 19,000 building permits in 2013, totalling $6.1 billion (up 35 percent from 2012.) The Building Permits unit also looks at changes or additions to electrical, mechanical, plumbing and gas in buildings. If you operate a business either out of your home or a commercial location, you should visit us.
  • We help you get the permits and licences you need. Our Customer Advisory Services are a single point of contact for transactions and we served 200,000 people in person and by phone in 2013.

DID YOU KNOW? Development and building approval processes are primarily funded through user fees, not through contributions from tax dollars.


  • We assess all Calgary properties and businesses to ensure The City of Calgary is able to rely on the revenue stream generated by the assessment and taxation process. Each year, Assessment conducts property and business assessments on over 500,000 accounts.
  • We communicate assessments and relevant information to all assessed persons and/or their representatives. In 2013 we responded to over 18,000 customer inquiries and received more than 440,000 visits to our website.
  • We maintain an inventory of data on all properties and business occupancies and throughout the year, validate sales, prepare supplementary assessments, and make account changes as needed.

DID YOU KNOW? The Assessment process takes place independently of The City’s budget and tax calculations to ensure assessments are fair and equitable.