April 2018 Newsletter
Hello Ward 14!
I have been using this new newsletter format for months now. I write a short summary of what I intended to write about in the online version. That is what you are reading now, so I can safely assume that you have got the gist.
Not only does this system allow me to go into more detail than in the print version, but it has another benefit too. To get this column in the April edition of your local newsletter I must submit it prior to March 1st. That can hamper my ability to keep things current. With a little foresight the new format can solve that problem, and I am going to apply that solution to update you on the status of secondary suites.
Update: Changes to Secondary Suite Approval Process
I wrote about this in my March column. In it I mentioned that on March 12, Council would vote on BIG changes that might come regarding the way it deals with secondary suite applications. At the time of writing it I didn't know what the outcome would be, but I do now...
Officially, Council approved amendments to the Land Use Bylaw that allows secondary suites as discretionary use within R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L land use districts. When Council spends a full day on one item, with dozens of presenters, and numerous amendments the meeting minutes can be a bit confusing, but the above change essentially passed with a 9-6 vote in favour. Mayor Nenshi, and Councillors Carra, Chahal, Colley-Urquhart, Davison, Farrell, Gondek, Keating, and Woolley voted for. Councillors Sutherland, Magliocca, Chu, Jones, Farkas, and Demong (that's me) voted against.
In planning speak that means a property owner no longer needs to go to City Council for a land use change in order to be approved for a secondary suite on their land. They can go straight to a development permit application in the affected R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L land use districts. To the rest of us it means that the decision will now lay with the City's planners who take into account the Land Use Bylaw, the Alberta Building Code, and feedback from neighbours, community associations, and other affected individuals and organizations. The development permit fee for all new secondary suite applications is being waived until June 1, 2020.
Obviously this is not the decision I was hoping for, but it is the will of Council. I have never been in favour of this type of retroactive blanket zoning. In fact, one of my first motions as a Councillor was to PROACTIVELY change land use for secondary suites in R-1 districts so people would know what they were buying.
But there were two minor wins that came out of the March 12 meeting. First, backyard suites (ones that are not in the main dwelling unit on the property) will not be approved until Council has approved standards to be brought forth by administration. Second, all suites must be entered into a registry showing that they are approved, and hopefully dissuading people from renting unapproved/unsafe suites.
Important engagement opportunity: One Calgary
"Calgary: A Great Place to Make a Living, a Great Place to Make a Life" Have you ever heard me say that phrase? I do occasionally. It is our vision statement at the City of Calgary, and every four years we undergo strategic planning in order to achieve that vision. The City is calling it "OneCalgary".
We are currently developing service plans and budgets for 2019 through 2022. Public transit, streets, parks, and many other things will be evaluated and prioritized. Each of The City's 62 services will have a service plan and budget that will include information on: customers, partners, value, contribution to quality of life, benchmarks, performance measures, service strategies, operating budget and capital budget programs and projects. Over the next ten months, there will be several opportunities for Calgarians to get involved including: providing feedback online in April, public submissions at Standing Policy Committees in September, and public submission during Council deliberations.
You have until April 22 to give your feedback online, and I hope you do so. All you have to do is visit calgary.ca/yourservices. It should only take five minutes or so.
Of course I would also like to form my decisions with your thoughts, so please do not hesitate to contact me with them. I will do my best to keep you updated on this whole "OneCalgary" process.
Street Sweeping Program
There are some topics that fall under the 'annual' category, and this is definitely one. The City sweeps over 16,000 lane kilometres of paved roads, and it can be made a lot easier if everyone does one simple thing: moves their cars! If you don't you can be ticketed and towed.
You will know when to move your car by the signs that will be placed on your street 12 hours before sweeping begins. You will be able to look up the schedule at calgary.ca/sweep, and also sign up to be notified by email 24 hours before your street is scheduled for cleaning.
I can't tell you many how many complaints I get about people whose street was not cleaned because of an unmoved car. Please be a good neighbour, and save yourself a whole lot of hassle by moving your car when it is time.
Finally, I have a new link that I hope will make it easier to remember how to contact me. It is calgary.ca/contactward14. I hope you like the new newsletter format. Feel free to contact me anytime.
- Councillor Peter Demong