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Outline Plan

Outline Plans show the detailed scheme of subdivision (not including the layout of specific lots) for the whole area with all of the land uses and provides a means for the resolution of all complex land use, open space, servicing, and transportation issues.

The advantage to the development industry is that while the Outline Plan may initially be a time-consuming process, subsequent subdivision applications for later individual phases can be approved in a quick and efficient manner.

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What is an Outline Plan?


Outline Plan is the process of proposing subdivision plans that show the block patterns, the hierarchy of roadways, and distribution of open space in a new area. They are usually processed together with land use amendments, to ensure a workable distribution of land uses, open space, and road networks. The Outline Plan does not show individual lots and dimensions.

An Outline Plan is not a statutory plan. It is a form of plan established by the City of Calgary to bridge the process between high level policy documents (e.g. area structure plans) and the planning applications that follow (e.g. subdivision, land use designation and development permit).

Who submits Outline Plans?


Outline Plans are typically submitted by landowners and developers who are developing land that may require road dedication, public infrastructure, reserve land, and the creation of lots that will be subdivided in the future.

When is an Outline Plan required?


Outline Plans are typically required where any of the following apply:

  • When subdivision of a parcel of land +/- 0.8 hectares (2 acres) in size or greater is proposed.
  • Includes a parcel of land with outstanding municipal or environmental reserves which may be provided through land dedication or cash in lieu.
  • Includes the need for a public roadway.
  • Includes a complex subdivision application (large land area with intent to create multiple new parcels of land and numerous infrastructure development conditions) which would be aided by a planning and infrastructure approval framework.
  • Council or policy direction for preparation of an Outline Plan has been established.

Know the approved policy documents that apply to the property


An Outline Plan must be consistent with any approved policy documents that have been approved by City Council for the area, unless a concurrent application is made to amend the relevant policy document(s). Proposed policy amendments are subject to a decision by Council at the same time as the land use amendment. The Growth Management Overlay is identified in the applicable policy document.

With a growth management overlay


Only applications where a growth management overlay is in place in whole or in part at time of submission will be subject to the Combined Land Use application fee schedule and charged based on a cost recovery system. Refer to the fee schedule for an explanation of how the fee is calculated.

No growth management overlay


Where no growth management overlay is in place in whole or in part at time of submission, Outline Plan and land use amendment applications will use the Subdivision fee schedule and the Land use amendment fee schedule. Cost recovery will not be in place for these files.

Know the land use districts for the parcel and the proposed use for development


Check the existing land use district for the parcel, to ensure that the proposed use is a listed permitted or discretionary use in the Land Use Bylaw. If your proposed development is not a listed use, a land use redesignation may be required prior to subdividing your property, or the application will be rejected.

Who makes decisions on Outline Plans?


The Development Applications Review Team (DART) reviews and presents Outline Plan recommendations to the Calgary Planning Commission (CPC), who makes the final decision on Outline Plans. Once approved by the Calgary Planning Commission, an Outline Plan forms the basic concept for the subsequent subdivisions. If a land use amendment is included, which is nearly always the case, the land use amendment moves on to Council for a decision. As an Outline Plan is non-statutory, there is no appeal of a decision on an Outline Plan.

What does an Outline Plan cost?


Where no growth management overlay is in place in whole or in part at time of submission, Outline Plan and land use amendment applications will use the Subdivision fee schedule and the Land use amendment fee schedule. Cost recovery will not be in place for these files.

How long will an Outline Plan take?


Processing times for Outline Plans can vary. The process can take 12 months or more from application submission to decision by the Calgary Planning Commission (CPC), depending on complexity. All Outline Plans are considered “major complexity files” and are required to use the custom timeline. The custom timeline is a project timeline tool, one that is created collaboratively by the file manager, the DART team, the customer, and their consultants.

What requires an amendment to an Outline Plan?


If any of the criteria below are met, an application for a revised Outline Plan, instead of a major non-conforming tentative plan, should be considered.

  • Does the non-conforming subdivision still follow the intent of the originally approved Outline Plan? For example, do the community design changes warrant a broader review through file management by a City planner and subsequent Calgary Planning Commission decision that could be accomplished through a revised Outline Plan?
  • Are significant new land use redesignation approvals required to align with the proposed Outline Plan?
  • Is a policy plan amendment necessary to support the proposed changes?
  • Do the changes proposed involve a multi-phased subdivision where certainty of conditions of approval established through the Outline Plan process could be beneficial?

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Development Approvals Review Team (DART)

Find Development Approvals Review Team staff to contact about specific applications.