New Community Growth in Calgary

Creating great communities for everyone New Community Growth in Calgary

Our newest communities need to be successful now and decades from now. That success relies on developers and The City working together to realize the vision of the Municipal Development Plan. The Citywide Growth Strategy: New Communities supports strategic growth in new communities by aligning planning policy, market demand, servicing needs and City budgets.

Program Update - June 26, 2022

Administration has concluded the evaluation of  the 19 business cases for 2022 and has presented Council Committee with a portfolio of business cases for consideration in 2023-2026, including related investments in infrastructure. The discussion on the Citywide Growth Strategy report will continue at the Combined Council meeting on Tuesday, June 26 at 9:30 am.  View the meeting agenda and view the reports here.  The report is item 7.2.

Watch the meeting live at  at Calgary.ca/WatchLive.

Contact Us

Desmond Bliek
Senior Growth Management Planner
Growth & Strategic Services
Planning & Development
(403) 268-2918
Desmond.Bliek@calgary.ca

2022 Business Case Evaluation


The business case evaluation process (and associated Growth Management Overlay status) are tools used by The City to ensure that land use approvals in New Communities align with investment decisions that support strategic citywide growth. Evaluation criteria are focused on the following well established growth planning factors:

Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and Calgary Transportation Plan (CTP) Alignment

Alignment with The City’s long-term policies is important to ensure that growth decisions help realize the future city that is envisioned. The evaluation of new growth is done at two levels for this purpose. First, individual business cases are evaluated against policy to ensure they are proposing communities that meet the required standards. Secondly, a comprehensive look at new community and citywide growth is done in order that an appropriate balance of growth is recommended to help realize the goals of developed/developing areas population growth split, and a reasonable citywide supply of new community growth is available across sectors.  The review also considers the comprehensive impacts of the collective set of proposals on The City’s objectives in terms of creating complete communities, managing financial risk and obligations, and balancing investments to support growth in established areas, previously approved new communities, and proposed new communities.  

Market Demand

Supply and demand is an important component as it influences housing availability and affordability. It is important to keep a longer-term view on housing supply in order that growth can be enabled without an interruption of the market or pace of development, but not so much that growth is dispersed so broadly that it becomes inefficient to service and slows the progression to complete communities. It is notable that new community growth takes approximately two to three years to realize homes following this stage of approval.  Supporting the development of areas that already have growth approvals and are further towards having homes ready for occupancy remains a priority. Accelerated build out of previously approved communities remains the best way to meet current demand and to achieve the critical mass of development that supports efficiency and amenities.

Financial Impact

This factor is key to evaluating the financial capacity of The City to meet its ongoing funding obligations to approved growth areas and consider the capacity for any new growth. This factor also considers the broader economic impact of new community growth, including the job creation and private investment that follows after approval. The new communities previously approved by Council require commitments through multiple budget cycles, and these commitments are significant when considering any new approvals.

Balanced, timely and feasible growth investment is key to realizing the Calgary that long term policy envisions, while protecting the city’s financial sustainability. Thinking about growth decisions is more than just an approvals decision, it is The City acting as an investor in future growth.

Timeline

The business case evaluation is intended to be fair, consistent, and transparent. The City is committed to an open and collaborative approach with proponents throughout the review process.  The expected process timeline is:

Key dates Description

October 19, 2021

Criteria and direction for 2022 business cases proposals available

December 6, 2021

Business case submissions due

February 2022

Initial review of business cases completed

February/March 2022

City Administration and proponents review findings, opportunity for information clarification and adjustments

June 27 

City Administration brings forward a portfolio of business cases to Infrastructure and Planning Committee through the Citywide Growth Strategy report. This report is anticipated to be further considered at July 5 Council Meeting

Q4 2022

Final 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budget decisions expected from Council

Details

Business cases are now under review to provide sufficient time to complete the evaluation alongside the 2023-2026 service plan and budget cycle process. An integrated Citywide Growth Strategy will be brought forward in 2022 recommending a balanced growth portfolio with investments in established areas, industrial areas and new community areas. The next opportunity is expected to be late 2023, under the current schedule and process.

If new community business cases are ultimately approved by Council through this process, Administration will bring forward Area Structure Plan amendments to remove the Growth Management Overlays for the respective business cases to a Public Hearing of Council. The anticipated public hearing date is expected to closely follow the November 2022 budget decisions, allowing sufficient circulation time and advertising notice.

Removing a Growth Management Overlay allows the landowner to take the next steps towards realizing the development of their community, including stripping and grading, land use redesignation, subdivision, and construction. It also requires that The City will provide the leading services that support the initiation of development of that new community.  This mechanism ensures that investment and development approvals decisions are strategically aligned. 

Climate

Per direction from Council, the 2022 business case evaluations have included new tools for understanding and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and climate-risk. This analysis, prepared by City Administration, is provided for informational and supplementary purposes only, and is not part of the formal climate-related decision-making criteria that Administration used to determine a portfolio of business cases for Growth Management Overlay removals in 2023-2026. 

Subject to Council decision on the portfolio, this information may be used to inform decision-making at subsequent phases of the development review and approval process (e.g. Outline Plans and Development Permits).

Click on the following links to find 1) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Profiles for each business case, 2) Summary and analysis of the Climate Risk Statements and Natural Assets Valuation forms submitted by individual proponents (‘Climate Adaptation Summary and Analysis’).

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Profiles 

Climate Adaptation Summary and Analysis

About the Strategy


The Citywide Growth Strategy focuses on how to enable strategic, sustainable growth and development and retain investment and jobs in Calgary. The strategy consists of three components, focusing on Calgary’s New Communities, Established Areas, and Industrial Areas. Funding considerations for new community business cases are considered on a two year cycle in alignment with the beginning and mid-cycle of the four year budget timeframe.

Growth in new communities plays an important role in Calgary’s development. While the Municipal Development Plan sets targets for an increasing share of growth to occur through redevelopment in established communities, a substantial share will continue to be accommodated through new community development.

New communities are and will continue to be an important component of the city’s housing supply, supporting affordability and providing opportunities for a diverse range of housing options to continue to be accommodated within the city, generating direct and indirect employment through construction and over the longer term, and allowing Calgarians a variety of choices in terms of housing type and location.

Background and previous evaluations


Please see below information about New Community Growth Strategy recommendations in 2018 and 2020, as well as links to past Council reports.

2018 New Community Growth Strategy recommendations

In 2018, a new framework for strategic growth decision making in new community areas was created. Business cases for new growth areas were prepared by proponents, recommendations were brought forward by City staff, and decisions were made by Council. The result was an approved portfolio of investments for 14 new communities and 27 actively developing communities for inclusion in the One Calgary (2019-2022) service plan and budget. This represents an approximate $489 million investment in 2019-2022, and it set forward a path for strategic growth in these areas for the next 10-30 years. 

The 2018 process also introduced the three growth decision making factors; MDP/CTP Alignment, Market Demand and Financial Impact.

Since 2018, as the Citywide Growth Strategy has moved onto established areas and industrial areas, these three factors continue to be the foundational considerations for process and investment recommendations made to Council.

2020 New Community Growth Strategy recommendations

Council provided clarity on the process for the New Community Growth Strategy 2020 through the 2019 Growth Monitoring Report PFC2019-1062 (Item 7.12) in 2019 November.

Through this report, Council approved a modification to the established process of receiving business cases for new community growth from development proponents. These modification were meant to recognize The City of Calgary's current financial constraints.

As part of the modified process, proponents first submited proposals that demonstrate how their business case area will meet the following entrance criteria:

  1. No required capital costs from The City of Calgary to initiate development;
  2. No required operating costs in the current One Calgary (2019-2022) budget or the next (2023-2026) budget cycle, without a proposed mitigating solution, that does not include tax and utility rate increases using the existing model and any improvements made by the date of review;
  3. Completing areas of previously approved communities and leveraging capital investments already made in 2018 and prior years;
  4. Property tax generation potential; and
  5. Levy generation potential that funds new and established areas.

Full business cases were reviewed using this Evaluation Criteria. These criteria help to ensure that when a new community is approved, it is because it can move forward and grow into a great place for future residents and businesses to call home.

What was the outcome of the 2020 evaluation

The New Community Growth Strategy 2020 evaluation included the submission and review of 11 business cases for new community growth. Administration brought forward a recommendation to the Priorities and Finance Committee on Oct. 19, and debate and decisions occurred at the Nov. 2 Combined Meeting of Council.

Council did not approve any of the 11 business cases. Proponents will be invited to resubmit these applications during the next evaluation cycle, which is expected to be in 2022, ahead of the 2023-2026 service plan and budget cycle.

Council made several amendments to Administration’s recommendations, and also added a number of motions arising. They included encouraging developers in currently approved business cases to maximize development, to look at the potential of right-sizing some road standards in order to redirect savings to established communities, and to better integrate climate resilience considerations into the business case process. 

Location of proposed 2020 business cases

This map shows the location of actively developing communities that are expected to be completed within or beyond the next 8 years. The New Communities that were approved by Council in 2018 are also shown. The location of the additional 11 proposed 2020 business cases are identified.

Reports to Council

Reports to Council:

2022 Business Case submission resources

Frequently asked questions


Why do we need a New Community Growth Strategy?

We’re planning and building our city now and for the next 60 years, so it can thrive and prosper as we grow to 2 million people. It’s important we ensure our newest communities are successful during this growth. That success relies on the amenities and infrastructure that they require, from both developers and The City.

The New Community Growth Strategy also provides an opportunity for developers to showcase their proposed development, and demonstrate economic and social benefits.

The Strategy ensures The City can fully support and invest in these new communities, not just as they're being built in the short-term, but also once they are completed and established, for decades to come.

Why is the criteria important and how was the evaluation criteria developed?

Council has prioritized seeking growth opportunities that are aligned with the Citywide Growth Strategy and the Municipal Development Plan, in order to boost economic activity and city building efforts.

The evaluation criteria was developed by City Administration and has been reviewed each time with industry representatives to assess new business cases submitted by private developers, and is focused on the following well established growth planning factors:

  • Municipal Development Plan/Calgary Transportation Plan (MDP/CTP) Alignment
    • such as achieving more housing choices for where people can live and options for how people can move and travel in Calgary; and municipal investment in infrastructure
  • Market Demand
    • such as ensuring supply and demand are in balance so that new communities can quickly build to potential; that healthy choice and competition are present; that housing affordability is considered
  • Financial Impacts
    • such as considering the economic benefit of new development while also prudently managing The City`s finances and risk exposure

Why is Council approval required for new communities?

Council approval is required to amend an area structure plan (ASP).  An ASP is a long-range planning document which guides and directs the specific land use.  An amendment to remove the Growth Management Overlay is required to permit new growth.  Removing a Growth Management Overlay allows the landowner to take the next steps towards realizing the development of their community, including stripping and grading, land use redesignation, subdivision, and construction. It also requires that The City will provide the off-site services that support the development of that new community. 

Does The City monitor growth after a new community has been approved?

Administration brings forward to Council an annual growth monitoring report to provide Council and stakeholders an update on how growth in all areas of the city is progressing. The monitoring report provides Council with information to make informed decisions on citywide growth. Administration also monitors market conditions and growth capacity through the Suburban Residential Growth report.

What happens after Council approves a new community?

After Council approves a new community, a developer continues to proceed through the development approvals continuum and then begins stripping and grading and servicing of the development. Once utilities have been installed, building construction begins, ending with home owners taking occupancy of their new home.

The City will also begin to coordinate new community infrastructure and services, including planning and construction, timed to development and City budgets.

What was the outcome of the 2020 evaluation?

The New Community Growth Strategy 2020 evaluation included the submission and review of 11 business cases for new community growth. Administration brought forward a recommendation to the Priorities and Finance Committee on Oct. 19, and debate and decisions occurred at the Nov. 2 Combined Meeting of Council.

Council did not approve any of the 11 business cases. Proponents will be invited to resubmit these applications during the next evaluation cycle, which is expected to be in 2022, ahead of the 2023-2026 service plan and budget cycle.

Council made several amendments to Administration’s recommendations, and also added a number of motions arising. They included encouraging developers in currently approved business cases to maximize development, to look at the potential of right-sizing some road standards in order to redirect savings to established communities, and to better integrate climate resilience considerations into the business case process. 

Will there be future opportunities to submit business cases?

New community business cases will be considered on a two year cycle in alignment with the beginning and mid-cycle of the four year budget timeframe. Establishing a two year evaluation cycle provides certainty in process, with enough flexibility to meet market demand while allowing The City to consider financial impacts at budget time.

Business cases will be reviewed next in 2024, at the mid-cycle point of the 2023-2026 service plan and budget cycle.

What is the timeline for the 2022 evaluation cycle?

Below is a schedule of key dates for the 2022 evaluation cycle.

Key dates Description

October 19, 2021

Criteria and direction for 2022 business cases proposals available

December 6, 2021

Deadline for submission of business cases

February 2022

Review of business cases completed

February/March 2022

Administration and proponents review findings, opportunity for information clarification and adjustments

Q2-Q3 2022

Administration brings forward business case recommendations to Executive Committee

Q4 2022

Final decisions expected from Council



This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​