What changes are we recommending?

NOTIFICATION

A public hearing on planning matters will be held on October 4, and our recommendations will go in front of City Council. For more information go to the Planning Matters website.

Changes to Residential – Ground Oriented district (R-CG and R-CGex). You may want to know what properties in Calgary are currently zoned for R-CG. We’ve compiled a citywide map and list of addresses for your information. Want a simpler way to see what district a property is zoned for? The Land Use District search page can help to look up specific addresses. 

More information on changes to this district is found here.

For the past few years, many people have looked for ways to build rowhouses, townhouses, fourplexes, etc. on their property. To be able to do so, they have asked Council to approve special rules for their property – this is called a direct control district. Most of these special requests have been approved by Council.

This approach results in slightly different rules for everybody, which is confusing. Our recommendation addresses the concerns expressed by neighbours for better clarity and consistency in these types of homes when they’re built in the community.

These changes add flexibility to how different homes can be designed on a parcel.

The change does not:

  • pre-approve development
  • increase the number of homes that are allowed
  • decrease the ability to make comments on future development applications

Our recommendation addresses the regulatory gap that inhibits more diversity of homes in Calgary’s housing market. They include a new district called Housing – Grade-Oriented (H-GO), and changes to the Residential – Grade-Oriented (R-CG) and the general rules for Multi-Residential districts.

Our holistic approach to these amendments create the best outcome to address Council’s objectives and encourage successful redevelopment. Below is a preview of our recommendation:

Recommendation #1


The New Housing – Grade Oriented (H-GO) Land Use District

What: A new district will add the option of higher intensity redevelopment than that of R-CG, but still maintain direct ground-level access for all homes (i.e. no apartment/condo forms).

Where: Only appropriate close to a Main Street or transit service in the inner-city.  The Land Use Decision Process shows how approvals for H-GO will be made.

Rules:

  • Maximum Height: 12m or 3 storeys
  • Maximum Density: 1.5 Floor Area Ratio
  • Maximum Parcel Coverage: 60% 
  • Minimum Parking Required: 0.375 stalls per Unit and Suite

More Information

  • A landscape plan is required. The Landscape Design Guide for Small Residential Sites has been created to set expectations and complements the landscaping regulations of the new district and R-CG. 
  • If there are two buildings, there must be a minimum of 6.5 metres between the front and rear units, ensuring a sufficient open space for activities and landscaping. 
  • Permitted uses: Dwelling Units are proposed as permitted uses to ensure that homes are able to be built as long as they meet the rules of the district 
  • Parking: 0.375 parking stalls per unit and suite.
  • Storage units: storage units will be required for all dwelling units that do not have access to a garage or parking stall, for things like bikes and scooters. 
  • Waste and Recycling storage: lower parking requirements makes room for waste and recycling bins to be stored on site for all units.

Recommendation #2


Improvements to Residential - Grade-Oriented (R-CG) Land Use District

R-CG is a low-density district that works well on corner lots, and we have seen successful rowhouse developments from it. Council, administration and the development industry see the need for functional changes to R-CG district to enable redevelopment beyond corner lots, known as mid-block parcels. Adding Townhouse as a discretionary land use, and changing how units can be arranged enables flexibility to realize the redevelopment potential for mid-block.

What: A district that currently works well only on corner parcels for rowhouse development. This improvement allows R-CG to be useful on a variety of parcel types.

Where: There are a number of R-CG parcels in existence, concentrated around the Bowness/Montgomery Main Street, the 17th Ave NE Main Street, and the Westbrook and Banff Trail LRT Stations. All redesignation applications are decided by Council on a case-by-case basis.

Rules:

  • Maximum Height: Unchanged at 11m or 3 storeys.
  • Maximum Density: Unchanged at 75 Units per Hectare.
  • Maximum Parcel Coverage: Unchanged at 60%.
  • Minimum Parking Required: 0.375 stalls per Unit and Suite.

No changes to the maximum number of units or height rules

There are a number of parcels that are already designated as R-CG and can be successfully used in most low-density areas. Although we are adding flexibility to how units can be arranged, we are not changing the number of units or maximum height rules. An R-CG parcel would still have a maximum of four units, with the potential for each unit to have a secondary suite.

Changes to built-form rules but lot coverage remains the same

Currently, dwelling units can’t be built at the rear of a parcel, which limits the ability to build four units on a mid-block lot. Changes to the rules would allow rear units to be built. However, when units are built on the rear half of the parcel, the maximum height is lowered to 8.6 metres tall.

To ensure that a courtyard between the residential buildings is adequate to provide common amenity space and landscaping, and fits in with the neighboring home, the minimum width of the courtyard is set to 6.5m.

Change to allow the Townhouse use

One key change is adding townhouses as a discretionary use to this district. Discretionary use means it’s a building or structure that may be allowed through the Development Permit process, but it’s not guaranteed to be approved. A file manager must review and consider the proposal and how it can appropriately fit on the street and relative to neighbouring properties. The public will have the ability to make comments about a development proposal by submitting through the Development Map

Recommendation #3


Amendments to Multi-Residential Districts

The Multi-Residential districts are for applications where the number of units is greater than what’s allowed in the R-CG district. Antiquated parking rules and use definitions make it hard for redevelopment to occur on parcels already designated as a Multi-Residential district. This has caused an increased number of direct control districts in recent years.  As a result, administration will be recommending changes to the parking requirements and some technical definitions. 

Recommendation #4


Simplify and Reduce Minimum Parking Requirements

What: The Land Use Bylaw calculates parking in different ways with different requirements in different districts. This has led to many Direct Control applications asking to use parking requirements of the Mixed Use districts.  We’re proposing to change the parking requirements of all multi-residential districts and R-CG to be in line with the Mixed Use districts in the bylaw.

Why: To allow for more housing options in multi-residential districts. This will reduce the use of Direct Controls and redesignation applications. High minimum parking requirements have also been shown to increase road congestion, housing costs, greenhouse gas emissions, local air pollution and negative health effects.

The new parking requirement is proposed to be 0.375 parking stalls for every Unit and Suite.

Below are some massing diagrams that highlight what can be built under the proposed changes to H-GO and R-CG districts.  

Development examples


Housing – Grade-Oriented (H-GO)

This example shows possible building and parcel configurations with the proposed Housing – Grade-Oriented (H-GO) District. This is not a development that would be allowed in R-CG.

  • 6 units, 4 stacked, and 2 side-by-side with suites.
  • Maximum height of the rear building is the same the height maximum in the district (12 metres).
  • The courtyard between the buildings is a minimum of 6.5 metres wide.
  • Space for waste and recycling bins next to parking area.
  • 3 required parking stalls.
  • 3 required mobility storage spaces.
  • 2 required enclosed and sheltered bike stalls.

R-CG District

This example shows possible building and parcel configuration with the proposed amendments to R-CG.

  • 2 units in the front, 2 units at the rear of the parcel, with each unit having a secondary suite.
  • Height restriction to 8.6 metres for the rear units.
  • Requirements for the courtyard space between the front units and the rear units at 6.5m.
  • 3 required parking stalls.
  • 3 required mobility storage spaces.
  • 2 required enclosed and sheltered bike stalls.

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. ​