Zone In Issue #4
April 19, 2022
Welcome to the fourth edition of Zone In, Situate’s newsletter on what’s going on at Edmonton City Council public hearings on land development.
The next City Council public hearing is tomorrow, April 20. Read on for the summary of what’s coming up (and what Council approved at the last hearing on April 5).
THE ‘WHY’ BEHIND ZONE IN
What goes on at City Council public hearings is of interest to many of us, but we know that most people, most of the time, don’t have time to monitor public hearing agendas. For that reason, we created Zone In to make it easier to find out what’s going on at Council, and easier to show your support for good applications that may not otherwise get much love.
Our summaries focus on applications related to infill and urban redevelopment. Situate’s client files are highlighted in orange.
APRIL 5, 2022 PUBLIC HEARING RECAP
Let’s start with a recap. The three notable infill files at the April 5 public hearing were Item 3.9, Items 3.10 and 3.11 (dealt with together), and Item 3.12.
Item 3.9 was a rezoning application in Newton, submitted by Swiss 2 Go, to rezone from the RF3 (small scale infill development) zone to the CB1 (low intensity business) zone with the Main Streets Overlay (MSO). The CB1 zone allows for commercial uses on the site, and the potential for mixed use redevelopment. The item was passed unanimously by Council with no debate.
Item 3.10/3.11 was an application submitted by Situate on behalf of Campus Assets Inc. to rezone a site in Garneau on Whyte Avenue from the US (Urban Services) zone to the CB3 (Commercial Mixed Business) zone with the Main Streets Overlay (MSO). Campus Assets intends to build a mixed-use tower with commercial uses along Whyte Avenue and academic accommodations on the upper storeys.
The item was passed after about two hours of debate with a vote of 12 to 1. Together with the rezoning, this application also included a text amendment to the MSO to reduce the tower floor plate and increase the building height when the overlay applies to the CB3 zone. The debate centered on whether the notification provided by the City about this text amendment was sufficient. Councillor Michael Janz, the ward Councillor, voted against the application, citing a need in the neighbourhood for more family friendly housing.
Finally, Item 3.12 was a rezoning application in Grovenor on 148 Street, just north of Stony Plain Road (a primary corridor). The application was submitted by Invistec Consulting Ltd. on behalf of MJL Developments Ltd. to rezone from the RF3 (Small Scale Infill Development) zone to the RA7 (low rise apartment) zone, allowing for a four storey multi-unit housing building.
This application had previously been to public hearing on August 31, 2021—shortly before last fall’s election—and was referred back to Administration in order for “the applicant to engage with the residents of the Grovenor community and community league to discuss the community’s concerns.” The debate at the April 5 public hearing centered on whether there had been enough community engagement. The item ultimately passed with a vote of 10 to 3. Councillor Andrew Knack, the ward Councillor, voted in favour of the application.
APRIL 20, 2022 PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA OVERVIEW
The April 20 public hearing agenda is a big one, with a total of twenty items. One item is a road closure, two items pertain to industrial land, eleven items are in the developing area (new neighbourhoods), and six items are in the redeveloping area (mature neighbourhoods). One of the items in the redeveloping area is a DC2 to DC2 rezoning to allow for cannabis sales in Callingwood, and is not profiled below.
The notable infill files are Items 3.16 and 3.17 (to be dealt with together), Item 3.18, and Items 3.19 and 3.20 (to be dealt with together).
Item 3.16/3.17 is a rezoning application in Cloverdale on a 1,076 m2 site on the corner of 98 Avenue (an arterial road), and 95 Street. The application was submitted by Next Architecture on behalf of a private landowner to rezone the site from the CNC (neighbourhood convenience commercial) zone to the RA7 (low rise apartment) zone. The RA7 zone would allow for a four storey multi-unit housing building. The rezoning requires an amendment to the Cloverdale Area Redevelopment Plan to redesignate the site from commercial to residential.
Item 3.18 is an application in Oliver for a 1,679 m2 site on 102 Avenue and 121 Street, submitted by Open Sky Developments. The application proposes to rezone the site from a DC2 (site specific development control provision) to a new DC2 that would increase the maximum height of the already approved mixed-use tower from 17 to 22 storeys. Oliver is identified by City Plan as part of the Centre City node, which is envisioned as Edmonton’s highest density area.
Lastly, Item 3.19/3.20 is a rezoning application downtown at the corner of 104 Street and 103 Avenue. The application was submitted by Stantec on behalf of Limak Investments Inc. and proposes to rezone the site, which currently houses the historic Horne and Pitfield building, from the (HA) Heritage Area Zone to a (DC1) Direct Development Control Provision. The DC1 would enable the development of a mixed-use tower while preserving two facades of the historic building. City Plan identifies downtown as part of the Centre City node. This application had previously been to public hearing on September 8, 2021 and was referred back to Administration “to work with the applicant to protect more of the existing historic Horne & Pitfield building, including the potential designation of the entire building.”
All of the infill files have support from City of Edmonton Administration and align with City Plan.
HOW TO SHOW SUPPORT
Showing support is easy! You can register to speak here or send a quick email to City Council at email@example.com with the subject line “SUPPORT re: Item #.##, April 20, 2022 Public Hearing” and body text along the lines of “I am an Edmontonian who supports the City Plan goals of creating a more livable, sustainable and compact city. For that reason I fully support the above referenced project.”
UPDATE: ZONING BYLAW RENEWAL AND DISTRICT PLANNING
We typically keep our newsletter focused on City Council’s activities at public hearings. However, on April 12, Council’s urban planning committee discussed two important projects that are of interest to many of our clients, and that we often get asked about.
The first of these projects is Zoning Bylaw Renewal, which is a multi-year project to overhaul Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw. The aim of the project is to create a new Zoning Bylaw that is simpler, more flexible, and more equitable than the current Zoning Bylaw. The project team is currently in the process of writing and testing the new zones. In September of 2022, the team plans to release a draft new Zoning Bylaw and conduct public engagement. At the April 12 meeting, the committee also asked Administration to look into the possibility of proactively up-zoning properties in priority growth areas.
The second project that was discussed on April 12 is District Planning, which will create new statutory plans to guide future growth and create 15-minute districts, as envisioned in City Plan. Administration is currently writing drafts of all fifteen district plans, which will be released in the summer of 2022. Public engagement on the draft plans will take place through the summer and fall of this year.
Our future newsletters will provide information about the public engagement process for both of these projects so that you can get involved!
THAT’S A WRAP
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The next City Council public hearing is May 10. Stay tuned.