The effects of limiting the regulations on zoning

By Erica Marie

Zoning determines what type of property can be built on a particular land. Early this year, the city planners presented the council with a zoning bylaw draft to streamline the zoning rules for housing, businesses, industry, and open spaces.


The proposed change to the existing bylaw means that more infill development can occur on lots that are currently restricted to single-family homes and duplexes. Their goal is to reduce the categories of residential, commercial, industrial, mixed-use, and open spaces from 46 to about 20.


The effects of this change will not only boost density by allowing small apartments, garden suites, supportive housing, and some small businesses to be built in neighbourhoods, but it will also create more clarity and reduce the time and costs associated with rezoning.


The Edmonton Community Development Company (ECDC) is experiencing the consequences of the city’s zoning limitations as it delays the build of their properties for the Project 10 initiative. The derelict properties acquired in 2019 are still in the process of getting rezoned to accommodate front-to-back duplexes. A typical timeline of 9 to 12 months for constructing a new home is now taking over three years to build.


ECDC is working in core neighbourhoods such as McCauley by investing in their redevelopment and rebuilding communities.

A concept plan for the front-to-back duplex ECDC would like to build in McCauley.

Coun. Anne Stevenson of Ward O-day’min echoes the value of streamlining the rezoning process with the new bylaw and says,

“This is one of the single most important initiatives in realizing our City Plan vision. This is a good first step in providing a simpler bylaw that will support more housing choices, vibrant main streets, and walkable communities.”


One of the objectives of the City Plan is to promote 15-minute districts, infill development, and a transit-friendly city. The proposed bylaw will encourage a wider range of development options, moving the design of the City Plan forward.


While many are on board with the new bylaw, community league representatives spoke out about wanting to be involved and have a say in the process. Ultimately, the neighbours will be affected by the changes happening in their communities, and it is important for the city to engage and inform residents to avoid any surprises.


Overall, the zoning bylaw renewal looks to be a transformational change for the city and an innovative path forward. The bylaw is still in the draft phase, and city planners will return to the council this fall with an updated proposal.


To get involved and learn more about the zoning bylaw initiatives, Click here.

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