An Update to the City’s Zoning Bylaw

By Erica Marie

The Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative could transform how your neighbourhood looks in the coming years. City Council’s urban planning committee reviewed a draft of the zoning bylaw rewrite, which plans to reduce the number of standard zones by half, from the current 46 down to 23.


Edmontonians want to live, work, and play within a 15-minute commute. Creating a healthy, urban and climate-resilient city of two million people involves catering to this lifestyle by adding density and changing the way land is used.


With the proposed zoning bylaw, there could be small restaurants, cafes, childcare spaces and retail stores among the houses within neighbourhoods. Diversity, density, and affordability were some of the key factors considered when designing the new bylaw. Purchasing a single-family home may not be in a lot of people’s budgets. Offering diverse housing options such as semi-detached, row housing, suites, backyard housing, and small apartments will allow for more affordable housing options and accommodate different household dynamics.


“The rezoning process has definitely been a challenge for us as it can be time-consuming and costly. The proposed zoning bylaw would give ECDC more options with the type of homes we can develop for the community,” says Michael Quiambao, Project Coordinator for the Edmonton Community Development Company (ECDC).


ECDC supports the redevelopment of mature neighbourhoods where significant disinvestment has occurred by demolishing homes that are uninhabitable and derelict. They have built two modern front-to-back duplexes to welcome families back into the community and are constructing more homes in McCauley, Alberta Avenue, Eastwood and Parkdale.

One of the proposed changes with the new zoning bylaw is retiring the Mature Neighbourhood Overlay. These guidelines for infill developers were placed to preserve the special features of mature neighbourhoods by limiting building heights, staggering windows, and positioning buildings in specific spaces on the lots.


“It’s important that residents understand how land use is regulated since it can have a big impact on the appearance and functionality of their neighbourhoods,” Quiambao explains.


It has been about sixty years since the zoning bylaw was updated, and Edmonton is ready for a change. The city is encouraging public feedback and has made various resources available online to help understand the rules governing how the land can be used and what can be built. Participate in the process by listening to a podcast explaining the changes, viewing an interactive map outlining the potential new zoning, or touring the draft Zoning Bylaw in its entirety.


Feedback is open until December 18th, with the final zoning bylaw to be implemented late next year.

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