Building consistency in Calgary communities
















The City of Calgary is recommending increasing the clarity and consistency of zoning rules for homes like rowhouses, townhouses and fourplexes in Calgary. Planning & Development Services will go before Council on Oct. 4, 2022 with proposed regulatory changes that include a new residential zoning district called Housing – Grade-Oriented (H-GO), functional changes to Residential – Ground-Oriented (R-CG), and general rule updates for the Multi-Residential districts. If approved, these changes will be made to the Land Use Bylaw and effective Jan. 2, 2023.

“With redevelopment comes opportunity,” says Lisa Kahn, Leader, Land Use Bylaw, City and Regional Planning. “Rowhouses and small apartments can add variety to Calgary’s housing stock, but these are not easily built without having special rules applied known as a ‘direct control district.’"

These special rules can cause confusion for citizens and developers alike because the rules haven’t been the same for everyone. On April 12, 2022, Council directed Administration to propose regulatory changes that would address these inconsistencies.

Building consistency is about standardizing the rules for new approaches to housing

Housing projects that need ‘direct control districts’ don’t fit within our current residential zones. Many projects have asked for a blend of rules from the R-CG and Multi-Residential districts. These updates will enable more options for homes to be built without the need to redesignate the property to another residential zone. Instead, these projects can follow the standard development permit process, where citizens can review plans and make comments through tools like the Development Map.  

The new district, H-GO, is for inner-city communities that are identified on the Urban Structure map of the Municipal Development Plan. This district adds 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).

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Citizen input continues to be an important part of the planning process

These changes help provide consistency and clarity when redevelopment happens in inner-city communities. The rules will be standardized and reduce the need for the added step of a direct control application. Instead, these projects can go through our development approvals process where citizens can participate through the avenues that they are used to.

These changes do not:

•         pre-approve development,

•         increase the number of homes that are allowed,

•         decrease the ability to make comments on future development applications.

These changes will inform the Land Use Bylaw renewal.

The City will monitor how these changes are used when projects apply for development approval. This information will inform the Land Use Bylaw renewal in what has worked or what needs further refinement to help build great communities in Calgary. The Land Use Bylaw renewal is slated to start in 2023.

For more information about the Public Hearing on Planning Matters on Oct. 4, 2022, please visit the Planning Matters webpage.

Also refer to the ”Ask Me Anything” on reddit and visit the Building Housing Choice project for more information.