5 things to know about Edmonton’s big zoning renewal — and how you can have your say

Edmonton is planning a major zoning revamp that will change the city for decades to come.

City council will soon mull over a bylaw that will completely redraw the map for urban development.

While the city has tweaked definitions over the years — including allowing subdivisions for garden suites in 2018 — this will be the first time since the 1960s that it’s done a major overhaul of this scale.

Here are a few things you should know.

1. A lot is changing

Every piece of land in the city is assigned a zone. Zones contain the rules for where buildings can go, what types of buildings they can be and what activities are allowed on a property.

Edmonton plans to shrink the number of zones by almost half — from 46 to 24.

If the new bylaw passes, it would mean rezoning almost all properties across Edmonton to their new, most similar equivalent.

For instance, single-detached residential, semi-detached residential and small-scale infill would all fit underneath the new Small Scale Residential Zone.

That means a neighbourhood now dominated by single-detached homes could see other types of housing sprout up more easily.

There’s a lot to unpack within the more than 700 pages of the proposed bylaw (and the city’s rationale for it).

CBC News will be offering more in-depth coverage of the possible impacts in the coming weeks.

2. The city is aiming for ease

The city promises the redraw will streamline development processes and remove some of the esoteric language that has often befuddled residents.

That includes changing rules around which projects require permits and which don’t.

It’s also aimed at aligning zoning more neatly with the City Plan — Edmonton’s big-picture strategy, approved by council in 2020. The plan imagines a more dense, environmentally-friendly urban space as the city grows toward a population of two million.

3. It’s been in the works a while

The city set on this path as far back as 2018, when it first started research for the new zoning bylaw. That included workshops, surveys and other engagement events.

Public engagement continued in the following years as administration developed and — in the current ongoing phase — finalized the proposed bylaw.

Some have questioned the level of consultation, saying residents are generally unaware of what’s coming.

4. Not everyone agrees

Unsurprisingly, strong opposition has formed against the zoning renewal.

A group calling itself the Coalition for Better Infill has dropped off pamphlets and written editorials for local media. Among the group’s concerns are the dispute options available to residents who may not want more infill properties in their neighbourhood.

Supporters are also organizing, including developers who have previously spoken in favour of the changes.

5. Your input is wanted

City council will consider both the proposed new zoning bylaw and the city-wide rezoning at a statutory public hearing on Oct. 16. The hearing will give residents another chance to have their say. Depending on the number of registered speakers, the hearing may be extended over a number of days.

More information is available on the city website.

If the new zoning bylaw is passed, implementation would begin with an aim to have the new map in effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

If it isn’t — well, that would probably mean it’s back to the drawing board.

CBC News is asking for your input.

Give us your thoughts — and tell us what kind of coverage you’d like to see from us — using the form below.

Originally Appeared Here

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