Over the past two years we have been working with locals to create a future vision for how land can be used and redeveloped in the North Hill Communities area – building on the vision, goals and policies outlined in Calgary’s Municipal Development Plan and the proposed Guidebook for Great Communities.
An initial version of the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan was brought to the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development (PUD) in the Spring 2020. In July of this year, Council directed Administration to undertake further work on the Guidebook and the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan, and return by no later than the January Planning and Urban Development Committee meeting.
NORTH HILL COMMUNITIES LOCAL AREA PLAN
The North Hill Communities Local Area Plan (the Plan) sets out the future vision for growth and change in nine established inner-city communities surrounding 16 Avenue and Centre Street. The Plan provides development direction that residents, landowners, builders/developers, City Planners and Councillors can commonly refer to as new development ideas are proposed by property owners and landowners within the area.
The Plan includes the following sections, aiming to answer the accompanying question and includes the associated key components:
- Visualizing growth – What is the vision for the area? (vision and core ideas)
- Enabling growth – What type of growth makes sense where and what local/custom direction is needed to realize great development in this area? (future growth concept and development policies)
- Supporting growth – What investments are needed to support growth? (future infrastructure and amenity goals/objectives).
Take a look through the revised Plan by clicking the red button below. For an overview of the key refinements that were made, click through the slides below.
Click through the slides above to learn more about the key refinements that were made to the Plan based on the Council direction provided in July, 2020.
Take a look through the full revised North Hill Communities Local Area Plan (Jan 2021 version).
The initial proposed North Hill Communities Local Area Plan (Spring 2020 version) is still available for those who may be interested in reviewing the previous version.
Guidebook & North Hill Communities Information Session
On January 27, 2021 we hosted an session for people to learn more about the proposed North Hill Communities Local Area Plan and the Guidebook for Great Communities.
Thank you to everyone who shared ideas and provided input through the project!
The input provided by citizens and stakeholders helped the project team understand people’s perspectives, opinions, and concerns . Input collected in each phase helped influence and inform the concepts and policies that were created and refined throughout our process.
Engagement and communications occurred for this project from September 2018 through to March 2020 over three phases of engagement and one phase of information sharing.
Throughout our project we engaged with: residents and community members at-large, community associations, business improvement areas, local business owners, students, Ward offices and the development industry.
We employed a variety of engagement and communications tactics including: developing a stakeholder working group, online engagement, pop-up events, workshops, community tradeshow, meetings, surveys, open houses, online information session, postcards, signage, social media, paid advertisements and media interviews.
Throughout the entire project, we held 53 in-person events and meetings, three online surveys and one (1) online presentation for the broader public and targeted stakeholders. In total over 800,000 people were made aware of the project through our communications program and we connected with over 14,800 participants online or in-person and received over 6,800 ideas and contributions across all phases
In our Final Engagement Summary, we have outlined the details of our engagement program and the high-level themes that were common from all three phases of engagement and provided responses for how these were addressed and considered throughout the project.
To review the What We Heard Reports from each phase of the project, click the links below.
- Phase 1: Discover & Discuss - What We Heard Report
- Phase 2: Envision - What We Heard Report
- Phase 3: Evaluate - What We Heard Report
Targeted Engagement on Plan Refinements (fall 2020)
Since July 2020, Administration has worked with internal business units and targeted external stakeholders to revise the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan (the Plan) in response to Council’s direction to refine the Plan. That direction included ten specific items which are provided below. The purpose of the targeted engagement was to help inform refinements to the Plan within the following key areas as directed by Council:
- Alignment with the Guidebook for Great Communities;
- Alignment with the approved Green Line LRT;
- Additional local historical context and character;
- Better recognition and policies to protect the urban tree canopy;
- Identifying opportunities for placemaking and public realm improvements;
- Exploring parks and open space frontages;
- Identifying opportunities for additional commercial clusters, Neighbourhood Activity Centres, and mixed-use streets;
- Provisions for on-street parking;
- Identifying mobility corridors; and
- Including policies for improvements within road rights-of-way setbacks
Due to the technical nature of this work and the background understanding required to meaningfully participate, we targeted engagement to citizens who had previous experience with and direct involvement in the creation of the initial North Hill Communities Local Area Plan.
Citizens and stakeholders from the former North Hill Communities Working Group, community associations in the North Hill Communities area, business improvement areas, and development industry members were invited to attend a series of North Hill Communities sessions.
- Phase 4: Realize - What We Heard Report
ENGAGEMENT PROCESS RECAP
The pilot project
The North Hill Communities Local Growth Planning project was a pilot project for The City’s planning department. This included:
- Testing a new approach to how Local Area Plans (LAPs) are created by undertaking local growth planning processes with multiple communities at one time, and grouping communities based on their physical boundaries, shared connections and experiences. By grouping communities together based on their shared experiences and spaces, we were able to discuss how to ensure a more complete community and able to provide a clear and comprehensive vision for growth and change at a local level across our city.
- Developing a new way of engagement and communications for the creation of multi-community LAPs that ensured a consistent and predictable approach, where the tactics and tools for delivery of the process were customized to the local context of the plan area. The engagement and communications framework piloted through this project will be utilized for future local area policy plans throughout the city.
- Partnering with the Guidebook for Great Communities and integrating the City-Wide Policy team in our processes, to test the tools and policies outlined in the proposed Guidebook at the local area plan level.
Multi-Community Local Area Plan Engagement Program Overview
The engagement and communications framework piloted through this project provided the opportunity for citizens to participate in meaningful engagement and have input into the decisions that determine how their community will look and function in the future. As we developed our program the following considerations were made to help influence the overall process.
1. Phased Program
The engagement process was designed as a multi-phased approach where we collected input and shared information at key intervals throughout the planning process.
Phase 1: Discover & Discuss (Fall to Winter 2018)
Phase one was about looking to get a better understanding of the local area and your communities. Gaining a better understanding of everything that makes your community tick helped the project team proactively explore ideas with your aspirations, concerns and viewpoints in mind. The feedback from this phase help inform visioning with the working group where we developed Guiding Principles for the project.
Phase 2: Envision (Winter to Spring 2019)
Phase two was about collecting feedback connected to big ideas and beginning to identify focus areas and topics that required further exploration to inform our land use concepts and draft policies.
This input collected was be used to inform conversations with the project working group where we did a deeper dive into technical planning matters to develop draft concepts and ideas.
Phase 3: Evaluate (Summer to Winter 2019)
Phase three was about sharing the draft Local Area Plan and gathering feedback to help evaluate the draft. The feedback collected helped identify gaps and opportunities and was used to refine the final proposed plan.
Phase 4: Realize (Winter 2020)
Phase four was about sharing the final proposed plan, connecting the dots between what was heard and what was done, and closing the loop with stakeholders.
2. Raising the capacity of the community
Prior to starting formal engagement we started the project with an educational focus to increase peoples’ knowledge about planning and development to enable participants to effectively contribute to the process. This included starting the conversation with why growth and redevelopment is important and how local area planning fits into our city-wide goals. We also took a plain language and transparent communications approach and made a customized video for the project.
In some of our engagement sessions, we also offered “Planning 101” to help increase citizens capacity to participate.
3. Increasing participation and diversity
Recognizing that planning can be a difficult subject matter to navigate, we employed different tactics and approaches to increase participation in the project. We also recognized that the North Hill Communities are made up of a unique and diverse population and we customized our approach to ensure we removed barriers to allow for a diversity of participation.
4. Inclusive process
Throughout our engagement we worked to ensure an inclusive engagement process that considered the needs of all stakeholders and sought to remove barriers for participation. We did our best to make public engagement accessible and welcoming to all, despite resource levels or demographics that might prevent them from being included in the process. We ensured that, at the very least, all citizens in the area were aware of the opportunity to participate and knew that we were interested in hearing from them.
For this project some of the inclusive measures we took included:
- Hosted pop-up events throughout the community at existing events to bring information more directly to people in their communities and meet people where they were at
- Worked with our internal City partners such as our Neighborhood Partnership Coordinators, Community Social Workers and Calgary Housing to share information with harder to reach populations
- Ensured all public events were held at accessible venues
- Provided children’s activities at public sessions to create a family-friendly environment,
- Hosted sessions across a variety of different hours and days of the week to accommodate different schedules
- Provided easily accessible information online, with the ability to provide feedback and ask questions, for those that couldn’t attend an in-person session
- Offered translation services in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish at in-person sessions
- Contacted seniors housing facilities in the area and offering a project presentation and delivered project posters
- Gave citizens the opportunity to request additional accessibility accommodations in advance of sessions through 311
5. Participation interests & intensity
Our engagement program was designed to cater to the different participation interests and intensity that stakeholders are willing to commit to a project. This includes having a variety of communications and engagement tactics available for involvement so that people are able to get involved at the level that best suits their needs. We selected a variety of tactics to correspond with the different interest needs of the North Hill communities.
One of the foundational pieces for our framework included the development of a multi-community stakeholder working group, designed to cater to those with more committed interests and more time to offer to the project, where we could have a more technical conversation, deeper dive into planning matters and build off the knowledge gained at each session.
North Hill Communities Working GroupThrough a recruitment process, 32 members of the broader community and development industry were selected to participate in dialogue of the broader planning interests of the entire area. The working group participated in eight (8) sessions where they brought different perspectives and viewpoints to the table and acted as sounding board for The City as we worked together to create a Local Area Plan
6. Grassroots conversations
Throughout our engagement we took more of a grassroots approach to create a sense of community, positive advocacy, and grassroots community participation. We achieved this by empowering stakeholders to have conversations and ignite interest about growth and redevelopment with their fellow community members. This was enabled by employing two-way conversational tools online and having discussion pieces available through Public Engagement Sounding Boards located in the community. In addition, through our pop-up events, we engaged with citizens while they were out at various destinations or events in the community to help ignite interest about planning with citizens that might not regularly attend an open house or workshop session.
7. Better aligning the work of The City
During our engagement we looked to better serve citizens, communities, and customers through our Program approach in a way that is cohesive, collaborative and integrated, and works together as “One” for “Calgary.” Where timelines and resources allowed, we ensured coordination and collaboration with other City departments and projects to ensure a One City/ One Voice approach.
This included partnering with projects and departments such as: Liveable Streets, Parks, Recreation, Calgary Housing, Real Estate & Development Services, Water Resources, City-Wide Policy (specifically the Guidebook for Great Communities), Transportation Planning and Transit and the Green Line project.
We also recognized that significant engagement had occurred in these communities prior to the start of our project, and ensured that past project feedback was also used as an input and considered throughout our process. Specifically this included past work on the Main Streets projects and the Green Line Station Area Charrettes.
8. Clear stakeholder reporting
A goal for this project was to achieve transparency through clear stakeholder reporting and ensuring that we made connections between the input being sought and how this input would be used to inform decisions throughout the entire process. In each phase of engagement, we ensured to report back on how the previous phase’s engagement and input informed and was considered in project decision making.
HOW WAS PUBLIC INPUT CONSIDERED?
Your input, and the input of other citizens and stakeholders, helped City decision makers understand people’s perspectives, opinions, and concerns. Input collected in each phase of the project was compiled and shared through a series of What We Heard reports (linked above).
Through the project, decision makers considered public input and demonstrated how input influenced decisions where possible or aimed to explain why decisions were not influenced by public input if they did not.
Although it would be a great outcome, the goal of public engagement is not to reach consensus or make everyone happy. Public engagement is also not about voting or collecting representative information. Public engagement is about considering the input, ideas and perspectives of people who are interested or impacted by decisions, before decisions are made.
Public input is an important part of local area planning, but is one of many areas of consideration in the decision-making process.
Learn more about engagement at The City, visit engage.calgary.ca/about.
Learn more about how the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan was created by watching the video below:
Responses to frequently asked questions are listed below.
Click on the question to expand and see the response.
A local area plan identifies and guides where and how future growth and (re)development should happen within a specific area. A local area plan includes the following key sections:
- VISUALIZING GROWTH – contains the plan vision and core ideas.
- ENABLING GROWTH – sets out the future growth concept for the North Hill Communities as well as policies to realize great development in the area.
- SUPPORTING GROWTH – identifies specific objectives for supporting growth and change within these communities and aims to address the question: when growth occurs, how are investments in the area made?
A local area plan is a statutory document, adopted by Council as an Area Redevelopment Plan.
The proposed North Hill Communities Local Area Plan (the Plan) is a long-range, statutory policy plan that sets out the future vision, development policies, and objectives for enabling and supporting growth and change in the communities of Capitol Hill, Crescent Heights, Highland Park, Mount Pleasant, Renfrew, Rosedale, Thorncliffe-Greenview (south of McKnight Boulevard N), Tuxedo Park, Winston Heights-Mountview, and the Greenview Industrial area (collectively known as the North Hill Communities).
Key outcomes that would be achieved through approval of the Plan include:
- simplifying and removing duplicate and outdated planning policies, reducing the total number of plans from seven statutory and non-statutory plans to one statutory plan;
- increasing certainty in the planning and redevelopment process;
- recognizing, planning for, and leveraging the connections and shared assets between communities; and
- creating more complete communities.
City Council is the decision maker for all statutory City planning policies. The North Hill Communities Local Area Plan (the Plan) will be brought forward to the public hearing of Council for review and decision (date to be determined). Prior to the public hearing of Council, the Special Policy Committee on Planning & Urban Development will review proposed North Hill Communities Local Area Plan. Following Council review and decision, the Calgary Metropolitan Regional Growth Board will review the Plan, prior to formal adoption by City Council.
Existing statutory and non-statutory policies (such as Area Redevelopment Plans (ARPs), Design briefs etc.) will be rescinded where appropriate. Administration’s recommendations for the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan includes rescinding seven existing statutory and non-stat planning policies. These include: 16 Avenue Urban Corridor ARP, Centre Street North Special Study, Crescent Heights ARP, Highland Village Design Guidelines, North Bow Special Study, North Hill ARP, and the Winston Heights-Mountview ARP.
Local area plans are meant to be living documents that may be amended and updated over time as the community changes and evolves and as conditions and circumstances in the area change.
City Council is the decision maker for all local area plan amendments.
Landowners determine if and when to propose to rezone their land. If a land use rezoning (redesignation) were brought forward for a parcel within the North Hill Communities area it would be reviewed for alignment with the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan, once the Plan is adopted by Council.
In some cases, The City (rather than a specific landowner) will rezone land; however, City-initiated land use rezonings are not proposed as part of this project and no land will be rezoned when the proposed North Hill Communities Local Area Plan is adopted by CouncilCity Council is the decision maker on all land use redesignations and these decision are made inclusive of a public hearing process.
What is the relationship between the Guidebook for Great Communities and the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan?
The policies found in the Plan build upon the goals, principles, and planning framework set out in the Guidebook for Great Communities (Guidebook). The content and policies of the Plan have been prepared in conjunction with the Guidebook and the two documents are intended to be read and interpreted together. If approved, the Plan along with the Guidebook will provide comprehensive planning guidance for the plan area.
The Plan includes a quick reference guide to build reader understand of the relationship between the Guidebook and the Plan as well as callouts throughout to highlight important policy connections.
What does the low-density residential policy in the Guidebook mean for the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan?
Generally, the Guidebook supports all forms of low-density homes (homes of three storeys or below, such single-detached, semi-detached, rowhouses) in all neighbourhoods. This policy aligns with the Municipal Development Plan and the growth concept in the previous and current version of the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan.
In addition to the guidance provided through the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan, the Guidebook now provides more detailed direction about what types of low-density homes are appropriate.
View the revised Guidebook (which includes the low-density residential policy) at Calgary.ca/Guidebook.
What low-density residential zones are included in the North Hill Communities area?
- Zone A- Inner-City: Capitol Hill, Crescent Heights, Mount Pleasant, Renfrew, Rosedale, Tuxedo Park
- Zone B- Established communities pre-1970: Highland Park, Thorncliffe Greenview, including the Greenview Industrial area, Winston Heights-Mountview
The Low-density Residential Zone Map can be found within the Guidebook at Calgary.ca/Guidebook.
How would the low-density residential policies in the Guidebook be used or applied in the North Hill Communities area and in other communities around Calgary?
- The low-density residential policy, and all other policies within the Guidebook, are only applicable once Council approves the Guidebook, and in communities who have a Council-approved local area plan based on the Guidebook.
- Rezoning would take place through a separate Council decision-making process. Land is only rezoned on a parcel-by-parcel basis, if/when a land use rezoning proposal is submitted to The City by a landowner and if approved by Council.
- If a land use rezoning were proposed in the North Hill Communities area, both the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan and The Guidebook would be used to review and assess the proposal.
- All proposals to change the land use of a parcel are reviewed by The City and a decision is made by Council.
- The low-density residential policy would be considered and applied, along with the corresponding local area plan, if/when an application to rezone or develop a parcel(s) to a low-density residential home (homes of three storeys or below, such single-detached, semi-detached, rowhouses) are received by The City. Parcel-specific criteria is included as part of the low-density residential policy within the Guidebook. These criteria clearly outline when/where specific low-density homes are and are not appropriate.
The Plan recognizes heritage asset concentrations within the North Hill Communities and includes policies that lay the foundation for applying future heritage planning tools for encouraging heritage conservation and more contextually compatible infill development.
Administration is currently reviewing heritage policy and financial tools, with the objective of creating a systematic, city-wide strategy for the conservation of these heritage asset concentrations. The Plan’s policies are intended to accommodate this future heritage planning work as well as the implementation of any resulting policy tools.
The input provided by citizens and stakeholders helped the project team understand people’s perspectives, opinions, and concerns throughout the entire project. Input collected in each phase of the project helped influence and inform the concepts and policies that were created and refined throughout our process.
In our Final Engagement Summary, we have outlined the high-level themes that were common from all three phases of engagement and provided responses for how these were addressed and considered throughout the project.
Although it would be a great outcome, the goal of public engagement is not to reach consensus or make everyone happy. Public engagement is about considering the input, ideas and perspectives of people who are interested or impacted by decisions, before decisions are made. Public input is an important part of local area planning, but is one of many areas of consideration which also includes: existing policy, economic viability, professional expertise and technical feasibility in the ultimate decision-making process and concept development.
The City employed a variety of engagement and communications tactics including: developing a stakeholder working group, online engagement, pop-up events, workshops, community tradeshow, meetings, open houses, online information session, postcards, signage, social media, paid advertisements and media interviews.
Throughout the entire project, we held 53 in-person events, and meetings, three online surveys and one (1) online presentation for the broader public and targeted stakeholders. In total over 800,000 people were made aware of the project through our communications program and we connected with over 14,800 participants online or in-person and received over 6,800 ideas and contributions across all phases.
For more information, view the Final Engagement Summary.
The following information outlines the plan for the refined North Hill Communities Local Area Plan leading up to the Combined Meeting of Council:
- Jan. 4: Publicly release and circulate refined Guidebook (Calgary.ca/guidebook) and North Hill LAP (calgary.ca/NorthHill).
- Jan. 13: SPC on Planning and Urban Development (PUD). We will give an update on the Guidebook and North Hill Communities LAP and be available to answer questions.
- Feb. 3: Guidebook and North Hill Communities LAP to PUD, which will result in a recommendation to the Combined Meeting of Council. This meeting will give PUD members and citizens a more fulsome presentation and opportunity for questions and comments.
- March 22: Guidebook and North Hill Communities LAP to Combined Meeting of Council, if PUD makes a recommendation to Council. This public hearing is another opportunity for citizens and Council to ask questions and provide comment. This meeting of Council will include a Council decision
The Plan identifies high-level goals and objectives aimed at supporting growth and change in the area. These goals and objectives are durable, long-term, and are connected to the time horizon of the Plan. The Plan also includes a non-statutory list of implementation options related to the objectives that stakeholders identified through engagement process and development of the Plan. These implementation options represent examples of actions that could be taken by The City, developers, Business Improvement Associations, and residents to further the vision, goals, and objectives.
To support the North Hill Communities through growth and change, the implementation actions are intended to help inform future City business plans and budget decisions as well as the ongoing work for the Established Areas Growth and Change Strategy. As actual growth is monitored, these actions can be regularly reviewed and updated to help off-set growth related pressures the community may experience.
On February 3, 2020, Council approved a Notice of Motion (PFC2020-0131) to provide $30 million for public realm improvements in established areas. The funding will initially be directed towards public realm improvements in Phase 1 growth areas of the Strategy, including the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan. These growth areas were identified with stakeholder input earlier in the process, after having been shown to demonstrate strong market potential.
Will the Land Use Bylaw be updated to align with the Guidebook for Great Communities and new local area plans?
Council directed City Administration to return with an outline for what new land use bylaw districts could look like based on the new Guidebook. The Guidebook for Great Communities (Guidebook) and the new multi-community local area planning approach provide an opportunity to directly link policy with the Bylaw. Using the goals and principles of the Guidebook, a renewed Bylaw will be focused on regulating the aspects that impact the experience a person has at street-level.
For more information, visit Toward a Renewed Land Use Bylaw.
Property assessment is the value placed on a property for municipal and provincial taxation purposes which comes from measurement, analysis and interpretation of the real estate market. It is a separate, independent process from local area planning and The City does not manage property values through the planning process.
The current Property Tax Customer Review Period is in effect now until March 10. This is your current and annual opportunity to review and ensure the accuracy of your Property Assessment. You can check, review and compare your notice online. For more information visit calgary.ca/Assessment
Transportation Planning is responsible for reviewing and providing input on local area plans and development applications.
Site specific development considerations are assessed at the development permit stage and are informed by requirements in the Land Use Bylaw, policies within the Guidebook for Great Communities and in alignment with City development requirements.
What will The City do to mitigate the increased construction that comes with new development/redevelopment?
The City of Calgary partners with builders and the public to help ensure new home construction in established neighbourhoods is both safe and mitigates negative impacts to the city’s inner-city communities.There are Community regulations that address potential issues including site maintenance, noise, as well as the use of streets. For more information visit Calgary Infill Construction Bylaws and Regulations.