NORTH HILL COMMUNITIES LOCAL AREA PLAN
On September 14, 2021 Council approved the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan (LAP) with a 13-1 vote. This plan is Calgary’s first modernized, multi-community local area plan and is the result of over 2.5 years of engagement with area stakeholders including residents, community associations, business improvement areas, and the building and development industry. Not to mention several rounds of committee and Council directed revisions over the past year.
The North Hill Communities LAP sets out the vision and policies to guide growth and change in the communities of Capitol Hill, Crescent Heights, Highland Park, Mount Pleasant, Renfrew, Rosedale, Thorncliffe-Greenview (south of McKnight Blvd), Tuxedo Park, Winston Heights-Mountview and Greenview Industrial. In addition to policies for how land can be used and redevelopment in the area, the Plan identifies actions that can be taken to support communities as they experience growth and change. The plan will help support local businesses, create new business opportunities, and guide City investment in the area – such as within the area’s main streets, parks, and civic and recreation facilities. The plan will also support The City’s largest infrastructure investment ever, the Green Line LRT by providing greater opportunities for people to choose to live and work in this area.
With the approval of the North Hill Communities LAP, we’re excited to be moving ahead with specific actions identified in the LAP including developing heritage guidelines for heritage areas and local area improvement such as Balmoral Circus Improvements, Crescent Road Master Plan, 40 Avenue N.E. Park & Area Improvements and North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre Area Improvements.
Thank you to everyone who dedicated their time and provided input throughout the creation of the Plan!
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 Guide for Local Area Planning.
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).
Click through the slides above to learn more about Council-directed amendments that were made to the Plan (June 2021 version). Council directed these amendments at the April 12, 2021 Combined Meeting of Council and they included incorporating Guide for Local Area Planning (formally known as the Guidebook for Great Communities) policies as well as specific local area plan amendments.
Here is the full updated North Hill Communities Local Area Plan (June 2021 version).
A summary of Guide policies that have been incorporated into the Plan can be found here and you can follow the changes in an annotated version of the Plan.
In making the Council-directed amendments and considering feedback provided through the public hearing, we identified further potential refinements to the Plan, specifically to the building scale map. These additional refinements would see a reduction in building scale from up to 6 storeys to up to 4 storeys primarily in areas located outside of Main Streets, transit station areas and activity centres. Administration will recommend that Council consider these additional refinements at the June 21 Council meeting.
The North Hill Communities Local Area Plan will now be circulated to the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board. After a recommendation is provided by the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board Administration, municipalities are given a 28-day period for review. The Plan will then return to Council for second and third reading, with an estimated to return to Council in September 2021.
As the first multi-community local area plan in Calgary, the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan will help guide change in the area by: outlining a future vision for the area and providing development direction to match development with the priorities for future local investment in the area. The Plan is the first to incorporate best practice direction from the Guide for Local Area Planning, including incorporation of Heritage Guideline Areas and a Single-Detached Special Policy Area. The Plan is also the first to pilot a property tax uplift, which aims to link new development and the resulting tax revenue increase with funding for growth-related local investment in the area, such as the priorities outlined in the Plan.
Previous Committee, Council & Public Hearing Meetings
The Committee, Council and Public Hearing Timeline provides an overview of key milestones associated to the review and refinement of the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan with Committee, Council and the public since spring 2020. The timeline also includes links to previous versions of the plan, links to summaries of the key refinements made in association with each version of the plan, and information about key public outreach and involvement opportunities that have taken place along the way.
Previous Versions of the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan
The initial proposed North Hill Communities Local Area Plan (Spring 2020 version) and revised proposed (Jan 2021 version) are still available for those who may be interested in reviewing the previous versions.
Creating the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan - Engagement Summary
Since 2018, community members, local business owners and other stakeholders have been involved in the creation and refinement of the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan through a four-phased engagement program. An summary of the engagement process is available here: Creating the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan and/or within the 'Engagement Summary' tab above.
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 the process.
Prior to project kick-off: The project team met with and surveyed local community association members and business improvement area members to ask how their communities wanted to be engaged. Their feedback, together with unique local context considerations (including demographics, previous engagement learnings, popular events, hard to reach groups, etc.), was taken into consideration as we finalized the outreach plan and selected tactics throughout the project.
Throughout the project:
- Over 800,000 people were made aware of the project through our communications program.
- Over 20,000 people participated online or in-person.
- Over 7,000 ideas and contributions were collected across all phases.
- 61 events and meetings were held (with the general public and targeted stakeholders such as: youth, business owners, landowners, Chinese-speaking community members, community association members and business improvement area representatives, etc.)
- 3 multi-week, multi-input online engagement opportunities were available.
- 2 online information sessions / presentations were held.
Throughout the project we:
- Raised awareness about the project and opportunities to get involved through a variety of traditional, digital and in-community channels aiming to reach diverse stakeholders in each phase of the project.
- Took a grassroots approach, working with community leaders and popping up throughout the community, to ensure we were accessible to all and in an effort to reach people we may not have otherwise connected with.
- Worked to actively remove participation barriers and promote participation for all who wanted to be involved. Specifically, we removed barriers to participation by:
- offering sessions at varied times to accommodate different schedules;
- ensuring a range of participation methods were available so people could participate in ways that best suited their interests and needs (from community pop-ups to local information and feedback stations, workshops, community tradeshows, targeted stakeholder sessions, open houses, online information and engagement opportunities);
- translating information and offering interpretation in Mandarin, Cantonese and Spanish, (due to a higher than average number of speakers in the area). Translated ads were placed in Chinese-language papers. Translated materials and interpreters were available at three in-person sessions.
- providing opportunities that were general, stakeholder-specific and topic-specific to ensure a range of diverse perspectives were heard.
- creating family-friendly events with children’s activities.
- Engaged with a range of stakeholder groups (from residents, community associations and business owners to students and seniors) at a range of locations through the plan area (the local college, Chinese market, transit stops, recreation centres, parks, grocery stores, seniors’ facilities, low-income residences and schools in the area).
- Ensured that North Hill Communities Working Group members represented a broad range of demographics and perspectives (although there are limitations based on who applied).
- Took an iterative and phased approach to education and engagement which enabled dialogue to start at a broad / visionary level and naturally progress and become more focused and refined overtime.
- We actively discussed key topics, collected input and reported back to participants throughout the project to demonstrate that we were listening to and utilizing community feedback (or in some cases, clarifying why feedback could not be utilized) to ensure stakeholders could see how feedback was being considered and utilized throughout the project and in the creation of the plan.
Summary of Input
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
- Phase 4: Realize - What We Heard Report
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.
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.
Watch a recording of the Guidebook & North Hill Communities LAP Information Session here.
Responses to questions asked at the information session can be found in the Information Session Q&A Report Back.
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 incorporate and build upon the goals, principles, and planning framework set out in the Guide for Local Area Planning (the Guide). The content and policies of the Plan have been informed by the Guide, public engagement and local context. If approved, the Plan will provide comprehensive planning guidance for the plan area.
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.