Opinion: Calgary's R-CG zoning proposal: A housing resolution or a recipe for catastrophe?

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By Mike Robinson

In a metropolis grappling with an inexpensive housing scarcity, the proposed Residential – Contextual Grade-Oriented (R-CG) land use designation has been hailed as a possible resolution. Nonetheless, a better examination reveals critical issues that solid doubt on whether or not this zoning is the panacea it claims to be. The R-CG zoning is dealing with criticism for varied causes, together with the disregard for neighborhood design covenants, lax enforcement of bylaws, unaffordable pricing, and questionable high-density placements in inadequately geared up areas. Locally of Erlton, now we have been grappling with the inflow of high-density developments for the previous 10 years.

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Some of the alarming facets of the R-CG zoning proposal is that it doesn’t successfully handle inexpensive housing straight. What now we have skilled in Erlton is the removing of present low-income housing in favour of multi-family luxurious infills. With items starting from $600,000 to over $1 million, it’s evident that these properties cater to the next revenue bracket.  The Metropolis stands behind these over-spec’d, high-return developments as a result of meaning extra money for the Metropolis; a battle of curiosity. Certainly, constructing allow charges are tied to the development prices, so the costlier the event, the extra money for the Metropolis. By rising the development value, and finally the property worth, the Metropolis additionally advantages from an overbuilt improvement in the best way of property taxes for years to come back. For a zoning designation that was touted as an answer to affordability points, it seems that the R-CG zoning can be exacerbating the issue reasonably than assuaging it.

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An instance of an infill in Erlton which Mike Robinson says is an instance of shadowing and overlooking facets ignored by Metropolis of Calgary. jpg

One other important downside is the approval of high-density infill tasks that don’t adjust to present bylaws, notably regarding most peak restrictions. In Erlton, now we have a historical past of developments being accredited that are over the utmost allowable peak within the bylaw, and when questioned, the Metropolis responded that they “appreciated” the designs. If present rules aren’t constantly upheld, how can we belief that the brand new zoning might be any totally different? This inconsistency erodes belief within the metropolis’s potential to make sure truthful and equitable improvement.

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Additional to the bylaw relaxations, Erlton has struggled with the Metropolis’s obvious disregard for neighborhood design covenants. These covenants are put in place to guard the character and integrity of established neighbourhoods. Sadly, evidently Metropolis planners are turning a blind eye to those issues, resulting in points like shadowing and overlooking of neighbours. Such oversights can have a detrimental influence on the standard of life for present residents and lift questions in regards to the metropolis’s dedication to preserving the distinctive id of Calgary’s neighbourhoods. 

Maybe one of the regarding facets of the R-CG proposal is the allowance for high-density developments in areas ill-equipped for such development. This contains areas with undersized sewer and water mains, in addition to slender streets ill-suited for elevated site visitors. This not solely locations undue stress on present infrastructure but in addition poses potential hazards for residents. On a residential lot that’s designed for 2 bathrooms, two sinks and one washer, multi-family developments of as much as eight instances that capability would undoubtedly overload sewer, water, and energy techniques for the entire neighbourhood. The dearth of foresight on this regard raises questions in regards to the Metropolis’s planning priorities.

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In conclusion, whereas the introduction of the R-CG zoning designation was meant to deal with Calgary’s inexpensive housing scarcity, it appears to be stricken by a mess of points. The disregard for neighborhood design covenants, inconsistent bylaw enforcement, unaffordable pricing, questionable high-density placements, and battle of curiosity surrounding constructing allow charges, all solid a shadow of doubt on its effectiveness. If the Metropolis of Calgary is actually dedicated to fixing its housing disaster, it should handle these issues and be certain that any new zoning measures are in one of the best curiosity of all its residents, reasonably than only a choose few.

Mike Robinson is an entrepreneur, improvement guide, and building supervisor in Calgary with 30 years of expertise within the business.

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