Calgary adopts city-wide zoning after historic debate

The decision came following a record 15 days of public hearings with 736 speakers.

Key Takeaways:

  • The city-wide zoning decision aims to speed up housing development, reduce costs, and remove barriers to building new homes.
  • Homeowners can now build duplexes, fourplexes, or row houses on their properties without a separate approval process. This increases housing variety within existing neighborhoods.
  • The original proposal was modified after extensive public feedback (longest public hearing in Calgary history) to address concerns regarding parks, parking, and backyard suites.

The Whole Story:

After record-breaking public hearings, Calgary has approved citywide rezoning.

The decision was a response to Calgary’s housing crisis and officials say the changes will significantly speed up the time to deliver homes, remove barriers and uncertainty, and reduce costs.

The decision will switch Calgary’s base residential zoning to R-CG, or residential grade-oriented infill. This means homeowners can now redevelop their properties with duplexes, fourplexes, or row houses without going through a separate land-use approval process. The new zoning will be in effect across Calgary starting from August 6.

“Before the public hearing began, it was clear that housing is the top issue on Calgarians’ minds and is truly the problem of our time. The stories Calgarians shared over the past few weeks painted a stark picture of the housing challenges being faced in this city,” Mayor Jyoti Gondek said. “Council’s decision confirms our commitment to meet that problem with the tools and plan we have. While today’s decision is just one of the actions in the Housing Strategy, we will continue our work in implementing the entire strategy.”

This decision was made after a 15-day Public Hearing in which 736 Calgarians verbally gave their feedback and 6,101 Calgarians submitted a written statement, which resulted in the largest and longest public hearing in the city’s history.

“City council and administration heard from thousands of Calgarians during this record-breaking public hearing,” said City of Calgary Chief Administrative Officer David Duckworth. “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to participate in this incredibly important public input and decision-making process.”

A fundamental change administration recommended prior to the public hearing, which was approved by council, was to make it easier for Calgarians to provide input during the development permit process in their communities.

Many themes emerged from feedback given during the public hearing, and council said it has made changes to the original proposal to address concerns on issues such as parks, parking, and backyard suites associated with rowhouses and townhouses. 

“We heard clearly from Calgarians that they care about the state of housing citywide, and also about what gets built next door,” said Tim Keane, general manager of Planning & Development Services. “Both of these matter to The City too. We are committed to enabling more homes and making sure they fit well into our communities.”

Rezoning for housing is one of 98 actions in Home is Here: The City of Calgary’s Housing Strategy. Citywide rezoning is a change to the low-density residential zoning across Calgary. In addition to single detached houses, other types of low-density housing including semi-detached, rowhouses and townhouses are now allowed in new and established areas of the city, effective August 6, 2024.


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