Guidebook for Great Communities Delayed

As of yesterday morning, The Guidebook for Great Communities has been delayed in thanks to our work and that of our industry colleagues.  Incidentally, the Guidebook for Great Communities will be a statutory document which will come into effect once Council approves it.  While most of it won’t be applicable until your community has a new multi-community plan (new district-based local plan), Chapter 3 will immediately apply to all communities in the built-out area of the city.  The Guidebook will sit at the highest level of our city’s planning hierarchy, meaning that if a discrepancy exists between a local area plan and the Guidebook, the Guidebook will prevail. There has been limited consultation and aggressive timing on this very critical document.  Next steps include creating new land use bylaw districts and a new Calgary Code, ultimately changing Calgary’s land use bylaw from a use-based bylaw to a hybrid code (use-based and form-based).

Leading up to yesterday’s Planning and Urban Development Committee (PUD) meeting, all stakeholders were asked to submit letters (please click here to see the Federation’s letter).  In conversations over the past few weeks, The Federation and our colleagues in industry realized we all have similar interests and none of us were happy about how quickly this statutory document was being pushed through.

In a late-night collaborative effort, Leslie, the Federation’s Executive Director, asked NAOIP and BILD to form a strategic alliance to “speak with one voice” as our interests are very similar – consistency, clarity, certainty, understanding and need for input.  In addition, BILD and NAIOP worked with Councillor Gondek, who in turn worked with Administration, to put together the following:

That the Standing Policy on Planning and Urban Development:

  1. Postpone the Great Communities for Everyone report PUD2019-1015 (Guidebook) and the Implementing Great Communities for Everyone report PUD2019-1200 back to Administration to:
    1. Direct Administration to create a panel comprised of up to 6 stakeholder representatives who collaborated on the Guidebook and its considerations for implementation; and
    2. Return to the 2019 November 06 SPC on Planning & Urban Development committee meeting.
  2. Request a discussion between the above noted panel and Committee members at the 2019 November 06 SPC on Planning & Urban Development committee meeting, in an effort to:
    1. confirm expectations of Guidebook,
    2. discuss any outstanding areas of disagreement in the Guidebook, and
    3. propose possible testing methods of the Guidebook’s practices and policies, including but not limited to leveraging the North Hill Communities Local Growth Planning pilot project to evaluate practicality of the Guidebook to meet the goal of evolving communities in a manner that responds to the needs of current and future residents.

On the morning of October 2nd, we all went to PUD to present together.  Instead, this motion was tabled.  It is unclear who the six stakeholders will be, but we are committed to playing a role in bringing more clarity and understanding.  Stay tuned!