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Urban Outdoorsman

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So I was recently digging around in the new iteration of the guidebook for great communities and I was curious to hear what others thought.

Here's a link for anyone interested:
https://www.calgary.ca/pda/pd/curre...ommunities.html?redirect=/guidebook#guidebook

I'm no expert in planning jargon, but so far I liked what I saw. There seems to be a strong emphasis on a broader mixture of uses for any given 'urban form categories'. Specifically, I really appreciate the 'neighbourhood connector' category, which essentially allows for slightly higher densities and a broader range of uses. For example, some of the proposals along 24th ave in Banff Trail would fit this description i.e. 4 story building with live/work and small retail.

Something else I noticed is the 'neighbourhood local' category seemed to be more concerned with height and scale over density. Meaning smaller scale 'missing middle' housing types would more easily be accounted for, not just single-family and duplexes.

It's worth checking out the proposed North Hill ARP revision because it uses basically uses the new Guidebook: https://engage.calgary.ca/NorthHill/realize

The proposed plan seems pretty solid, I like the distinction between urban form (uses) and building scale (height).
North Hill ARP - Urban Form.JPG
North Hill ARP - Building Scale.JPG


Could be really cool one day if 20th ave N is built up as a lowrise boulevard.

Anyways those are my initials thoughts, curious to hear what others think, whether it's an improvement, where it falls short, etc.
 

Surrealplaces

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I've always felt 20th ave should be made up of denser development. It's ironic that there are denser developments on streets off of 20th ave, but 20th ave itself is becoming a corridor of duplexes. Hopefully with 20th ave zoning proposed for higher density up to 6 storeys, we'll see that happen. My feeling is developers would jump on it, if it happens.
 

Alex_YYC

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They proposed North Hill ARP looks great. In my mind, it's an optimum layout for good density and a good variety of housing options. From what I can see, it doesn't fall short in any way. Your vision of 20th ave being a low rise boulevard is probably going to happen. Catalyst is appropriately named, as it'll spur on more of that type of development.
 
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Alex_YYC

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I've always felt 20th ave should be made up of denser development. It's ironic that there are denser developments on streets off of 20th ave, but 20th ave itself is becoming a corridor of duplexes. Hopefully with 20th ave zoning proposed for higher density up to 6 storeys, we'll see that happen. My feeling is developers would jump on it, if it happens.
There haven't been any new duplexes built along 20th for a while, only a handful of 6 unit developments on corner lots. I bet developers are waiting to see how the proposed ARP plays out. If it gets approved, and it likely will, developers can start proposing larger projects and get them through without much opposition.
 

Urban Outdoorsman

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There haven't been any new duplexes built along 20th for a while, only a handful of 6 unit developments on corner lots. I bet developers are waiting to see how the proposed ARP plays out. If it gets approved, and it likely will, developers can start proposing larger projects and get them through without much opposition.
I think that's probably right, there's a couple large parcels on 20th that are supposed to become multi-unit housing and I strongly suspect developers are holding out for this to pass. These neighborhoods could really use some new housing types. As it stands they're almost entirely single family and duplexes, maybe the odd rowhouse.

That being said though, the city will eventually have to upgrade the pedestrian realm in these neighborhoods. The sidewalks along 4th, 10th and 14th are horrible. And 20th could use some tlc as well
 

Surrealplaces

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I think that's probably right, there's a couple large parcels on 20th that are supposed to become multi-unit housing and I strongly suspect developers are holding out for this to pass. These neighborhoods could really use some new housing types. As it stands they're almost entirely single family and duplexes, maybe the odd rowhouse.

That being said though, the city will eventually have to upgrade the pedestrian realm in these neighborhoods. The sidewalks along 4th, 10th and 14th are horrible. And 20th could use some tlc as well
Definitely need to upgrade some of the sidewalk action, they are pretty run down. I'm guessing once the ARP is approved we'll see lots of smaller to medium sized developments pop up. The area's ripe for the picking.
 

Urban Outdoorsman

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JoeUrban

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I've always felt 20th ave should be made up of denser development. It's ironic that there are denser developments on streets off of 20th ave, but 20th ave itself is becoming a corridor of duplexes. Hopefully with 20th ave zoning proposed for higher density up to 6 storeys, we'll see that happen. My feeling is developers would jump on it, if it happens.

One place I'm really liking rowhousing is along 4th St NW. Being that the homes by and large only face the avenues and not the street having rowhouses at the block ends could add hundreds of 'eyes on the street' on 4th that don't exist currently.
 

Urban Outdoorsman

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The pushback against the guidebook is unreal. Apparently some major PAC's are behind the misinformation campaign, buying out space in major publications

The Sprawl: Who's behind the anti-guidebook ads in Calgary?.
 

zagox

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The pushback against the guidebook is unreal. Apparently some major PAC's are behind the misinformation campaign, buying out space in major publications

The Sprawl: Who's behind the anti-guidebook ads in Calgary?.

I am all for the Guidebook, I think it's a step towards a functional planning system that makes consistent, rational decisions about land use for every block on a regular (10-15 year) basis. It is a step away from the ridiculous outdated ARPs that the City ignores in any case.

Having said that, it's been obvious for several years now that the document sets the stage to remove one of the biggest protections for single-family detached zoning - the existing inner city ARPs - and replacing them with new plans that have rowhouse/duplex/semi-detached/detached as the lowest intensity possible. Nenshi and others have said "this is just a list of possible ingredients for a local area plan, it doesn't change zoning." That is technically true, but it is blindingly obvious that if you have no ingredient in the kitchen for single-family detached zoning, when you go to cook up a local area plan, no single-family detached zoning will emerge in the cake!

I would have preferred that Council direct administration much more directly to study the issue of low density residential zoning, and propose how to change it. Propose to be like Minneapolis and allow triplexes on every lot that allows single family. Propose semi-detached is allowed everywhere. Propose single-detached exclusive zoning can only be used in Upper Mount Royal, Brittania, and any other neighborhood that is >95% white and >$200,000 average income. Whatever the proposal, let's just have the debate we need to have first, and then send administration away to go implement it.

The Guidebook tries to be too clever and avoids that hard conversation, while putting a huge thumb on the scale in favour of eliminating single-family detached zoning. Interest groups have rightly pointed this out. Hopefully we will now get to have the conversation we should have had in 2016 before they started this exercise.
 

darwink

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Right now can't every 25 foot wide lot support 3 units even with R-1 zoning? So for a 50 foot lot, 6 units seems totally fine.

Plus - economic freedom! Upper Mount Royal, Brittania, Elbow Park doesn't need special sfh only zoning. If they want to and it is popular, just make it a voluntary compact restrictive convenent. If everyone want to restrict their property, everyone should 100% be willing to sign up.
 

Urban Outdoorsman

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Although the lowest possible intensity does include row housing and such, I doubt that this document will eliminate all new detached infills. The way I see it it the housing market will determine what ultimately gets built, although that will no doubt include a lot of rowhouses, I suspect there will also be demand for detached and semi detached, etc.
 

darwink

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Although the lowest possible intensity does include row housing and such, I doubt that this document will eliminate all new detached infills. The way I see it it the housing market will determine what ultimately gets built, although that will no doubt include a lot of rowhouses, I suspect there will also be demand for detached and semi detached, etc.
Yeah, nothing bans SFH. It just doesn't bind your neighbour to be a SFH.
 

zagox

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Although the lowest possible intensity does include row housing and such, I doubt that this document will eliminate all new detached infills. The way I see it it the housing market will determine what ultimately gets built, although that will no doubt include a lot of rowhouses, I suspect there will also be demand for detached and semi detached, etc.
My guess is that Elbow Park-type areas will see a mix of semi-d, corner lot row housing, and detached. And a lot of people in Elbow Park apparently think that’s the end of the world.

Personally I don’t think they should have the right to stop similar scale housing being built next door to them. I do wish the City was more upfront with this pending change.
 

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