Sorry, missed this question. In my experience, the City of Vancouver focuses on policy that has more teeth and they are more willing to enforce it and be choosier about what they allow. Sure applications come in over height, or non-compliant with area plans, but developers are held accountable for what they present in a way that they don't seem to be in Calgary. I've seen developments in Chinatown in Vancouver die at heights and massing that was completely in line with Local Area Plans, because people didn't feel the building materials and design were up to snuff (and it was a pretty nice building). Not to say this is good, but Vancouver doesn't really just accept any old application and they tend to be more critical about what they allow. If i had to venture a guess why that is, I think that Calgary council and the general vibe of the City is that everyone is afraid to be perceived as 'anti-business' and that kind of morphs into an attitude that all investment/development is good, and being too critical is presenting 'unnecessary red-tape'. Being from the Vancouver market, this perplexes me, because if i went in with a lot of the applications that I see get approved in Calgary, I would know for sure that application would die in Vancouver. In Calgary it seems no one is all that picky about what they want, neighbourhoods don't have plans that include a cohesive vision for what they really want to see (ARPs) and have policy that allows it to be enforced, and everyone seems to accept that applications shouldn't be as heavily scrutinized. Also, everything in Vancouver is pretty much a DC.One thing I'd caution, and perhaps ask as far as the Vancouver experience: In Calgary everything in the ARP, height and density restrictions, and other guidelines, are regularly ignored and developments which don't follow ARP guidelines are often proposed and approved. This has led me to believe that any 'guideline' is useless in the Calgary context, particularly if it is listed in a guidance document as a 'guideline' and not a severe and hard restriction. What has been the experience in Vancouver?
It is pretty nuts that someone can come in with a land use redesignation only, no concurrent DP, that is basically double the height and FAR allowed in a local area plan, it sails through council, the developer never submits a DP and sells the land for a profit. You'd get killed by council and the public if you tried that shit in basically any Vancouver neighbourhood.