May 20, 2024 Update

Dear Brentwood and Charleswood residents,

I’ve always tried to provide information that is factual and accurate when sending mailouts on behalf of the Development and Transportation Committee (DTC) of the Brentwood Community Association.  I’ve often been told I am being too neutral and should be providing more insights and personal opinions, although more recently, one person did write that I was presenting a biased viewpoint.  No pleasing everyone.

Today this is my own opinion as I am reassessing my DTC role.  After the lengthy blanket rezoning public hearings, I am completely disappointed and disillusioned by the process and by what I witnessed at council. If I no longer believe in the validity and importance of our community role in the development process, then I have a hard time telling “my” residents that their opinions matter and that they should get involved.

Our DTC meets on Monday, June 3rd, and then we will resume in September.  I’ve been chairing the DTC since 2018, and I will take a break from development over the summer before I decide on my next steps.

First, I’d like to thank every single person who has taken the time to write with your thoughts and feedback. Many of you wrote thoughtful and well-researched letters and I read every one which was sent either to me or to the BCA. Those letters, plus a well-attended meeting, plus a great deal of research were the basis for our BCA submissions opposing blanket rezoning.  I was also part of a group of 52 representatives from CAs across the city who met with the mayor to discuss our concerns.

On April 29, I spoke at Council both on behalf of the BCA as well as a citizen.  Some of you apparently watched the video and noticed that I was asked questions by Councillors for almost an hour.  I am proud of representing my community to the best of my ability, as did other presenters from Brentwood. I have received many notes of thanks and encouraging letters and I do treasure every one of them.  Thank you for your support.

The Blanket Rezoning Public Hearing was the longest Public Hearing in Calgary’s history (15 days), with 736 Calgarians presenting at Council and 6,101 Calgarians submitting a written statement, with over 13,000 pages in total. The majority of speakers at Council (about 70%) were opposed to blanket rezoning and the written letters were about 88% opposed.  Despite this overwhelming opposition, blanket rezoning was approved by a 9-6 vote.

In the end, regardless of how much public feedback, it all comes down to just 15 votes: 14 for the Councillors plus one for the mayor.  (Should the public have had a direct say?  Although a plebiscite was debated at Council, it too was defeated.)  The Councillors voting in favour of blanket rezoning were Jennifer Wyness, Jasmine Mian, Raj Dhaliwal, Richard Pootmans, Courtney Walcott, Gian-Carlo Carra, Koutney Penner, Evan Spencer plus Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

The six Councillors who opposed blanket rezoning were Sonya Sharp, Sean Chu, Terry Wong, Andre Chabot, Dan McLean and Peter Demong.  Some Councillors, especially Sonya Sharp and Andre Chabot, presented numerous Motions for amendments, but almost all were outvoted again and again.

At the conclusion of the lengthy Hearing, the task of Administration was to summarize 13,000 pages of submissions plus the comments from 736 Calgarians into a What We Heard (WWH) report.
The link to the presentation WWH presentation is here.  PowerPoint Presentation (escribemeetings.com) Page 3 has the WWH item list.  If you wrote or spoke, do you see your comments included?  You should.
Please watch the presentation and decide if you think this accurately represents all of the public input.  Start at 30:30. pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/Players/ISIStandAlonePlayer.aspx?Id=2b7000f6-7eca-475f-b9e0-857c4afebaee.

In my opinion, City Administration failed completely with the WWH report:  much of the citizen feedback was ignored, and therefore the report is inadequate, incomplete and misleading. The WWH summary does not mention specifics such as lot coverage (60%), drainage, massing, shadowing, windows overlooking, heritage or community character, and more – all of which were brought up over and over again by speakers. The WWH report seems to spend more time rationalizing why change should happen, rather than detailing all reasons for the massive opposition.

Here’s an example to try to explain why I am so disillusioned.  Imagine that you and a group of co-workers, 20 people in total, decide to order pizza one day.  An administrator is put in charge of determining what to order and asks for input.  17 people say pepperoni, 2 say vegetarian and one person wants Hawaiian.  Administration reports that “some” want pepperoni, and “some” want vegetarian (while completely leaving out the Hawaiian option). That report and summary is technically true, but it fails to convey an accurate picture of what has been said.  Administration then determines that vegetarian is better for you so that’s what will be ordered.  They feel they know what is best for the group as a whole, so even though a vast majority wanted pepperoni, that’s not what will happen.  What would your reaction be?

Statements such as “we’re all dealing with change” and “change is incremental” are dismissive and minimize the disruption that is faced by a homeowner who lives next to a single house that changes into an 8-unit building.  Speaker after speaker in opposition to blanket rezoning told emotional stories about why they bought their home and why they love their area, and how they worked and saved to make that possible.  Most acknowledged that change will happen and most agreed that more housing is needed but they wanted a stronger voice in how and where changes should happen.  Developers want blanket rezoning to simplify the process, and to allow them to profit from more rapid building, but they do not care about my community.

I finally figured out what is wrong with the debate over blanket rezoning. I haven’t heard a single inner-city builder talk about what they love about my community.  What is missing from the debate over blanket rezoning is that it fails to account for residents’ dedication and affection for their own unique communities, regardless of where they live in the city.  Developers see dollars where residents see a permanent home.

On my street, there are still some original owners who purchased their house in 1964 or 1965.  Nobody buys a house in the 1960s thinking that if they hang onto them until 2024, the house will be worth $700,000!  The houses were not commodities to be bought and sold to maximize profits, they were first and foremost homes.  What we lose with blanket rezoning is two things:  one is the right to a Council Public Hearing before the land use is changed, and the other is the sense of stability that has guided our community for over 60 years.

Of course, communities should change over time, we all agree on that, but blanket rezoning puts developers and investors in charge of how they change.  Developers build their project, then move on to the next one.  They do not have a stake in the community.  They do not come and help a senior in Brentwood rake up her leaves or shovel their sidewalk on cold winter days.  They do not fill our Brentwood Cares food box.  They do not care about the students renting our older homes with suites, the same ones that will be torn down in favour of more expensive units.

Developers may speak about affordability, but over 10 years of building R-CGs, there has not been a single thing stopping them from building an affordable home.  Why would any company build low-end low-cost housing forms when they can instead build expensive new R-CGs with more square footage, granite counters and other high end products?

Put the communities back in charge of their own communities.  We will figure out where to put density and housing forms.  We want the seniors to stay in our communities, and we will determine housing forms that work.  R-CG is not the right form:  too many stairs, for one thing. There were so many good ideas presented at Council; harness some of that energy and experience.

I have lost faith in the process at City Hall. When 13,000 pages and 2 weeks of hearings, with an overwhelming number of residents in opposition, cannot sway the outcome, I am left wondering what the point is of spending so much time and energy on a seemingly hopeless task.  I simply do not need the stress or the wasted efforts.

There have been many good things that have come out of this lengthy process, all of them related to the wonderful people I have met!  Connecting with residents from within Brentwood, as well as other CA board members from throughout the city have led to new friendships and a renewed appreciation for my own community.  Thank you for that.

Enjoy your summer and happy holidays.

If you would like to join our Community Association, you are always welcome to do so.  Contact the office at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403-284-3477.

Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the Development and Transportation Committee

May 13, 2024 Update – Hi Brentwood and Charleswood Residents,

Hi Brentwood and Charleswood Residents,

First a quick note for anyone interested in finding out more about City Planning.  The Federation of Calgary Communities (FCC) offers free seminars or events that are open to Board members, staff members, or volunteers of organizations that are paid members of the Federation.  The Brentwood CA is a member of the FCC, so if you are interested in planning or possibly joining the BCA team, try out this short online “Lunch and Learn” about the Planning Hierarchy on May 16, 2024 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm.
Register here  Lunch and Learn – Planning Hierarchy – Federation of Calgary Communities

Blanket Rezoning Public Hearing

Some of you have asked what the results were after the Blanket Rezoning Public Hearing or what the next steps will be.  This is a brief recap:

1.  Some Data from the largest Public Hearing in Calgary’s history
Total length of time:  Started on April 22, 2024 and ended at 9:17 on May 6, 2024
Total number of speakers:  736
Speakers in opposition to blanket rezoning:  458
Speakers in favour of blanket rezoning:  227
Speakers who were neutral:  51
Total number of written submissions:  6,101
Total pages of written submissions:  approximately 13,500

2.  Administration’s Recap Presentation of the Public Hearing (May 9th)

On May 9, Tim Keane, Calgary’s new General Manager of Planning and Development Services, presented a recap of the Public Hearing. He was to summarize what had been presented and heard during the entire Public Hearing.  Start at the 31:00 mark on this link.  pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/Players/ISIStandAlonePlayer.aspx?Id=2b7000f6-7eca-475f-b9e0-857c4afebaee

This is the slide deck that he presented:  https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/FileStream.ashx?DocumentId=286586

3.  What We Heard Reports and feedback
For all of you who submitted letters or emails, your feedback should have been included in the administration summary and in the reports. There were so many good comments and suggestions made during the 2 weeks of the Hearing and they should be captured in the reports.  Do you see your comments reflected?  You can check the Communication and Outreach Summary.  The last pages have the What We Heard comments.
https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=286661

Some media links are here:
https://calgaryherald.com/news/calgary-blanket-rezoning-public-hearings-what-we-heard-recap

https://livewirecalgary.com/2024/05/09/city-of-calgary-describes-what-it-heard-in-the-blanket-rezoning-public-hearing/
Letters to the editor:  https://epaper.calgaryherald.com/article/281663965102584

4.  Monday, May 13 at 11:30 a.m. – the meeting resumes with Council’s questions of clarification to Administration.
The public will not be able to speak since the Public Hearing was closed on May 9, but now each Councillor has the chance to ask questions.
Calgary’s Housing Strategy 2024-2030 – Land Use Amendment Citywide, LOC2024-0017, and Land Use Bylaw Amendments, CPC2024-0213 – Public Hearing Meeting of Council – May 13, 2024 (escribemeetings.com)

If you want to hear the opinions of each Councillor and the Mayor, this will be worth watching.
You can attend in person at Council Chamber or you can watch the Live Stream here: Council and Committee webcasts (calgary.ca)

5.  Motions and Amendments
After Councillors have asked questions, a main Motion will be introduced for debate. Amendments may also be introduced, debated and voted upon by Members of Council. Once all amendments have been addressed, and the debate is complete, all Council will vote on the Motion.

6.  Should you ever wish to express your opinions on any issue, you may write directly to any of the 14 City Councillors and the Mayor at these email addresses:

themayor@calgary.ca
sonya.sharp@calgary.ca

jennifer.wyness@calgary.ca

jasmine.mian@calgary.ca

sean.chu@calgary.ca

raj.dhaliwal@calgary.ca

richard.pootmans@calgary.ca
terry.wong@calgary.ca
courtney.walcott@calgary.ca
gian-carlo.carra@calgary.ca

andre.chabot@calgary.ca

kourtney.penner@calgary.ca

evan.spencer@calgary.ca

dan.mclean@calgary.ca
peter.demong@calgary.ca

Thank you to all Brentwood residents who spoke at Council.  All presentations and videos are available for viewing online.
It will be interesting to watch the outcome of this entire lengthy Public Hearing.

Melanie Swailes
On behalf of the Development and Transportation Committee

April 25, 2024 Update – Hi Brentwood and Charleswood Residents,

Some updates about the ongoing Blanket Rezoning Public Hearing as well as a meeting for a current application in Brentwood:

(Right now, with so much going on at City Hall, I’ve sent numerous mailouts. Please let me know if you no longer wish to receive these emails and I will promptly remove you from this list.  Thank you.)

  1. For the Blanket Rezoning Public Hearing, this is the City Clerks’ Public Service Announcement that provides more information on the hearing and how to register to speak.  This document has links to the Live Feed for watching the Public Hearing, as well as the Agenda and other items.

https://newsroom.calgary.ca/psa-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-land-use-amendment-citywide-rezoning-public-hearing/

  1. Yes, you are still able to register to speak. 

Every citizen is entitled to five minutes in front of Council.  (You will be cut off after 5 minutes, so make sure you time your speech!)
Note that you can either go to City Hall to speak, or you can phone in from home.

For more information on how to participate in the public hearing, go to calgary.ca/publichearing.

To register through the City of Calgary’s Online Portal, you can visit the link below:

Participate in public hearings of Council and committee (calgary.ca)

You can also register in person at the registration desk located in the Municipal Building Atrium.  If you have a written submissions to present in person, they will still be accepted.

  1. Update on a new Change of Land Use (Rezoning) Application in Brentwood
    The BCA has received an application for a potential change of Land Use from R-C1 to M-CG, which would allow for multiple dwelling units on the site (exact number to be determined at a later stage).
    Some conceptual drawings have been posted on the Brentwood CA website:
    https://developments.brentwoodcommunity.com/current-developments/2936-blakiston-dr-nw/

Since this is a Land Use Change, it may be of interest to residents in a broader area, and you can look up more information here:  Development Map (PDMAP) (calgary.ca)
This site explains a Change of Land Use Land Use Amendment (calgary.ca)

  1. Open House – May 2nd from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at the Brentwood CA, upstairs in the Boardroom

Notice – Open House re Land Use Amendment Application re 2936 Blakiston Dr NW – Brentwood Community Association
The applicant will be holding an open house to gather feedback from residents.

Note that this is an open house, not a meeting, so you can drop in at any time during the hours noted.

Development and Transportation Committee

April 19, 2024 Update – Hi Brentwood and Charleswood Residents,

Some important news and information about the April 22 Blanket Rezoning Public Hearing:

1.  First, a huge thank you to everyone who has sent emails, letters or made phone calls to the Brentwood CA regarding the proposed blanket rezoning!
While our goal is usually to reply to every letter or comment received, in this case, that just hasn’t been possible.  Rest assured that we have read your emails and that we have used your comments in our BCA submission to Council.
The BCA letter to Council will be included in the public submissions and we have posted it on our website here as well:  Blanket Rezoning & Other Land Use Amendments – Brentwood Community Association
The Development and Transportation Committee has created a What We Heard Report based on all of the feedback forms received after the meeting.  Thanks to Dianne and Madeleine for an outstanding job on this document!  (Due to cutoff dates, as well as the quantifiable data on the form, the WWH does not include letters received subsequently, although the community letter did include that feedback.)
The link for the WWH is here.  WHAT-WE-HEARD-final-report-Brentwood-Community-Association.pdf (brentwoodcommunity.com)

2.  Update on Parks along John Laurie Blvd.
For those of you who submitted comments and concerns, please consider going to City Hall to present your concerns.  The BCA has submitted letters asking for a rezoning to S-SPR instead of R-CG but this is not something that the City is considering at this time.  The City response is that these areas will remain as parks even if redesignated to R-CG.  If you are able to phone in or to attend in person, please consider expressing your concerns directly to City Council.

3.  Update on a new Change of Land Use (Rezoning) Application in Brentwood
The City has posted a large signboard on Blakiston Drive regarding a potential change of Land Use from R-C1 to M-CG, which would allow for multiple dwelling units on the site (exact number to be determined at a later stage).  Since this is a Land Use Change, it may be of interest to residents in a broader area, and you can look up more information here:  Development Map (PDMAP) (calgary.ca)
This site explains a Change of Land Use Land Use Amendment (calgary.ca)
As part of the process, there is “Community outreach – The applicant may choose to conduct outreach with the community before submitting their application. For more information on Community Outreach connected to planning and development, visit calgary.ca/planningoutreach?.”
If you are interested, please leave your name and contact information at the BCA.  office@brentwoodcommunity.com

  1. Monday, April 22 – Rally at City Hall at 9:00 a.m.
    Details on the rally can be found here.  Please let us know if you are going so we can try to meet you.

Blanket Upzoning – Rally for Communities | April 22, 2024 (eventcreate.com)

  1. This is expected to be a multi-day Public Hearing, starting on April 22.
    Every citizen is entitled to five minutes in front of Council.  (You will be cut off after 5 minutes, so make sure you time your speech!)
    Note that you can either go to City Hall to speak, or you can phone in from home.

For more information on how to participate in the public hearing, go to calgary.ca/publichearing.

  1. Speaker Panels:
    If you are interested in speaking, panels of speakers will present in groups of five at the Council Hearing. If you are interested in speaking and would like to connect with others or try to arrange to speak at the same time, please contact the Brentwood CA at office@brentwoodcommunity.com.
  2. The Council Agenda for Monday has been posted.

All the documents are under 7.2.1 and there are over 5,000 public submissions!  https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/Meeting.aspx?Id=ebebe843-9973-424f-b948-d25117da269c&Agenda=Agenda&lang=English

  1. Multi-Community Letter
    Many Community Associations have worked together to create a Multi-Community Letter.  There are 48 communities as of the date the letter had to be submitted and the BCA is one of the signatories.
    https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=282973f
  2. The results of feedback gathered by the City
    There were more than 5,500 public submissions totaling over 13,000 pages of published material.
    If you’re wondering how you can possibly review that much material, keep in mind that Councillors are facing the same mountain of material.  That’s why it is important to go down to City Hall and speak in person:  at least you have the attention of Councillors for 5 minutes!
    Start with a few of the key reports:

Attachment 5 is six pages long and contains a summary of what the City did in terms of communication, as well as a summary of what they heard.
From Page 4, “Of the comments analyzed to date, approximately one-third are supportive of the proposed rezoning and two-thirds are opposed. Below is a summary of themes heard to date”.

https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=282951

  1. The Summary of Proposed Land Use Bylaw Amendments
    One page only, this is the list of the actual items that will be debated and voted on at Council.
    https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=282950
    While blanket rezoning has grabbed most of the attention, note that this also includes items such as allowing both a Backyard Suite and a Secondary Suite on the same parcel, Removing Backyard Suite Parking Requirements, and others.
  2. How to Watch the Public Hearing
    You can follow the Council meeting using the live stream: http://www.calgary.ca/watchlive
  3. Federation of Calgary Communities Letter
    “The FCC supports 156 Community Associations and approximately 80 other community-based non-profits throughout Calgary.  This letter reflects feedback we have received, identifies trust breakdowns, and offers recommendations for consideration.
    Please read the letter here.

FedYYCRezoningLtr042024.pdf (brentwoodcommunity.com)

Stay tuned.  This will be a lengthy Council meeting and thanks for your interest.

Development and Transportation Committee

Hi Brentwood and Charleswood Residents,

Even now, after many months of news, Bugle articles, a meeting and direct mailouts, the question still comes up, “Will blanket rezoning apply to my street?”  Likely, yes!  (see map link below)   In fact, a resident has already contacted the BCA about a large sign that went up this week for an application in Brentwood to rezone a current R-C1 (“single family”) house into multiple dwelling units.  The next most common question is, “Well, if there is an application for an R-CG, can’t we just oppose it?”  Consider that without the blanket rezoning in place, over 90% of R-CG applications throughout the city get approved already now:  after blanket rezoning, you would not be able to argue against having multiple units on the site, although you could provide input on the Development Permit aspects (things such as window placement or similar aspects).

You may be in favour of blanket rezoning, you may be against it – speak out if you wish to have some input.  At a recent meeting, one councillor told the crowd that they need to write letters and they need to come to Council to speak.  He said that it does no good to complain to your friends and neighbours because they are not the ones that will be voting on the issue.  Unless you speak out, nobody knows what you are thinking.

Read and learn more.  There are some links at the end of this mail.

Some important notes about the Public Hearing for Blanket Rezoning:

1.  April 15th – noon – Deadline for Public Submission letters for the Blanket Rezoning
This is the deadline to send written public submissions which will be included in the agenda for the public hearing.
You can still send letters or emails to the Councillors and the mayor after this date, but they just won’t be included in the public submissions package.

  1. Please resend your letter to the City Clerk’s Office if you have sent it directly to the Brentwood CA, to Councillors or to the Mayor.
    Letters will not be automatically included in the public submissions unless you have also sent to the clerk’s office.  Due to FOIP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy), you have to fill out the short form located here:
    Public Submission to City Clerk’s Office (calgary.ca)
  2. Brentwood CA What We Heard Report
    Thank you to everyone who sent emails, letters or called us!  We are compiling our report and will include it with the BCA letter to Council regarding the blanket rezoning.  We appreciate all the feedback that we have received.
  3. April 22nd – Public Hearing Meeting of Council begins at 9:30 am. 

This is expected to be a multi-day Public Hearing.  If you are not free on April 22, chances are highly likely that there will be subsequent days and other opportunities to speak or watch the meetings.  https://www.calgary.ca/council/meetings/agenda-minutes.html

On this link, you will find 4 headings:  Agendas, Watch Live, Submit and Speak.  Click on each one to get further information.

  1. Speaking at Council
    You may speak to Council at the meeting:  every citizen is entitled to five minutes in front of Council.  (Note:  practice your timing as you will be cut off precisely at 5 minutes!)
    For more information on how to participate in the public hearing, go to calgary.ca/publichearing.
  2. To Register to Speak
    You may speak in person (at City Hall) or on-line (phone-in).

    To register, this is the form.  Public Submission to City Clerk’s Office (calgary.ca)
    There have been a few questions about how to fill out several questions on the form.
    What do you wish to do? If you just wish to submit a comment, click that button.  If you wish to speak as well, also click that button.
    You do not have to speak; you can just submit a letter.
    You can also just speak without having submitted a letter.
    Which meeting do you wish to comment on?  Select “Council”.
    Which agenda item do you wish to comment on?  The Agenda is not yet published, so just write “Blanket Rezoning” and it should get to the appropriate category.7.  Submitting Materials (presentation, photos, etc.)
    The last section on the form has more information on how to attach a document.  Again, you do not have to attach anything if you just wish to speak (or if you haven’t finished your presentation yet).8.  Speaker Panels
    If you are interested in speaking, panels of speakers will present in groups of five at the Council Hearing.  You can watch the hearing online so that you know about when your turn will come up.  If you miss your turn, you can join a subsequent panel.
    If you wish to speak and would like to connect with others or try to arrange to speak at the same time, please contact the Brentwood CA at office@brentwoodcommunity.com.
  3. Where to find further information:
    City of Calgary –
    A link to extensive materials and resources can be found here: Rezoning for housing (calgary.ca)

Map of rezoned areas – For a full map showing which areas and which communities will now be zoned, please click here.

Brentwood Bugle – April issue:  April 2024 – Brentwood Community Association

Alternative Viewpoints

Communities MatterHome | Communities Matter  – information mostly in opposition to blanket rezoning.  Scroll down the issues section for a detailed document with pros and cons of the proposed changes.

Better Infill Edmonton – Edmonton based, but many news articles on their website under archives: https://www.betterinfill.ca/learn-more-1

  1. Consider joining your Community Association.
    Help support our community through your annual membership.  See details here.
    https://brentwoodcommunity.com/registration/Information from the February open house, including a feedback form and Where to Find More Information:

https://brentwoodcommunity.com/2024/02/05/bca-meeting-and-open-house-thursday-february-8th-2024-blanket-city-wide-rezoning-to-r-cg/

Interested in learning more about City Planning?  Saturday, April 13, 9:00 to 12:00, free event at the BCA, hosted by the Federation of Calgary Communities.

https://brentwoodcommunity.com/2024/04/05/partners-in-planning-event-apr-13-2024/
Sign up here:

https://calgarycommunities.com/events/pip3/

We have attached a detailed paper about the pros and cons of Blanket Rezoning:

Please click on this link to view the document.

Housing and Affordability Task Force Recommendations – May 4 2023

Rezoning for housing

Calgary needs more homes. Citywide rezoning will help.

With the approval of Home is Here: The City of Calgary’s Housing Strategy, Council directed us to take actions to address the housing crisis. One of these actions is the proposed citywide rezoning to a base residential district, or zone. This change will help increase the supply of housing to meet demand. Also, it reduces the costs and timelines for permit approvals. Finally, it allows for greater housing variety and options to suit your needs.

For more information on the City of Calgary’s proposal on the rezoning please click here.

BCA Guidebook Update – March 19, 2021

A letter was sent on behalf of Brentwood Community Association to Mayor Nenshi and City Councillors on March 15, 2021 re the Guidebook and community concerns.  Please click here to view the letter.

The Guidebook is lengthy (131 pages) and written in Planning jargon so some residents have commented that they do not understand it or know what to look for.  We have created a link on the BCA website to a document which summarizes some of our concerns, as well as provides some examples. Click here to view the presentation.

Hi Brentwood and Charleswood Residents

Re the Guidebook, are you confused yet?! 

It would be rather surprising if you were not because there have been so many different viewpoints in the media over the past week.  This is lengthy, but many of you have questions, so please read further.

For starters, is the Guidebook really a statutory document or not?  Yes, it definitely is.
Page 4 states “the Guidebook is a statutory document that builds on the city-wide policies of the Municipal Development Plan….”

On Global news this week, you may have heard the Mayor quoted as saying: “It’s not a statutory plan. It’s not a law. It’s a guidebook.” https://globalnews.ca/news/7703332/calgary-community-guidebook-planning/

However, the City lead Planner for the Guidebook later confirmed that the Mayor spoke in error, and yes, the Guidebook is a statutory document.

What that does illustrate is that the Guidebook is a complex and difficult to understand and interpret correctly.

The BCA has posted some updates on our website here: https://developments.brentwoodcommunity.com/

There are many different opinions about the Guidebook.  Other individuals and Community Associations have created a website called “Calgary Guidebook” and have posted materials here: http://calgaryguidebook.ca

It’s worth checking out letters from other community associations to read what they think.

A Facebook site has been also created here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1337271716651346

This is the official City of Calgary Guidebook website:  http://calgary.ca/guidebook

 What is the position of the BCA?
On many city-wide issues, the BCA does not usually take a position, i.e. fluoride, speed limits, or public art.  Residents may have widely different opinions, and all are worth of merit.  On the Guidebook, we have published many articles in the Bugle over the past year, posted information on the CA website and Facebook page, and have tried to present the information in a neutral and balanced way.

Recently a resident told me that he needs help interpreting the Guidebook.  At 131 pages and with a lot of planning jargon, it is not easy to understand.  The resident said he wants to understand the concerns that might exist or where to look, so we have provided a summary of our concerns on a slide deck posted on the website. http://brentwoodcommunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Guidebook-Summary-of-Concerns.pdf

We have heard from many of you, and we have reflected what we heard in our BCA Public Submission letter.  It will be posted on the DTC site here: https://developments.brentwoodcommunity.com/

This is the official City of Calgary Guidebook website:  http://calgary.ca/guidebook

Some questions that we are receiving:

 Why do we need a Guidebook in the first place?

The city continues to portray the Guidebook as merely a “menu” of choices, which communities will use in the future to create a Local Area Plan (LAP) which will select from the Guidebook menu to determine where to put new density.

Sounds good.  What’s the problem?

The Guidebook menu does not include a single-family-only option.  The smallest menu option you can select is “Neighbourhood Local” which includes R-C1 (single family), but also duplexes, triplexes, rowhouses and townhouses.

You can certainly keep your R-C1 property, and you can certainly build a new R-C1 home, but builders / developers can also select from the same menu.  They might choose a townhouse and that would be allowed since it is considered a low-density building form.

In addition, you can’t choose the smallest option for any collector roads.  Collector roads are roads you likely use daily if you drive somewhere.  Therefore, in our community, this will mean that Northmount, Brisebois, Charleswood, Bulyea, Capri, and 52nd Ave will likely be identified as collectors, meaning you can only choose higher density options on the menu. Once the LAP is set, the city will support development that meets the criteria.

So, won’t we be able to decide all this at the Local Area Plan Stage?  Who participates in a LAP?

– It won’t be open to all residents who wish to participate; residents will have to apply to participate, and the city will select representatives to participate in the LAP development.  (For example, on the pilot LAP North Hill Communities group, there were 32 members in the working group, made up of: 10 representatives from the area Community Associations/ Business Improvement Association, 3 Development Industry Representatives and 19 members from the general community.  See https://engage.calgary.ca/NorthHill/WorkingGroup)

– The LAP development process will be a highly structured exercise (i.e. a community cannot just opt out of changes).

– Provisions which will be allowed in the LAP will be limited to those set out within the Guidebook framework.

If the Guidebook is approved at Council (on March 22nd), what will change in Brentwood?

  • Initially, nothing at all.
  • The Guidebook policies do not come into effect until a Local Area Plan also exists for a community. The city has already determined that Brentwood will be part of District 14, along with Dalhousie, Charleswood, Triwood, Collingwood, Cambrian Heights, Rosemont and Highwood.
  • No date has yet been determined for the LAP for our area. Other areas have LAPs in progress.

What is the Concern around R-C1 homes?

– The lowest density ‘zoning’ recognized in the Guidebook is Neighbourhood Local which includes R-C1 (singles), R-C2(semis) and R-CG(townhomes).

– When the LAP working group is looking at a street presently zoned R-C1, under the Guidebook framework it would likely become an area identified in the LAP as being designated “Neighbourhood Local”.  Since Neighbourhood Local is the lowest category, there is no other option unless you want to see it designated even higher density, commercial, etc.

This is a Guidebook illustration of “Limited Scale” in the “Neighbourhood Local” category.

– Once the LAP process is complete and the LAP is approved, any existing Area Redevelopment Plans (ARP) are repealed. Brentwood’s Station ARP would no longer be in use, instead the LAP would apply.

Could a developer build a townhouse on a current R-C1 lot?

– R-C1 only allows for a single house on the property, but any owner can apply to rezone his property.

– That possibility exists now, so the Guidebook doesn’t change that.

– The developer would have to apply to re-zone the property from R-C1 to R-CG.

– The applicant would submit a re-zoning application, at which time the LAP is referenced and the proposed use is allowed under the LAP which is now the guiding policy.
– The re-zoning application would likely be approved.  Since Brentwood falls into Zone B in the Guidebook, there would be little or no basis on which to object or appeal the decision.

– Simply put, under the Guidebook framework there is no ability to create a LAP that will provide the same level of control on redevelopment that existing RC-1 zoning does.

Huh? What does this really mean?

– The Guidebook does not change your community on its own.

– The Guidebook sets the stage for a new Local Area Plan which will guides redevelopment.

– It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario:  The Guidebook sets out all the guidelines, which then have to be followed when creating a plan for each community.  The LAP for the community must follow the Guidebook.

(For example, a community cannot opt out of increased density or put it all in another community.)

  • One concern is that the Guidebook is more vague or subject to interpretation that the current residential land uses, whereas R-C1 or R-C2 are simple and easy to understand. However, R-C1 is very restrictive in terms of what can be built, and the Guidebook seeks to create greater varieties of residential buildings, including up to townhouses.
  • Some people think that the term “Guidebook” is misleading: Guidebook seems to be a reference or suggestion, but this Guidebook will be statutory.

How does this really work?  Has this been tried?

  • If you would like to see how this process would be applied, a pilot LAP was completed for the North Hill Communities group.
  • The FAQs from that LAP group will provide some further insights, including what people liked and didn’t like about the outcome.

https://s3.ca-central-1.amazonaws.com/hdp.ca.prod.app.cgy-engage.files/6216/1481/5589/North_Hill_Communities_Local_Area_Plan-Jan2021-InfoSession_QA.pdf

For further comments, opinions, and other CA letters, please go to www.CalgaryGuidebook.ca

This is a private website, but it is serving as the place for many CAs to post their information.

You will also find links to the Council Hearing and all of the Agenda Attachments for the meeting have been posted there as well.

Welcome to the Brentwood Development and Transportation Committee Site!

Here you’ll be able to find the latest information about developments in the Brentwood community.

Development and Transportation Committee

The community of Brentwood is currently experiencing a large volume of Development Permits (DPs) for both small and large new development projects.  Due to the scale and number of projects planned for Brentwood, we felt that our community and the voices of the residents needed representation when dealing with the City of Calgary and project developers.  We have seen a strong interest and concerns from Brentwood residents and surrounding communities on some of the DPs and felt that we needed to keep everyone updated on the process and progress of these potential developments.

This Development site will provide information on current, existing and new DPs and other pertinent information to the residents of Brentwood.  It will also allow you to provide your comments and concerns.

For big projects like the Brentwood Co-op development, as one example, we will provide updates on the Development site and all communication and correspondence that we have with the City of Calgary about our concerns with that project.

Please keep visiting this site to check for updates and new postings.

Community Development Guidelines: Values and Vision

New Community Development Guidelines – September 2019

The Development and Transportation Committee (DTC) has revised the Community Development Guidelines for Brentwood.

Suggestions and comments should be submitted to the BCA.

Click here for BCA Guideline