Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pilot project plans for new communities more efficiently

Posted by: Jamal Ramjohn & Nicole St. Arnaud

Did you know we’re expecting up to 124,000 new Calgarians in the next five years? To address this growth, Council has asked us to pilot a program to streamline the process for planning new communities.

For each new community in Calgary, an area structure plan is created to guide its growth. These plans direct decisions about the provision of essential services and facilities, land uses, transportation systems, population, jobs and densities, and the sequence of development. City staff from various departments work with key stakeholders like community residents, business owners, landowners and developers to create these documents.

For the pilot, we’ve focused on condensing the planning process by dedicating more staff resources to these projects and by finding efficiencies. One of our biggest wins has been from the creation of the New Community Planning Guidebook, a document that consolidates policies common to our most recent area structure plans. This means that each new area structure plan we create requires significantly less policy written into it because the policy is already established in the guidebook.

When the pilot project wraps up at the end of August 2014, we will be reporting back to City Council.

The goal is to have two area structure plans produced within a 12-month timeline – one for a new plan area called Rangeview in the city’s southeast and one for a new plan area called Cornerstone in the city’s northeast. In fact, we’re creating six new area structure plans by the end of 2015.

Once these new area structure plans are approved, further development processes occur such as land use amendments and development permits, which allow the plan area to develop. How long this development takes generally depends on market conditions. Our work is a foundational piece for planning great new communities and responding to Council’s request for increased planning efficiency, which means putting shovels in the ground sooner, en route to the nextCITY.

Want to learn more about this project? Check out our video with Matthias Tita, Director, Land Use Planning & Policy.

Jamal Ramjohn is a Senior Planner and Nicole St. Arnaud is Planner with The City of Calgary’s Land Use Planning & Policy unit. Jamal and Nicole are project managers for the Area Structure Plan Pilot Project.

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