Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative

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Engagement has concluded

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Zoning is everywhere - from our parks and playgrounds, to garden suites and the downtown core. The purpose of zoning is to determine what can be built where. It sets the rules for where new buildings should go, what types of buildings they can be and what types of businesses and activities can happen on a property.

Rules for buildings and uses on private property in Edmonton combine to create the Zoning Bylaw. It is the instruction manual on how to build and use land in our city. For the first time in almost 20 years, Edmonton's Zoning Bylaw will go through a complete rewrite that involves rethinking what and why the City regulates, and to ensure the rules align with The Draft City Plan and other City policies and initiatives.


Read the Philosophy of the New Zoning Bylaw for more on why Edmonton needs a new Zoning Bylaw and what outcomes the new bylaw will support.

For more information about the discussion papers, please read the Discussion Paper Overview.

Read Here: Philosophy of the New Zoning Bylaw



Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative Discussion Papers

The discussion papers provide an entry point into the world of zoning by breaking it out into understandable parts and allowing Edmontonians to select topics that interest them. They explore various aspects of zoning and the Zoning Bylaw, and provide the preliminary thinking and direction for the bylaw’s regulatory framework. All Edmontonians - from developers to residents - are encouraged to explore topics that interest them and provide feedback through the Engage Edmonton platform.



The discussion papers will be released according to the following schedule. To engage on each topic during the engagement period, please click on the discussion paper topic you are interested in below. Once the engagement period is closed, you will be able to view the page but no longer use the engagement tools.

Discussion PapersEngagement Period
October 19 - November 13, 2020 - COMPLETE
October 20 - November 13, 2020 - COMPLETE
August 24 - September 18, 2020 - COMPLETE
July 13 - August 7, 2020 - COMPLETE


Zoning is everywhere - from our parks and playgrounds, to garden suites and the downtown core. The purpose of zoning is to determine what can be built where. It sets the rules for where new buildings should go, what types of buildings they can be and what types of businesses and activities can happen on a property.

Rules for buildings and uses on private property in Edmonton combine to create the Zoning Bylaw. It is the instruction manual on how to build and use land in our city. For the first time in almost 20 years, Edmonton's Zoning Bylaw will go through a complete rewrite that involves rethinking what and why the City regulates, and to ensure the rules align with The Draft City Plan and other City policies and initiatives.


Read the Philosophy of the New Zoning Bylaw for more on why Edmonton needs a new Zoning Bylaw and what outcomes the new bylaw will support.

For more information about the discussion papers, please read the Discussion Paper Overview.

Read Here: Philosophy of the New Zoning Bylaw



Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative Discussion Papers

The discussion papers provide an entry point into the world of zoning by breaking it out into understandable parts and allowing Edmontonians to select topics that interest them. They explore various aspects of zoning and the Zoning Bylaw, and provide the preliminary thinking and direction for the bylaw’s regulatory framework. All Edmontonians - from developers to residents - are encouraged to explore topics that interest them and provide feedback through the Engage Edmonton platform.



The discussion papers will be released according to the following schedule. To engage on each topic during the engagement period, please click on the discussion paper topic you are interested in below. Once the engagement period is closed, you will be able to view the page but no longer use the engagement tools.

Discussion PapersEngagement Period
October 19 - November 13, 2020 - COMPLETE
October 20 - November 13, 2020 - COMPLETE
August 24 - September 18, 2020 - COMPLETE
July 13 - August 7, 2020 - COMPLETE


CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Have questions about the new Zoning Bylaw? Post your questions here. You can expect a response to your question within five business days. Thank you!

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    It is my understanding that under the current legislation, every property owner has the right to apply to for rezoning at any time. If a rezoning application is denied, then a new application to rezone the same property can be filed the very next day. When this occurs, the city has no option but to spend the resources needed to throuroghly evaluate each rezoning application, no matter how many rezoning applications have recently been made for the same property. Is this a description essentially correct, or does there exist some mechanism in place to ensure a reasonable amount of time between successive rezoning applications, in order to conserve Planning resources and limit volunteer fatigue for engaged citizens and communities? Will any of this change under the new Zoning Bylaw?

    Mike B asked 2 months ago

    Hello,


    Thank you for sharing your comments and questions. The Zoning Bylaw sets a minimum wait time of 1 year between rezoning applications for the same zone on the same property. However, it is possible for an applicant to refine their application following refusal by Council and pursue another direction (ie, another zone) in less than 1 year. For instance, they may adjust a proposed direct control zone or shift their proposal to a less intensive standard zone (e.g., from the RA8 to the RA7 zone). We are not proposing to change this practice under the new Zoning Bylaw. 


    The City is providing a service in reviewing these applications, and the applicant pays for this service. If an applicant is refused by Council but wishes to continue with a development or redevelopment proposal that could ultimately benefit a community and/or support the city’s long term goals (e.g, climate resilience, efficient use of infrastructure, economic development, etc), we do not want to hold up that process. 


    We recognize that communities often invest significant time in reviewing and providing input on these proposals, and we appreciate the work that volunteers put in. However, we feel that adding an additional delay of this nature to the development process would be unnecessarily punitive and may only serve to slow our city’s economic development and the benefits it represents for Edmontonians.

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    How are noise pollution, air pollution and health equity being factored into the zoning bylaw? Apartments are residential as well but zoning practices focus them on multi-lane roadways that carry 10s of thousands of non-local traffic, with corresponding air and noise pollution impacts for residents. Please consider the below links: https://www.vancourier.com/real-estate/vancouver-renters-shouldn-t-be-noise-buffers-says-pro-housing-activist-1.24092327 https://globalnews.ca/news/6098915/air-pollution-traffic-study/

    Rauber asked 2 months ago

    Hello, thank you for your question and for sharing this article. 


    As with the current Zoning Bylaw, potential land use impacts such as noise and air pollution will be considered in terms of the range of activities that can occur in a given zone. For example, the noisier uses or those which may generate emissions are generally better suited for industrial zones.


    Health equity, as explored in the article you shared, is a topic of interest that is currently being reviewed through the development of a Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and Equity Toolkit. This process will provide an opportunity to identify and address potential social inequities, which have led to historical negative externalities, such as locating certain housing types in areas that may be considered “less desirable”. 


    The City Plan contains policy directing greater diversity of housing options in all neighbourhoods, and the new Zoning Bylaw proposes to address this by creating a new “Residential” use that does not specify a specific form of housing (eg, single detached house, rowhouse, etc), and focusing instead on regulating the scale and massing of the building(s). This would allow for a greater variety of housing forms in all neighbourhoods and would not privilege the single detached house over other forms.


    This proposed approach, plus some analysis through the GBA+ and Equity Toolkit, should help to identify and hopefully address the types of inequities you’ve identified. 

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    The new Zoning Bylaw is a rare opportunity to increase the health standards in our city. My best example is the location of Alberta Plywood on the corner of 99st and 63 avec. It is on land that has IH zoning (Heavy Industrial zoning). It is one of the only lands in the area that has this zoning, allowing them to pollute at alarming rates (www.emitter.ca). All other businesses directly surrounding Alberta Plywood have a different zoning: IB (Industrial business) and IM (medium industrial) zoning. Both these zones do not allow the toxic emissions permitted in the IH zoning. The IH 430.1 zoning clause reads as follows: IH 430.1 General Purpose The purpose of this Zone is to provide for industrial Uses that, due to their appearance, noise, odour, risk of toxic emissions, or fire and explosion hazards are incompatible with residential, commercial, and other land Uses. This Zone should normally be located on the interior of industrial or agricultural areas, such that it does not interfere with the safety, use, amenity or enjoyment of any surrounding Zones. IH - Heavy Industrial Zone bylaw http://webdocs.edmonton.ca/InfraPlan/zoningbylaw/ZoningBylaw/Part2/Industrial/430_%28IH%29_Heavy_Industrial_Zone.htm After speaking with the city of Edmonton planning and development, I was told that the city cannot control the toxic air emmisions, but we can take this opportunity to change the land zoning. Alberta Plywood have essentially “licenses to pollute” and if they go over their limit, they get fined. No real repercussion aside from monetary loss. It is important to note that when a company emits more than their license allows, there is a self reporting system in place where a company reports its higher than normal rate of emission to the province and in turn receives a fine. Since no one from the province is actively checking the emissions of industrial businesses or eliminating the health risks, this system is obviously business oriented, flawed and does not protect Edmontonians. My overall concern is that a High Industrial area being 1 block away from a residential zone. All new neighborhoods to have a “green field issue/zone”. This means that all residential development has to be a minimum of 1.5 kilometers away from any IH businesses. My frustrations here are that established neighborhoods do not get the same heath benefit as the new ones. The realities of living close to Alberta Plywood is that if the wind blows east, the emission of Alberta Plywood is 1 block from a residential and 4 blocks away from a major school. If the wind blows west, it is 3-4 blocks from another residential neighborhood, west of Calgary trail. The area in question originally was zoned IH because of the railroad system. They used to transport toxic material and also load/unload in these areas. Over the years most these areas have been rezoned because the rail system is not partaking in such activities. The area in question is the only IH in the area. I find it tremendously unacceptable that the city does not enforce the same zoning criteria for all residential zones in the city. We should not have to wait years or decades for this to change. We need to act now. This type of business ought to be in an industrial park (as stated in the bylaw), and at a minimum of 1.5 km of any residential area. The city of Edmonton does not seem to want to take responsibility or any action to change this reality. When I addressed this with them, they kept repeating their statement that air quality is not their concern; it’s a provincial issue. We need to find a way to change the zoning change now. This is crucial for a healthier neighborhood, healthier commercial zone, and ultimately a healthier city. The two lots beside the Alberta Plywood are zoned as: IB (Industrial Business) http://webdocs.edmonton.ca/InfraPlan/zoningbylaw/ZoningBylaw/Part2/Industrial/400_%28IB%29_Industrial_Business_Zone.htm IM (Medium Industrial) http://webdocs.edmonton.ca/InfraPlan/zoningbylaw/ZoningBylaw/Part2/Industrial/400_%28IB%29_Industrial_Business_Zone.htm Again, both these zones do not allow the IH 430.1 clause: IH – (Heavy Industrial) http://webdocs.edmonton.ca/InfraPlan/zoningbylaw/ZoningBylaw/Part2/Industrial/430_%28IH%29_Heavy_Industrial_Zone.htm

    Concerned Edmontonian asked 3 months ago

    Hello, thank you for sharing your comments. 

    The primary purpose of the Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative is to replace the current Zoning Bylaw with a new one. One outcome of this work is that it creates the need to replace the existing zones with the most similar new zone. This like-for-like replacement of zones will guide the proposed rezoning of the city; it is not our intent to use this process to remove current development rights. Unfortunately we would have to reiterate that emissions standards fall under provincial jurisdiction.

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    It seems that in many cases the zoning bylaws are the only legal document keeping developers to a reasonable standard in a community (which is why they ask for DC2 so often). How will these new bylaws ensure that residents and communities are protected?

    YEGengage asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your question.

    One of the key goals for the Zoning Bylaw Renewal is to allow for flexibility, adaptability and consistency in development outcomes. Part of this work includes the development of a decision framework and Gender Based Analysis Plus equity lens that will provide guidance to what and how we regulate within the Zoning Bylaw. 

    Administration will seek a balanced approach that meets the intentions of the new City Plan as well as the needs of all Edmontonians in an equitable way. The new City Plan is our new physical growth strategy for Edmonton’s future. It provides direction on how Edmonton will need to grow to achieve a more compact, efficient and livable city.

    In addition, the Zoning Bylaw is not the City’s only regulatory tool when it comes to supporting the health and wellbeing of Edmontonians. The Alberta Building Code regulates safety in terms of how a building is constructed, and other bylaws such as the Community Standards Bylaw regulate nuisances and safety as well, to help protect people and property. As part of the process of writing a new Zoning Bylaw, Administration will look to see that the Zoning Bylaw regulates the things it can effectively control, while non land use issues are handled by the appropriate regulatory tool.

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    Will you be looking at allowing small micro businesses (ie: ones that won’t impact parking or noise in an alley) to be permitted to run in garage suites? (ie: small pop-ups, registered massage/acupuncture, micro salon)

    RitchieMom asked 4 months ago

    Thanks for your question.

    As part of the Zoning Bylaw Renewal we will be looking into how we regulate home based businesses and examining whether our current approach meets the needs of our changing city. This has become particularly relevant in light of Covid-19 and the shift that has seen many people turn to working from home. As part of this work we will explore the possibility of allowing for  ‘micro businesses’ to operate in residential settings, and will be looking to hear from Edmontonians on this as we continue our engagement on the new bylaw. Stay tuned!

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    What are some of the unintended consequences of our existing zoning bylaw that we are now trying to address? What kind of thinking or process is being applied (beyond engagement like this) to help foresee some of those kinds of unintended consequences?

    Louise asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your question.

    Zoning is everywhere and the Zoning Bylaw contains the rules for building in our city. Unfortunately, due to the number of regulations and the breadth of topics it covers, the Zoning Bylaw has created some unintended consequences - some we may have become aware of, and some we may not. 

    One example of a regulation that had caused some unintended consequences is minimum parking requirements, which the City recently removed from the Zoning Bylaw. Minimum parking requirements were put in place decades ago to ensure an ample supply of parking for all homes and businesses. Over time, it became clear that unintended consequences of this requirement included the inefficient use of land and infrastructure, leading to increased cost of development and an oversupply of parking city-wide. The high cost of building parking has become a barrier to building affordable housing, for example, while an oversupply of parking has become a barrier to achieving a more compact, walkable city.

    In order to evaluate current regulations and draft the new Zoning Bylaw, Administration is developing a decision framework intended to be used as a tool that will enable the new bylaw to be flexible and adaptable to a constantly changing world. This is particularly important in allowing it to be set up in such a way that allows for it to quickly address unintended consequences.

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    Where does the "Mature Neigbourhood Overlay" fit into the proposed zoning bylaw or is that something that is being eliminated?

    KP Resident asked 4 months ago

    The Mature Neighbourhood Overlay would only be eliminated if its most important elements can be transferred into a standard zone. This would ensure the area continues to enjoy the benefits of the overlay while reducing the administrative burden and developer confusion associated with building in the areas. This will likely be proposed to be done through the use of zone modifiers. The modifiers would deal with items such as contextual front setbacks. Items such as vehicular access from an alley where one exists would potentially be an explicit regulation in the zones.

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    Where is the data? E.g. what were the worst 10 outcomes of existing zoning bylaws, their costs, and which changes or new bylaws will prevent recurrence? What were the best 10 outcomes, and where is our assurance that no proposed change would prevent recurrence?

    Resident-2020 asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your question. One of the purposes of this engagement process is to learn more about what “best” and “worst” outcomes mean to different Edmontonians. Sometimes, a “best” outcome for one group is a “worst” outcome for another. The Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative will require balancing industry, stakeholder, and resident outcomes with City goals and policy in documents such as ConnectEdmonton and The City Plan. 


    We are very interested in learning more about what you assess to be positive and negative outcomes of the current bylaw, and what you would like to see change. We encourage you to share your thoughts using the survey and forum tools on each discussion paper page. Thank you!