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EVAN WOOLLEY 

WARD 8 COUNCILLOR

Email: ward08@calgary.ca

Phone: +1 (403) 268-2431

DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Richmond Knob Hill is experiencing a significant redevelopment activity as we transition from a 1950s bungalow community to a denser infill community.  The members of the RKHCA Development Committee monitor this redevelopment activity by reviewing all rezoning, subdivision and development permit applications that are circulated to us by the City of Calgary Planning & Development Department, providing comments thereon in an effort to ensure that redevelopment projects in our community are respectful of the neighbouring properties, of the streetscape, and of the community as a whole.  To facilitate this process, and ian effort to ensure both consistency and transparency, the Development Committee created a set of Residential Development Design Guidelines which it encourages new developments in Richmond/Knob Hill to follow.

Check out the Development & Subdivision Permit Application List, which shows all applications for redevelopment projects in Richmond/Knob Hill which are either currently going through the approval process or which have completed the approval process since the beginning of this year.  This list gives an indication of the number of development-related applications that the Committee monitors and comments on.

Other documents relevant to redevelopment projects in our community include:

    1. Richmond Area Redevelopment Plan
    2. Marda Loop Area Redevelopment Plan
    3. City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw 1P2007

Thank you to this very industrious and busy group for helping to keep our neighbourhood a place to call home. 

MOBILITY COMMITTEE

Richmond Knob Hill is an evolving community and increasing density brings change to how the street network is used. Attention to multi-modal transportation and safety for all road users should be considered in our planning. The following projects have potential to change how our streets are used: the City of Calgary’s Urban streetscape project and Mobility Plan for 33 Ave., the SW BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), ongoing development in Currie Barracks and continued redevelopment of the area’s original homes.

In planning for the future and trying to improve safety on our roads, understanding where challenges exist in the movement around our community from people who use the streets in their daily life seems like a way to get a conversation started. A map is a great way to represent resident’s concerns spatially and to give us meaningful input for stakeholder discussions.

So, what should you do if you have a mobility concern (traffic, bike, pedestrian, other mode, parking)?

First, make sure you are safe and report it to the City @ 311 or the Police depending on the severity - follow this link to see the appropriate level.

Next, please send  a short email to the RKHCA Mobility committee with a description of your concern and it’ll be added anonymously to the map if appropriate. Thanks for your help.

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  • February 01, 2017 7:00 AM | Anonymous member

    The City of Calgary's Main Street initiative has identified 24 streets in Calgary as "Main Streets", and is looking to encourage growth and vibrancy along those streets and in the surrounding areas. The community of Richmond/Knob Hill is bordered by two such Main Streets, being 17 Avenue SW and 33 Avenue SW. The City has selected the area along the portion of 17 Avenue SW that runs from Crowchild Trail to 37 Street SW as one of the first areas to be assessed by the Main Streets group. Several Open Houses were held last year to obtain public input, and taking into account that input the Main Streets group is now proposing to create two new mixed-use land use districts for use along Main Streets, and then to rezone properties located along 17 Avenue SW to these new land use districts, and to up-zone properties in the adjacent area to allow higher density developments. 

    The two new mixed-use land use districts are proposed as follows:

    1. Mixed Use – Flexible (MU-1) District
    • Intended to be located along commercial streets where a mix of different uses could be located at the street level including commercial, residential or office type uses.
    • Allows flexibility in terms of which uses are located at the street level
    • Accommodates a mix of uses within a single building or within multiple buildings throughout an area.

    2.  Mixed Use – Commercial (MU-2) District

    • Intended to be located along commercial streets where commercial uses are located at grade in order to promote activity at the street level.
    • Requires that every building have commercial type uses, such as shops and restaurants, at street level.

    Development supported in both of these districts would typically consist of street-oriented midrise buildings between four and six storeys in height and generally not exceeding ten storeys. The proposed districts focus regulation on the interface of the building with the street rather than on the floor area of uses. Design standards at the street level include requirements for clear glazing at eye level, maximum frontage length per use, and individual entrances for each use. Requirements include a building stepback on street facing facades for buildings that are taller than six storeys in height. On upper storeys, separation distances for windows, balconies and towers provide access to light and air. When new buildings back onto a lower scale residential property, an angular plane steps the building height down to minimize visual mass and shadowing.

    The City-initiated rezoning of properties along 17 Avenue SW and adjacent areas is proposed to include the following:

    1. properties along the south side of 17 Avenue SW:
    • from 24 Street SW to 29 Street SW would generally be rezoned to MU-1 with a 23m (5 - 6 storey) height limit;
    • from 30 Street SW to 37 Street SW would generally be rezoned to MU-2 with a 26m (7 - 8 storey) height limit;

    2.  properties on the remainder of the first block south of 17 Avenue SW will generally retain their existing M-C1 zoning, which has a 14m (3 - 4 storey) height limit;

    3.  properties immediately south of 19 Avenue SW would generally be rezoned to R-CG with an 11m (3 storey) height limit; and

    4.  properties on the north side of 17 Avenue SW from 24 Street SW to 29 Street SW would generally be rezoned to MU-1 with a 22m (5 - 6 storey) height limit, and the next properties to the north would generally be rezoned to R-CG with a 11m (3 storey) height limit.

    The RKHCA Development Committee is concerned that allowing 22m - 26m tall buildings (similar to the 23m/6 storey tall Shoppers Drug Mart building in Marda Loop) along this stretch of 17 Avenue SW, and particularly along the south side, will result in a "Main Street" that is not "human scale" and is in shadow much of the year, and therefore not a place where people are likely to want to spend time year round. Rather than putting the tallest building heights right on 17 Avenue SW we would prefer to see them set further back, such as in the middle of the first block south of 17 Avenue, tapering down to 3 - 4 storeys on the south side of 17 Avenue SW. This would allow 17 Avenue SW to retain a more human scale and would allow more sunlight to reach the sidewalk on the north side of the street during the shoulder seasons. We have communicated this concern and suggestion to the City's Main Streets group, but to no avail.

    The changes proposed by the City's Main Streets group are scheduled to go to the Calgary Planning Commission on February 23, to the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development on March 8 and then to City Council for a public hearing on April 10. We encourage residents of Richmond/Knob Hill to learn more by going to calgary.ca/mainstreets and then share their views on these proposed changes with Ward 8 Councillor Even Woolley and the rest of City Council either at or in advance of the public hearing.

  • January 01, 2017 7:00 AM | Anonymous member

    The Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) has now issued its written decision in respect of RKHCA's appeal of the approved development permit for a 5-storey, 135-unit condo development at 2418 33 AV SW.

    As you may recall, the issues raised in the appeal included:

    1. excessive density/intensity: the number of residential units on the parcel would be increased from 15 to 135, well beyond the maximum allowed under the parcel's previous M-C1 zoning or contemplated under the recently approved Marda Loop Area Redevelopment Plan (the "MLARP"), which is intended to govern, and establish a vision for, the redevelopment of the Marda Loop business district;
    2. excessive size/mass: the building would not comply with the side setback and side and front upper storey stepback requirements under the Land Use Bylaw and the MLARP, its Floor Area Ratio (FAR) would exceed the maximum FAR contemplated under the MLARP and it would have no significant articulation along its extremely long front facade;
    3. excessive overshadowing: single family homes across the rear lane would receive no sun in their south-facing main floor windows for an estimated 2.5 months per year, from early November to late January;
    4. inadequate public realm: the minimum 6m wide front boulevard/sidewalk as called for by the MLARP is not provided for;
    5. main floor uses: no retail/commercial uses on the main floor, and not designed to allow for future conversion to retail/commercial, as called for by the MLARP;
    6. traffic, vehicle access and transit: the proposed relocation of the existing NB restrictor at the intersection of 33 Avenue SW and 22 Street SW would likely lead to increased traffic tie-ups on 33 Avenue SW and increased cut through traffic on 22 Street SW; and
    7. trees: inadequate proposed trees -- mainly Swedish Columnar Aspen, which would never have a meaningful canopy, and Siberian Larches, which although coniferous would not provide any winter colour or windbreak as they lose their needles in the fall.

    The SDAB decision allowed the RKHCA's appeal in part by requiring the following changes to be made to the plans for the proposed development:

    1. trees: replace the Siberian Larches with another species of coniferous tree that does not lose its needles in the fall.

    That's it.

    No changes to address the excessive density/intensity.

    No changes to address the excessive size/mass.

    No changes to address the excessive overshadowing of adjacent single family homes.

    No changes to address the inadequate public realm.

    No changes to address the lack of main floor retail/commercial, or even future convertibility to retail/commercial.

    No changes to address the traffic, vehicle access and transit issues.

    Wow….

    Apparently, it doesn't matter that the proposed development fails to comply with several key provisions of the MLARP, and fails to even come close to satisfying the overall "vision" for the Marda Loop business district, as set out in Section 2.1 of the MLARP (annotations added):

    “Marda Loop is envisioned to become a vibrant, successful area that will cater to both residents and visitors alike. Through mixed-use development (NO) and modest increases in density (NO), the area will incorporate a desirable mix of residences (NO), shops (NO), and offices (NO) that enhance the livability of the area during the day (NO) and at night (NO). A high standard of urban design will respect the existing community character through human-scaled buildings (NO) and by providing sensitive transitions to the adjacent residential streets (NO). The area will feature a pleasant, walkable public realm (NO) with wide sidewalks (NO), street trees (A FEW), attractive lighting (NO) and street furniture (NO). Marda Loop will continue to be a desirable place to live, work and play (QUESTIONABLE).”

    This is the first major development proposal to be submitted for approval since the MLARP was approved by City Council in 2014, and therefore is the first major development that should have been designed to comply with the MLARP vision and requirements. Unfortunately, this developer decided not to follow the MLARP vision, but rather to maximize both the size of the building and the total number of units. That is disappointing, but not entirely unexpected, as developers are business people and as such maximizing profits is often their primary objective. What is incredibly disappointing is that neither City Administration, nor Ward 8 Councillor Woolley, Ward 11 Councillor Pincott and the rest of City Council, nor the SDAB were willing to step up and require this developer to change their plans to make the proposed development consistent with the MLARP vision.

    If you get the sense that we are unhappy, you are correct. The MLARP may not be a very robust Area Redevelopment Plan, as it was developed through what was referred to as an "ARP-lite" process rather than a full and proper ARP process. However, the MLARP is (at least in part) the product of considerable public and community engagement, and at the moment is all we have to work with to help the Marda Loop business district achieve its potential and become a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly Main Street. To see City Administration, City Council and the SDAB allow this developer to run roughshod over the MLARP is just heartbreaking, and hugely disrespectful to the Richmond and Marda Loop communities.

    We will leave you with a couple of questions to ponder. Why does the City bother taking communities through the costly and time-consuming process of putting Area Redevelopment Plans in place if it doesn't care whether developers pay attention to them or not? And why didn't our Ward 8 and Ward 11 City Councillors do more to defend the MLARP's vision for the Marda Loop business district?

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