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March 16, 2021

New Planning Policies for Communities &
Heritage at City Council on March 22


The Guidebook for Great Communities and the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan, the pilot multi-community plan for the new Guidebook, will come before City Council for approval on March 22, 2021. These documents will shape future planning for redevelopment in our communities. 

The City is undergoing sweeping changes to its planning system in order to realize a more sustainable future.  This new approach to area planning divides the city into some 42 districts, each tasked with the creation of an area plan that enables population growth and change in balance with heritage retention and that sense-of-place that defines “home”.  Residents and other community stakeholders have a critical voice in the creation of these plans. The Guidebook incorporates new Heritage Conservation Tools and Incentives approved in July 2020, however, the new heritage policies have not yet been applied to the North Hill Local Area Plan. This is concerning. 

We support the Heritage Conservation Tools and Incentives Report approved last July.
We support this new approach to citizen-driven, place-based, multi-community planning. We support redevelopment that places density where it makes sense, including hidden density.  However, we continue to have reservations about the Guidebook and how the Municipal Development Plan is being operationalized. 

A summary of our suggested amendments: 

  • Housing forms identified for the Heritage Guideline Areas should specify maximum scale, massing, lot coverage, and include side setback criteria.
  • Policies to direct and support building owners to consider repurposing are needed, given high vacancy rates and the environmental impact of demolition.
  • Community-specific policies for private and public green spaces, sidewalks, landscaping, scale and setbacks are needed to achieve the MDP’s intent of “respecting and enhancing neighbourhood character” in balance with growth and change.
  • Protections should be applied to properties awaiting evaluation for the Inventory of Historic Resources.
  • Development Permit applications for Identified heritage assets should be discretionary.
  • Policies for private tree protection need to be strengthened.
  • The language of the Guidebook’s principles and goals (i.e. “create “and “provide”) should be changed so they don’t imply that the LAPs are working from a blank slate in developed communities.
  • The City should communicate that the intent is to align the Land Use Bylaw with the Urban Form Categories in the Guidebook.

CHI and Calgarians for Heritage Districts submitted a list of heritage-related concerns to the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development on Feb 3, 2021.  That committee recommended that City Council approve the Guidebook and North Hill LAP on March 22. We continue to reach out to City Administration and Councillors with our concerns (some of which have been addressed) and have carefully considered their responses.

Our full submission to City Council can be viewed here. Our “Asks” of City Council will continue to be refined up to the public hearing on March 22.  

What you can do:

Email or call your Councillor with your specific comments by March 21.

Submit letters on specific  topics through and explore the Public Policy Tab for more information on planning policies that impact heritage. Sample letters are provided for your convenience – it only takes a minute! 

Register to speak (virtual call-in) at the public hearing at the Combined Meeting of City Council on March 22. The agenda will be published at this link on March 18.

Visit the City of Calgary project page for more information:
Guidebook for Great Communities

What's Up with HERITAGE in the
North Hill Communities Local Area Plan? 

Council will vote on adopting this “pilot” multi-community plan on March 22.
What’s included? Community histories. Policies to enhance four valued resources: Tuxedo Park & School, Balmoral Circle, Confederation Park, McHugh Bluff/Crescent Heights Park. Design guidelines for Main Streets. Identification of heritage boulevards. Objectives and options for tree canopy. Mapping for Heritage Guideline Conservation areas (HCGA). An interim measure to discourage land use changes for HCGA while the guidelines are being developed and applied. 
What’s missing? An analysis of population growth and lifecycle demographics. Community-based policies for patterns of streetscapes. Community characteristics such as view corridors. Specific policies for tree retention. The definition, application, and testing of character-defining elements that would apply to the Heritage Guidelines Conservation areas (e.g. roof pitch/style, setbacks, window/door pattern, projections, site access/design, general massing). Assessment of owner-uptake of Direct Control Districts for block faces with 50%+ heritage assets. Identification of opportunities for repurposing buildings to meet community needs. A risk assessment for heritage loss while the plan is being completed, and if the full suite of tools and incentives is not approved or funded.
Do you think this plan should be adopted? Tell your Councillor how you feel.
By March 21, call or email your Councillor. Subject header: North Hill Communities LAP, March 22 2021 Combined Meeting of Council.
Register to speak (virtual call-in) at the public hearing at the Combined Meeting of City Council on March 22. The agenda will be published at this link on March 18.
Read more about Local Area Plans here.  
Visit the City of Calgary project page for more information:
North Hill Communities Local Area Plan
The North Hill Communities LAP includes Highland Park, Mount Pleasant, Tuxedo Park, Winston Heights-Mountview, Crescent Heights, Renfrew, Rosedale, Capitol Hill and Thorncliffe Greenview -south of Mcknight Blvd. It is the pilot for the implementation of the policies in the Guidebook that would apply to new LAPs in the rest of developed Calgary. 


Visit the Website here!

A project of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society, Calgarians for Heritage Districts, with funding from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation

Follow our campaign on social media at HeritageInspiresYYC 


Start or renew your membership today!

You can help preserve Calgary's heritage simply by becoming a member for only $10/year! You will be supporting CHI's advocacy and awareness activities and events. Your membership entitles you to a vote at CHI's AGM

For the ambitious, there are a number of ways to engage or volunteer and there are no prerequisites for membership. 

Visit CHI's membership page to start or renew!

About the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society

CHI is a city-wide, member-based heritage advocacy group, founded in 2005. CHI advocates to preserve and promote the productive use of buildings and areas of historic significance. 
We are volunteers who love heritage and want to share that with fellow Calgarians and future generations.

Further information about CHI and our activities is available on our website at It has many great features like Fact Sheets about our most watched buildings at risk of demolition, heritage issues, resources and upcoming events. Don’t forget to join us on social media for all of our latest updates and timely conversations.
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