On the agenda: District planning, Horse Hill, Belvedere

On the agenda: District planning, Horse Hill, Belvedere

This week, Edmonton's city council will hear from the public on district planning, and debate rezoning applications.

There is a regular public hearing scheduled for May 27 and a multi-day public hearing on district planning scheduled starting on May 28.

Here are key items on the agenda:

  • The district policy and district plans, city planning documents that are meant to shape the way the city grows to a population of two million, are scheduled to be debated starting on May 28. The city is encouraging Edmontonians to share their thoughts on the proposed plans and has even designed posters and postcards for residents to spread the word about the public hearing. The plans have been in the works since the city council of 2020 approved the City Plan. Specifically, the district plans are meant to get the city closer to two goals: to add 50% of new housing units through infill and to have 50% of trips made by transit and active modes, while ensuring Edmontonians can easily access their daily needs within a 15-minute walk, roll, or transit trip. In the draft district policy, there are 15 districts, each with nodes and corridors that are meant to see varying levels of housing density and a mix of uses built as the city grows. Nodes are urban centres that serve multiple neighbourhoods, such as the University of Alberta or Capilano Mall. Corridors are prominent thoroughfares, and include much of Whyte Avenue, Stony Plain Road, and 137 Avenue, for example. There are primary corridors and secondary corridors. If council votes for a first and second reading of the district policy, it will go to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board for review. The plans would then return to council for a final vote, which is scheduled for early fall. If approved, the plans will come into effect immediately.
  • Administration is proposing changes to the area structure plan within the Marquis neighbourhood, a parcel of land in the far northeast Horse Hill neighbourhood. The current plan included a future LRT station, but administration wants to relabel it as a "mass transit station" to allow the option of bus-based rapid transit in the future. The proposed plan would reduce the size of the commercial centre planned for the neighbourhood and increase the amount of lower-density residential forms, the city said. Administration said if the new plan is approved, fewer people than desired will be living and working in the neighbourhood. The city expects the number of jobs and/or people per hectare to be about 135 with the new plan, which is below the desired minimum of 150. However, the city said once development progresses and mass transit is introduced to the area, the minimum desired density may be met. Also, the developer has planned to move the transit centre to a different location that is isolated and less integrated into the community, presenting possible safety concerns, the city said. Administration asked the developer to move the transit centre somewhere else, but the developer said no. The changes are scheduled to be debated at a public hearing on May 27.
  • Scheffer Andrew is applying to rezone vacant land in Belvedere to build a six-storey building. The lot is currently zoned for up to 20 storeys. The property is near Fort Road and 66 Street NW and abuts an existing six-storey building. Administration supports the application as the lot is near transit and commercial opportunities. There is insufficient access to fire protection adjacent to the property, and the city said the developer will be responsible for all costs associated with supplying water. The rezoning is scheduled to be reviewed at a public hearing on May 27.

Meetings stream live on YouTube on the Chamber channel and River Valley Room channel.

Image: Council is set to debate the district policy and 15 district plans starting May 28. (City of Edmonton)