Unpacking Edmonton’s New Zoning Bylaw

To an audience of 200 real estate professionals, Kim Petrin, Livia Balone, and Susan Ancel, shared an update on the Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative – specifically what changes are anticipated and what impacts they will have on the industry.

Last Photo (left to right): Kim Petrin, Susan Ancel, Michaela Davis, Livia Balone, Susan Keating, Kalen Anderson

Moderated by Michaela Davis from Melcor, the panel of speakers highlighted how the proposed Zoning Bylaw would enable development opportunities, density, and housing diversity.

“We believe the City is on the right track,” said Davis. “Over the last decade, the housing industry and the City of Edmonton have worked together to help solve our country’s challenge with adequate supply and speed-to-market for housing.”

She added, “As city building partners, we remain committed to attracting more people to Edmonton, and creating communities that enable them to live meaningful and fulfilling lives.”

Balone, the City of Edmonton’s Director for the Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative, said the proposed regulations would help to implement The City Plan’s goal of accommodating another one million more people, by permitting different housing typologies. She also said that the addition of two new mixed-use zones support Council’s aspiration for greater economic investment attraction.

“Our team was given direction to address economic investment,” she said. “So, we looked at our current regulations in commercial areas to understand where there might be barriers.”

Petrin, Acting Deputy City Manager for the City of Edmonton’s Urban Planning and Economy department, highlighted the City’s recent successes – from being acknowledged as a national leader when it comes to permitting processes and timelines to technological advances to the spirit of collaboration with private and community sectors.

“We need to be patient with one another as we move forward,” said Petrin. “We are committed to working together with industry and community to continue to implement the bylaw over the coming years.”

Ancel, the Director of One Water Planning for EPCOR Water Services, said that the City’s Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative, prompted innovation with regards to infrastructure.

“This transformative project has challenged us to think differently,” she said. “We are aligning our infrastructure standards with the new zoning regulations.”

She said that industry will be able to coordinate with EPCOR to optimize their design, and to ensure they are not overbuilding infrastructure that is unnecessary.

“Through our collaboration with UDI, the City of Edmonton, and other industry partners, we have developed updated design standards for water consumption, sewer generation and fire flows and will have runoff coefficients complete by the end of the year.”

In 2024, Ancel and her team will be reviewing how to optimize the subdivision process for commercial mega blocks, particularly in nodes and corridors and the suburbs, as the issue emerged as another aspect to consider during the review of standards impacted by the Zoning Bylaw.

When asked what comes after the Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative, Balone said, “It depends on what happens at public hearing, as Council and Edmontonians discuss the proposed Zoning Bylaw.”

She said that her team is already hard-at-work in building a work plan to implement the Zoning Bylaw, whether it’s through thoughtful rezoning, automation and technological improvements and continuous regulatory refinements.

“Outside of the public hearing, we know that we will need to continue to monitor the new bylaw’s effectiveness, to solicit and review community feedback, and to continue to educate and communicate all Edmontonians.”

She concluded, “It is an ever-evolving work-in-progress, and we invite Edmontonians to support us along its journey.”

Special thanks to our generous sponsors: Arcadis – IBI Group, Genstar, and Hi Signs.

5 Key Takeaways

  • Housing Supply. The proposed Zoning Bylaw aims to support housing affordability and attainability by enabling different housing typologies throughout the city, in alignment with The City Plan.
  • Rightsizing Infrastructure. Infrastructure standards are being refined to better align with the new zoning regulations, to ensure infrastructure in communities are not overbuilt, supporting both fiscal and environmental goals.
  • Streamlined Regulatory Environment. A clear land use bylaw improves certainty and clarity for all Edmontonians on what can be built on a parcel of land – and can speed up development permitting processes and timelines.
  • Economic Investment. Addressing regulatory barriers that hold economic growth back has been an important lens of the Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative and has resulted in several changes to support mixed-use development in commercial areas.
  • Evolving Engagement. Continued community and industry involvement is necessary to ensure that the Zoning Bylaw continues to support Edmonton’s overarching vision set out in The City Plan.