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CMRB Regional Growth Plan Gets Final Approval

As many of you will remember, the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) submitted the Regional Growth Plan for provincial approval in late spring. With a few modifications, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Ric McIver, has approved that Plan. It will become effective August 15, 2022. You can access a copy of the Plan here.

The Regional Growth Plan provides overarching guidance on future development in the entire Calgary region. As a result, it will affect future “regionally significant” development and all new and amended area structure plans, including the ASP reviews for Springbank, Bragg Creek, Bearspaw, Conrich, and Janet.

Existing ASPs are grandfathered and development within them can continue so long as it is consistent with those ASPs. Amendments to ASPs cannot increase the ASP’s population.

The Regional Growth Plan requires Rocky View to update its County Plan within three years so that it is consistent with the Growth Plan.

The key elements of the Regional Growth Plan that are relevant for Rocky View include:

  • New development outside of Hamlet Growth Areas and Joint Planning Areas must meet the following criteria:

    • Residential – maximum density of 0.5 dwelling units per acre (upa) (the equivalent of 2-acre parcels), unless an existing ASP permits denser development

      • Where infrastructure and servicing are available, clustering is encouraged, with a maximum of 80 homes per quarter section at a density of 3 upa, with the remainder of the quarter section preserved as open space.

    • Commercial / industrial – outside of existing ASPs, developments less than 75 acres with fewer than 10 lots, located more than 2 km from an urban municipality, except for:

      • The area immediately surrounding the Springbank Airport

      • Development in excess of the 75 acre/10 lot maximums require the creation and approval of an ASP for a “rural employment area” and cannot be located within 2 km of an urban municipality, a Joint Planning Area, or another rural employment area.

  • Hamlet Growth Areas – Langdon, Harmony, and Bragg Creek

    • 60% of future development should provide housing at a minimum of 6 upa, or 12 upa when part of a mixed-use commercial / residential development

    • The remaining 40% of future development must be a minimum of 3.5 upa

    • Commercial / industrial development is permitted within each hamlet, so long as infrastructure, servicing, and transportation are available.

    • There are provisions for creating new fully-serviced hamlets, with a maximum land area of 640 acres, provided they are at least 2 km from an urban municipality and they are needed to meet growth pressures.

  • Joint Planning Areas – to be jointly planned by adjoining municipalities. Rocky View is part of two Joint Planning Areas (JPAs):

    • JPA 1 – covers the south end of Airdrie, a small amount of north-east Calgary and the portions of Rocky View between those areas – includes the East and West Balzac ASP areas, plus some additional RVC land beyond those ASPs.

    • JPA 2 – covers the eastern edge of Calgary, western Chestermere, and the Conrich and Omni ASP areas in Rocky View

    • The equivalent of intermunicipal area structure plans (referred to as Context Studies) are to be prepared for the JPAs. As well as the land use and servicing components of an area structure plan, the Context Studies are to provide “strategies to share costs and benefits” from development in these areas.

    • Once these Context Studies are approved, Rocky View will be able to develop more intensively in the JPAs than under the existing ASPs in those areas.

    • The potential benefit from participation in the JPAs is evident in the CMRB’s population and employment forecasts. Between 2018 and 2048, Rocky View is expected to have 2.8% of regional population growth (maintaining its share of the region’s population). In contrast, Rocky View is expected to enjoy 14.1% of the region’s employment growth.

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