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'Enough work hasn't yet been done': 42 community association representatives meet with Gondek over rezoning

This rowhouse complex in the community of North Glenmore Park was constructed in 2023 after council approved a zoning change to R-CG district in 2021. This rowhouse complex in the community of North Glenmore Park was constructed in 2023 after council approved a zoning change to R-CG district in 2021.
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Dozens of Community Association representatives sat down with Mayor Jyoti Gondek Saturday morning to express their concern about proposed zoning changes.

If passed, Calgary's base zoning district would be changed to R-CG, a classification that allows for row homes and duplexes to be built in residential zones.

Jon Himmens, President of the Lakeview Association, described the mood in the meeting with the mayor as “serious.”

“Our community associations are concerned about blanket rezoning and the impact it's going to have on the community,” said Himmens. “It's taking away controls that are in place, and we're concerned that it could lead to uncontrolled building.”

“We're concerned that builders will come to our great city and not be respectful of our history of areas and what we're trying to achieve," he continued. "We want to protect green spaces, roads, infrastructure, we just feel that enough work hasn't yet been done for the city to pass any blanket rezoning changes.”

Himmens said 53 community associations penned a letter to the mayor and council earlier this week, voicing concerns over the proposed rezoning bylaw. 

Gondek reached out shortly after to organize the Saturday meeting, which started at 11 a.m. and lasted 90 minutes.

Gondek issued a statement Saturday afternoon, thanking the participants for their feedback and reinforcing the need for open dialogue.

“The representatives shared with me the feedback they have been receiving from their respective communities regarding how standardizing zoning could impact neighbourhoods," she said.

"I heard that they were in support of increasing density, but how that density is developed is a concern.

"I also heard that the community context that development takes in place matters. Insights like these allow me to better understand the diverse needs and priorities of all Calgarians."

FEDERAL FUNDING

While there was a belief that passing the amendment was the only way to access $228 million in federal funding for affordable housing, Gondek said  the proposed land-use bylaw amendment is not a prerequisite to receive that money.

According to Himmens, the 53 community associations support densification and affordable housing -- but not densification without some community control in place.

“The growth and densification that we need is uncontrolled," said Himmens. "We want city council to retain the controls we have and to involve community associations in the planning that takes place."

Gondek was the only city representative at the meeting.

Calgary’s blanket rezoning plan is one of the most contentious issues to face the city in recent years, with a public hearing starting Monday morning.

As of Friday, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said 675 people are registered to speak, and 5,500 submissions have come through that are now part of the public record.

PUSH FOR A PLEBISCITE

Robert Lehodey was one of two Calgarians to file an application for judicial review in hopes of forcing the city into to a plebiscite. Lehodey is seeking a judicial review after a city motion brought forward to hold a plebiscite was defeated in March.

“Blanket unzoning will take away from owners of properties in RC-1 and RC-2 zoned communities the right to speak to, make representations and file objections in respect of developments in their communities that are outside the bounds of what would otherwise be permitted by those zonings,” said Lehodey.

According to Lehodey, 61 per cent of homeowners live in RC-1 and RC-2.

“City council and the administration should not be able to that (implement rezoning rules) without a more fulsome and effective consolation, and in our view it should be way of a plebiscite for the million or so electors in the city.”

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