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Hundreds set to speak as Calgary considers blanket rezoning next week

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More than 650 people have signed up to speak about proposed Calgary rezoning rules next week at what officials are calling the "largest public hearing that the city has ever held."

Ahead of what is likely to be a meeting that stretches through all of next week, the city has also received more than 5,500 written submissions about the issue, captured on about 13,000 pages attached to the hearing's agenda.

The city is holding the session before council will have to decide whether to amend the land-use bylaw to allow for more density housing across Calgary communities.

What's proposed is city-wide rezoning to a Residential-Grade-Oriented (R-CG) district, which would allow for more housing options such as duplexes and rowhouses on a parcel of land. Proposed development projects would still have to go through the same development permit application process before construction is allowed to start.

Monday's public hearing will start at 9:30 a.m. and will run until 9:30 p.m. each day.

Housing need vs. community concerns

In feedback gathered from a series of information sessions and online webinars over the last several months, the city says about 70 per cent of respondents were in opposition to the blanket zoning changes.

According to a 'What We Heard' report released by the city, people have concerns about the impact rezoning could have on parking, community character, demand on existing infrastructure and the effect the changes could have on property values.

But people also say zoning changes could help boost the supply of homes during the ongoing housing crisis. Eliminating the need to go through the land-use applications for each project would allow homes to be built quicker, supporters of blanket rezoning say.

There are 43 attachments to Monday's meeting agenda with each attachment containing hundreds of pages of written submissions about the issue.

"Calgarians make decisions on where they want to live based on the kinds of neighbourhoods they want to live in," reads one of the thousands of submissions in opposition to the zoning changes.

"Blanket rezoning for condensed living projects will completely change the neighborhoods that these citizens worked so hard to invest in," the submission says.

"This will reduce red tape, give property owners more freedom to build on their property and increase housing supply that is desperately needed," writes someone in favour of the blanket changes.

"It will also increase tax base and help the city fund the services that all residents require."

People can still sign up to speak at next week's meeting and presenters can attend in-person or remotely. Those who register will be assigned a panel number and approximate time for when they're expected to speak to council.

For more information, go here.

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