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Email: ward08@calgary.ca

Phone: +1 (403) 268-2431


Richmond Knob Hill is experiencing a significant redevelopment activity as we transition from a 1950s bungalow community to a denser infill community.  The members of the RKHCA Development Committee monitor this redevelopment activity by reviewing all rezoning, subdivision and development permit applications that are circulated to us by the City of Calgary Planning & Development Department, providing comments thereon in an effort to ensure that redevelopment projects in our community are respectful of the neighbouring properties, of the streetscape, and of the community as a whole.  To facilitate this process, and ian effort to ensure both consistency and transparency, the Development Committee created a set of Residential Development Design Guidelines which it encourages new developments in Richmond/Knob Hill to follow.

Check out the Development & Subdivision Permit Application List, which shows all applications for redevelopment projects in Richmond/Knob Hill which are either currently going through the approval process or which have completed the approval process since the beginning of this year.  This list gives an indication of the number of development-related applications that the Committee monitors and comments on.

Other documents relevant to redevelopment projects in our community include:

    1. Richmond Area Redevelopment Plan
    2. Marda Loop Area Redevelopment Plan
    3. City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw 1P2007

Thank you to this very industrious and busy group for helping to keep our neighbourhood a place to call home. 


Richmond Knob Hill is an evolving community and increasing density brings change to how the street network is used. Attention to multi-modal transportation and safety for all road users should be considered in our planning. The following projects have potential to change how our streets are used: the City of Calgary’s Urban streetscape project and Mobility Plan for 33 Ave., the SW BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), ongoing development in Currie Barracks and continued redevelopment of the area’s original homes.

In planning for the future and trying to improve safety on our roads, understanding where challenges exist in the movement around our community from people who use the streets in their daily life seems like a way to get a conversation started. A map is a great way to represent resident’s concerns spatially and to give us meaningful input for stakeholder discussions.

So, what should you do if you have a mobility concern (traffic, bike, pedestrian, other mode, parking)?

First, make sure you are safe and report it to the City @ 311 or the Police depending on the severity - follow this link to see the appropriate level.

Next, please send  a short email to the RKHCA Mobility committee with a description of your concern and it’ll be added anonymously to the map if appropriate. Thanks for your help.

  • February 06, 2018 10:10 AM | Anonymous

    We, and other inner-city communities around us, are being told by both the City and developers that the Richmond Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) is woefully out-of-date, and that it is not enough for our community to continue densifying by:

    1. having our old bungalows replaced with 2 skinny single detached infills or semi-detached infill units;
    2. accepting 4-plexes and other slightly higher density residential developments along on our collector roads and in other areas designated for such under the ARP; and
    3. accepting mid-rise residential and mixed-use developments along our Main Streets, being 17 Avenue SW and 33 Avenue SW,

    and that developers should be allowed to rezone ANY corner parcel in our community from either R-C1 (only 1 dwelling unit allowed) or R-C2 (only 2 dwelling units allowed) to R-CG so that 4-unit rowhouse developments can be built on them.  The City and developers are also looking at the rules of the R-CG land use district to see if there is a way to tweak them so that developers would also be allowed to use those rules to build 4-unit developments on interior parcels.  As far as the City is concerned, 4-unit rowhouse developments under the R-CG rules are completely compatible with, and appropriate to be built beside, any single family home or semi in our community.

    Our sense is that RKH is already doing its fair share to absorb more population density within established communities (eg. RKH's population has increased by 31% over the past 30 years), and we do not see the need to have all of our corner parcels, and possibly also all of our interior parcels, opened up to 4-unit rowhouse developments that have significant potential to be out-of-context with the streetscape (particularly if they are 3-storeys/11m tall and are built next to single-storey bungalows), as well as to create privacy, shadowing, drainage and parking issues for the adjacent properties.

    These 4-unit rowhouse developments cannot even be supported on the grounds that they create a new category of lower-cost housing options in our community, as the current asking prices for new 3-storey rowhouse units in our community seem to start at $699,000, which actually makes them LESS affordable than many of our remaining bungalows, even though those bungalows are freehold properties on 50ft wide lots!

    We came across an interesting article on this issue on Buildzoom.com, an excerpt from which is reproduced below.  We encourage all RKH residents to read the full article, which can be found at the following web address:


    As you will have seen in other recent Development Blog posts, we have asked Councillor Woolley and City Administration to hold a community-wide engagement session to revisit the Richmond ARP and determine the extent to which it should be updated to allow higher density developments, if at all, and if so, what forms and where in our community they should be allowed.  We would appreciate your support in this regard by contacting Councillor Woolley’s office and pushing for that engagement to take place.  The residents of RKH were given the opportunity to provide input when the Richmond ARP was originally created back in 1986 — we should be given another opportunity to do so before such a fundamental change is made to the ARP.

    See below excerpt from “America’s New Metropolitan Landscape: Pockets Of Dense Construction In A Dormant Suburban Interior”, on Buildzoom.com (annotations in red are ours):

    . . .

    Pockets of dense construction, or modest densification everywhere?

    City planners tend to favor concentrating residential development in dense hubs because they lend themselves to service by public transit, which helps reduce the impact of new residents on emissions and traffic congestion. Yet this rationale for limiting densification to transit hubs and corridors amounts to acquiescing the battle for development elsewhere. The current battleground is in the pockets of dense construction, whereas the dormant suburban interior is conceded territory in which dense housing is never debated because it is never proposed. It is taboo. 

    Confining development to dense hubs is a sensible approach, but it has come at a great cost. Over recent decades, America’s expensive coastal cities have slowed down their outward expansion and increasingly come to rely on residential densification within the developed footprint to accommodate the people drawn to them. Yet rather than pick up its pace, densification has become less common. As a result, residential construction in the expensive coastal cities has failed to meet demand and prevent runaway housing price appreciation, resulting in an affordability crisis with profound implications for younger generations’ ability to put down roots, live near family, raise children and prosper. 

    This doesn’t mean that the expensive coastal cities can’t deliver much greater amounts of housing. They can. But to meaningfully stem housing price appreciation would require them to regularly produce far more housing than they have for decades. The track record of the current paradigm – minimize metropolitan expansion and concentrate new housing in dense hubs – suggests they will keep under-producing housing in the future as well.

    I am not advocating a return to vigorous sprawl. That would be wasteful, unhealthy and unsustainable. Moreover, the rising value of central locations in the eyes of both people and employers suggests that sprawl may offer a less appealing substitute to housing in the metropolitan interior than in the past, especially in the largest metros.

    I am suggesting that, while cities continue to fight the battle for development in dense hubs, they also question the de facto exemption granted to low-density suburban areas from the onus to produce more housing. The dormant suburban sea is so vast that if the taboo on densification there were broken, even modest gradual redevelopment – tearing down one single-family home at a time and replacing it with a duplex [RKH has been doing this for years!] or a small apartment building [This as well along our collector roads, Main Streets in and other areas where we consider such developments to be appropriate!] – could grow the housing stock immensely. Distributing the necessary amounts of new housing over vast low-density suburban areas instead of just concentrating them in dense hubs would dilute the local impact on neighborhoods. It would make a large increase in housing more palatable vis-a-vis neighborhood character, and more gradual. Of course, building in these areas could have different implications for congestion than building in dense hubs, but the affordability crisis in America’s expensive coastal cities is so acute that the tradeoff between worsening affordability and congestion should be evaluated with fresh eyes.

    In order to nurture new residential development in the dormant suburban interior, local land use policy would need to undergo a revolution. The construction industry and the financial ecosystem would need to evolve as well, and infrastructure would need to be greatly upgraded. The very first step, however, involves grasping America’s new metropolitan landscape and realizing just how much of it has gone dormant. That is where the problem is, as well as the opportunity.


  • January 14, 2018 12:30 PM | Anonymous

    A couple of years ago the City of Calgary designated 24 of its streets as “Main Streets” and is looking to upgrade those streets into vibrant, pedestrian-friendly strips that people will want to visit and spend time at.  RKH is “bookended” by 2 of these Main Streets — 17 Avenue SW, which forms our community’s north boundary, and 33 & 34 Avenues SW (east of Crowchild Trail), which form a portion of our south boundary.

    Last year the City’s Main Streets group initiated a rezoning of parcels along the portion of 17 Avenue SW west of Crowchild Trail, to encourage the construction of new commercial and higher-density developments in the area, and to encourage developments along 17th Avenue SW to include shops, cafes and restaurants on their main floors.  Later this year the City will begin the process of creating a Streetscape Master Plan for that portion of 17th Avenue SW, and will be seeking input from the public on what the new streetscape should include and how it should be designed to help make that strip more inviting for people to visit and spend time at.  The portion of 17th Avenue SW east of Crowchild Trail will undergo a similar process at some point in the near future.

    33 and 34 Avenues SW, and in particular the portions within the Marda Loop business district, are not merely ripe for redevelopment, they are literally exploding with redevelopment.  Fueled by the recent enactment of the Marda Loop Area Redevelopment Plan (the “MLARP”) and the announcement that South West Bus Rapid Transit (SWBRT) stations will be located at the west end of the business district, 2 mid-rise developments have recently been completed, 3 more are currently under construction, yet another 3 have been approved for development and at least 2 more are currently in the planning approval process.  It is therefore great to see that the City has already begun the process of creating a Streetscape Master Plan for 33 and 34 Avenues SW, to ensure that the public realm surrounding these and future developments achieves the City’s Main Streets vision for retail vitality and pedestrian- and cycle-friendliness.
    Section 6.2.1 of the MLARP similarly calls for the City to undertake “a comprehensive streetscape design concept for 33 and 34 Avenues SW and intersecting side streets (18 Street SW, 19 Street SW, 20 Street SW, 21 Street SW and 22 Street SW)”.  Accordingly, creating a Streetscape Master Plan for 33 and 34 Avenues SW will not only help to achieve the City’s Main Streets vision for this area, but will hopefully also fulfill this MLARP public realm requirement – two birds with one stone, so to speak.  In this regard we look forward to the Streetscape Master Plan addressing, among other things, each of the following areas identified in Section 6.2.1 of the MLARP:

    • Thorough review and assessment of the existing condition for the above mentioned avenues and the intersecting streets
    • Transportation analysis of the current condition with regards to pedestrian, vehicular, bicycle and transit movement
    • Public realm concepts in consultation with the community and businesses
    • Street furniture handbook that will define style, design, colour and character of all the elements of the street furniture for example (benches, litter and recycling bins, pedestrian lights, street lights, trees, public art, surface material)
    • Phasing plan to define priority areas for implementation 
    The City will be holding an Information Session for the 33 and 34 Avenues SW Streetscape Master Plan on Monday, February 26 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Marda Loop Community Hall (3130 16 Street SW).  Please take the time to attend the Information Session to find out more and to provide your input on what you would like to see included in the 33 and 34 Avenue SW Streetscape Master Plan.

    33 and 34 Avenues SW have huge potential to become a vibrant urban village that will help the surrounding communities of Richmond/Knob Hill, South Calgary, Altadore and Garrison Woods to become complete, highly walkable inner-city communities.  To get it right, we need your input.

    Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you there!

  • January 14, 2018 12:18 PM | Anonymous

    The chart below shows the electricity generated by RKHCA’s new rooftop solar PV system during 2017, its first full year of operation.  The 12.58MWh of electricity that the system generated over the course of the year is expected to roughly equal the total amount of electricity that the community centre used during that period (at the time of writing this our final usage figures for December were not yet known), and represented almost 5,000kg of CO2 emissions saved!  The system basically runs itself and so far has required no maintenance or management to speak of (except to avoid accidentally knocking its AC Disconnect switch to the “Off” position, as happened once back in June).  We are very pleased with system and would like to once again thank SkyFire Energy for supplying and installing it for us!

  • December 06, 2017 8:43 AM | Anonymous
    For many years now there has been significant redevelopment activity in our community.  Most of this redevelopment activity has involved older bungalows on our 50ft wide R-C2 lots being demolished and replaced with two 2-storey or 3-storey single detached or semi-detached infills on subdivided 25ft wide lots.  We have also had older bungalows on our few 50ft wide M-C1 and M-CG lots, such as those backing onto the west side of Crowchild Trail, demolished and replaced with 4-plexes.  We have also seen higher density residential, commercial and mixed-use (main floor retail with residential above) developments go in along our two Main Streets, 17 Avenue SW and 33 Avenue SW.

    This redevelopment and densification has generally been good for Richmond/Knob Hill, as it has rejuvenated our housing stock and has helped to revitalize our community by reversing its population decline. The population of RKH peaked at 5,080 back in 1968 and then began to decline as the community matured and children grew into adults and moved out of their parents’ homes, dropping to as low as 3,700 by the mid-1980s.  To reverse this downward trend, in 1986 the City and the residents of RKH got together and created the Richmond Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), the purpose of which was to set out, among other things, where new higher-density residential developments would be allowed and how much denser those developments could be.  The Richmond ARP included a map that divided RKH’s residential areas up into the following designations:

    1)  Conservation and Infill — This designation contemplated that existing wide-lot single family homes in good condition would be preserved and that those in poor condition could be replaced with up to 2 new narrow-lot infills.  This designation covered essentially all of the R-C1, R-C2 and DC (based on R-2) areas of RKH.

    2)  Low Density — This designation provided for low profile family-oriented housing including single and two family dwellings and multi-dwelling infill projects comprised of townhouses or stacked townhouses.  Maximum density was not to exceed 75 units per hectare, which would typically mean no more than 4 units on a standard 50ft wide lot.  This designation was initially only applied to 2 blocks of 24A Street SW backing onto Crowchild Trail and to the east end of the 2100 block of 27 Avenue SW.

    3)  Medium Density — This designation was intended to encourage a variety of housing types attractive to single adults, childless couples, and families including apartments, townhouses and stacked townhouses.  Maximum density could be as high as 210 units per hectare, which would mean up to 11 units on a standard 50ft wide lot.  This designation was applied to several blocks immediately south of 17 Avenue SW, 2 blocks of 24A Street SW backing onto Crowchild Trail, 2 blocks of 33 Avenue SW, a couple of spots along 26 Avenue SW and the portion of 28 Street south of the Benjamin Moore paint store.

    4)  HIgh Density — This designation was intended to provide for high-density apartment developments which did not exceed 321 units per hectare and was only applied to 1 parcel, being the parcel on the SE corner of the intersection of 17 Avenue SW and 25A Street SW.

    The Richmond ARP has been quite successful in both encouraging and managing redevelopment in RKH, as since 1986 our total number of residential units has increased by 33% and our population has increased by 31%, and will likely surpass its previous peak of 5,080 within the next year or two.  Most of this redevelopment has been in accordance with the designations that were applied when the Richmond ARP was created over 31 years ago, although in recent years there have been a few amendments to the ARP map to accommodate new developments with higher densities than were originally contemplated, which have been on parcels located along our collector roads such as 26 Avenue SW and Richmond Road SW.  Within the last 3 years more significant amendments have been made to the map to allow for higher densities on parcels along and within a block or so of the portion of 17 Avenue SW west of Crowchild Trail, as part of the City’s Main Streets initiative, and to create a brand new ARP for the Marda Loop business district that includes the portion of 33 Avenue SW east of Crowchild Trail.  To date the RKHCA has generally been supportive of these amendments as we understand that the City has changed significantly since the Richmond ARP was created over 31 years ago and, through our own community engagement activities, that our residents tend not to see a problem with slightly higher density developments along our collector roads and even more substantial developments along our Main Streets.

    However, we have recently received applications to upzone non-collector R-C1 and R-C2 corner parcels in our community to allow higher density developments, such as 4-unit rowhouse developments (potentially each with a secondary suite for a total of 8 households).  These applications are not consistent with the Richmond ARP, and would therefore require amendments to the ARP map, and if even one such application/amendment is approved, then there would seem to be nothing to prevent all other non-collector corner parcels in our community from being similarly upzoned.  Although corner parcels are most attractive for these types of higher density developments, once the available supply of those begins to dwindle it is likely that developers would then turn their attention to upzoning our non-collector interior lots.

    The RKHCA is currently opposing these applications to amend the Richmond ARP and upzone non-collector corner parcels, as we are not convinced that further densification of our community beyond that which is:

    1)  already allowed under the Richmond ARP as it currently reads;

    2) likely to soon be allowed once the Richmond ARP is amended to reflect the results of the City’s upcoming Main Streets reviews of both the portion of 17 Avenue SW east of Crowchild Trail and the portion of 33 Avenue SW east of Crowchild Trail;

    3)  already supported by the community along our collector roads; and

    4)  likely to take place at some point on the Viscount Bennett lands when the CBE no longer has need for it and makes it available for redevelopment,

    is either necessary or desirable.  We also feel strongly that, if the City feels otherwise, then rather than approving these “one off” applications, they should undertake a comprehensive community engagement process to both demonstrate the need for such further densification and give RKH residents a say as to how we would like to see our community absorb this greater share of the City’s future population growth. Would we like to see it spread evenly throughout the community, or concentrated along our Main Streets and collector roads, or a combination of the two?  What forms of higher density developments would we like to see?

    We encourage all RKH residents to check out RKHCA’s detailed submission on an application to upzone the non-collector corner parcel at 2403 28 Avenue SW, which we consider to be a “watershed” application that will have implications throughout our community, a copy of which can be found here.  We also want to hear your thoughts on this issue, and for you to share those thoughts with our Ward 8 City Councillor, Evan Woolley.  Let your voice be heard!
  • November 13, 2017 4:28 PM | Anonymous
    Now that the Calgary 2017 municipal election is over, here are a few things that the RKHCA Development Committee would like to see Evan push for during his second term as Ward 8 Councillor:
    1. Better communication with the City, so that we get advance notice of, and maybe even an opportunity to provide input on, any proposed changes or improvements the City is planning to make in our community;
    2. A more collaborative development process in which the community is recognized and respected as an equal partner at the table;
    3. Better City oversight of the drainage aspects of new developments, so that more storm runoff from new developments is retained on and absorbed by the parcel, rather than flowing onto neighbouring parcels or washing down the street or lane into the storm sewer system;
    4. A long overdue update to the Richmond Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), which dates back to 1986, to reflect both current urban planning thinking and our community’s current wishes and priorities;
    5. New infill developments in our community to comply with the updated Richmond ARP in all material respects, unless the any proposed deviation from the ARP is supported by the community;
    6. New developments along 33 and 34 Avenues SW to comply with the recently enacted Marda Loop ARP in all material respects, unless any proposed deviation from the ARP is supported by the community;
    7. A great Streetscape Master Plan for 33 and 34 Avenues SW that is the product of genuine and thoughtful engagement with area residents and businesses and that includes:
      • fully accessible pedestrian realms with wide sidewalks, lots of street trees, comfortable year-round patios, cool public art, etc., to help create a place where people want to hang out;
      • safe and secure bike access and parking, so that more people who live a bit too far away to walk to Marda Loop will feel comfortable riding there, rather than driving;
      • comfortable, safe and conveniently located BRT stations at Crowchild Trail, so that more people will use transit to travel to and from Marda Loop, rather than drive;
      • well designed streets and intersections that allow vehicle traffic to move around and through the area smoothly, discourage cut-thru traffic and provide an appropriate amount of on-street parking, while being safe and comfortable for pedestrians and cyclists; and
      • a new public park/gathering space in the existing green space on the NE corner of the Crowchild interchange, with amphitheatre seating carved into the hillside, a plaza area that could feature a splash pad in summer, a skating rink in winter, and programmed events at various times of the year (Shakespeare in the Loop?);
    8. Adequate funding to make the Streetscape Master Plan a reality within a reasonable period of time;
    9. The SWBRT to begin operating by the end of 2018, and to offer true BRT-type service, with long service hours and sufficiently short head times that people can just head to the station whenever, knowing that a bus will be there momentarily;
    10. Currie Barracks to also begin receiving SWBRT service by the end of 2018, so that the 15,000 new people that will soon be living and/or working there have convenient access to high-quality transit service from the outset and therefore are less likely to feel the need to drive everywhere, adding to the area’s traffic congestion;
    11. Better snow clearing for our 20 Street and 26 Avenue SW bikeways, to make it easier for cyclists to continue riding through the winter;
    12. More effort into preserving and enhancing our community’s urban tree canopy, including more street trees; and
    13. Fewer orphaned curb cuts.

    What things would you like to see our Ward 8 Councillor push for?  Let us know by posting a comment to this article.  We would love to hear from you!

  • October 08, 2017 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    On September 21 the RKHCA Development Committee forwarded a list of questions to the 4 candidates running for Ward 8 Councillor.  The list of questions, which was a trimmed down version of the list of questions published in the September edition of The Review, can be found here.  The first candidate to provide a response was Karla Charest -- click here to see Karla's responses to the questions.  The second candidate to provide a response was Chris Davis -- click here to see Chris' responses to the questions.  The third candidate to provide a response was Evan Woolley -- click here to see Evan's responses to the questions.  The final candidate to provide a response was Carter Thomson -- click here to see Carter's responses to the questions.

    Thank you to all candidates for responding!

  • September 06, 2017 9:27 AM | Anonymous

    Land Use Redesignation (Rezoning) Applications, and the Role of the Ward 8 Councillor

    Lately we have received a number of applications to redesignate (rezone) parcels in RKH to a different land use district, to allow something to be built on the parcel that would not be allowed under the parcel's current land use district.

    Historically, the following land use districts were commonly found in RKH:

    1. Residential - Contextual One/Two Dwelling (R-C2) — allowed developments include single detached dwellings, semi-detached dwellings and duplexes — wide lots (eg. 50ft wide) can be subdivided into 2 narrow lots (eg. 25ft wide) — single detached dwellings on wide lots can have a suite, but semi-detached, duplexes and narrow-lot singles are not allowed to have a suite — this is by far the most common land use district in RKH;
    2. Residential - Contextual One Dwelling (R-C1) — allowed developments include single detached dwellings — no suite allowed — R-C1 areas of RKH include the “Wedge” and the area north of 20 Avenue SW between Crowchild Trail and the Richmond Diagnostic Centre;
    3. Direct Control (based on R-2) — Direct Control is a term used to describe a non-standard land use district created to address a specific situation — in this case the district is similar to R-C2 except does not allow single detached dwellings on narrow lots — this land use designation was put in place many years ago in an attempt to prevent narrow lot infill development but was not entirely successful, as it still allows semi-detached developments — blocks with this land use designation can be found west of Crowchild Trail;
    4. Multi-Residential - Contextual Grade-Oriented (M-CG) — allowed developments include singles, semis, duplexes and 4-plexes — M-CG parcels can be found backing onto the west side of Crowchild Trail, and a few elsewhere;
    5. Multi-Residential - Contextual Low Profile (M-C1) — allowed developments include singles, semis, duplexes, 4-plexes and condo/apartment buildings up to 14m tall — M-C1 parcels can be found on the north side of 33 Avenue SW and in the first block south of 17 Avenue SW; and
    6. Commercial - Corridor Two (C-COR2) — allows auto-oriented commercial developments, such as the Merchants/Macs strip mall on 33 Avenue SW — mainly located along 17 Avenue SW and 33 Avenue SW;
    7. Commercial - Neighbourhood One (C-N1) — allows small-scale commercial development, such as Volo's Pizza on 26 Avenue SW — scattered here and there.

    Recent land use redesignation (“LOC”) applications in RKH have primarily been from R-C2 to M-CG, to allow a 4-plex to be built, or from R-C2 to Residential - Contextual Grade-Oriented (R-CG), a new land use district that is primarily designed for rowhouse-type developments (such as the 4-unit development on the east side of 20 Street SW at 31 Avenue SW).  RKHCA tends not to oppose these LOC applications as long as the parcel is in a location that is suitable for slightly higher density, such as along one of our corridors.

    We have also seen LOC applications to redesignate a parcel from R-C1 to R-C1s to allow the single detached dwelling to have either a basement suite or a garage/backyard suite.  RKHCA does not generally oppose these LOC applications either, as the City has waived the usual fee for this type of application to encourage more legal suites to be built to increase the inventory of safe, affordable housing options.  Despite this fee waiver, RKHCA is only aware of 2 parcels that have made this application to date, so it does not appear that RKH’s R-C1 areas will be seeing a flood of suites anytime soon.

    One recent LOC application of note was a request to redesignate a South Calgary corner parcel on the east side of 20 Street SW from R-C2 to a form of Direct Control based on R-C2 but with a few special conditions.  In RKHCA's view there was nothing special about the corner parcel that would have prevented the owner from redeveloping it in a reasonable fashion, and the application was a thinly disguised attempt to circumvent two previous decisions of the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (the “SDAB”) which found the proposed development to be inappropriately massive and out-of-context, and to effectively prevent the directly affected neighbours from being able to successfully appeal a third time.  Even though the directly affected neighbours all spoke in opposition to the LOC application at the public hearing, and our views regarding the application were passed on to the Ward 8 Councillor during the meeting, the application still ended up being approved by City Council.  Very disappointing.

    Finally, we are also seeing LOC applications to redesignate parcels in the Marda Loop business district, in most cases to allow residential, commercial or mixed-use developments that are larger than would be allowed under the parcel's current land use district.  In this case RKHCA tries to ensure that the proposed land use district is consistent with, and respectful of, the provisions of the new Marda Loop Area Redevelopment Plan (the “MLARP”), which provides, among other things, that developments along the north side of 33 Avenue SW should not exceed 4-storeys/16m in height.  However, in the last 18 months approvals have been issued for LOC applications that, at least in RKHCA’s view, were not overly consistent with the MLARP, and a new LOC application is now in the works for a proposed 6-storey/22m high development at the west end of the 2200 block of 33 Avenue SW, across from the Petro Canada gas station.

    Unlike development permit (“DP”) applications, which are approved by City Administration and can be appealed to the SDAB, LOC applications go to City Council for a public hearing and then final approval.  The Ward 8 Councillor plays a critical role on LOC applications for parcels in RKH and elsewhere in Ward 8, as once the public hearing has concluded the members of Council tend to place a significant amount of weight on whether the application before them is supported or opposed by the local Councillor.  For larger developments where the LOC and DP applications are submitted concurrently, City Council’s decision on the LOC application can also have significant implications for the DP application, as both City Administration and the SDAB may find themselves reluctant to order changes to DP plans that were before Council when it approved the LOC application.

    As RKH is currently experiencing a significant amount of redevelopment, and is likely to continue to do so for several years to come, it is important to this community that the Ward 8 Councillor be someone who has a solid understanding of development issues, and who is prepared to listen to, and advocate for, the residents of RKH on proposed developments in our community.  We encourage all residents of RKH to find out more about the development acumen and philosophy of each candidate for Ward 8 Councillor, and to REMEMBER TO VOTE ON OCTOBER 16!

  • September 06, 2017 8:29 AM | Anonymous
    If you attended Marda Gras last month you may have come across a booth hosted by local developer RNDSQR promoting their proposed Courtyard 33 development, a 6 storey/22m mixed-use development they want to build at the west end of the 2200 block of 33 Avenue SW (across from the Petro Canada gas station).  RNDSQR will be hosting a community engagement BBQ for this project at the RKHCA Community Hall (2433 26 AV SW) on Friday, September 22 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm.

    The RKHCA Development Committee reviewed Vision Brief 2.0 for the proposed Courtyard 33 development and submitted a list of preliminary comments/questions to RNDSQR on September 5.  On September 14 RNDSQR provided us with an updated copy of the Vision Brief, Version 3.0, and suggested that it would answer most of our questions.  Below are the comments/questions that we submitted to RNDSQR on September 5, with annotations in red to reflect new or changed information that we found in Vision Brief 3.0:

    1. Overall design — Appears quite striking from the renderings, although proposed height, density and intensity all significantly exceed that contemplated in the Marda Loop Area Redevelopment Plan (the “MLARP”) for this location — 6 storey/22m proposed height vs 4 storey/16m MLARP maximum height — proposed FAR of 4.0 vs. MLARP contemplated FAR of 2.5 — proposed net intensity of 820 population & jobs per hectare (P&J/H) vs. MLARP contemplated net intensity of 409 P&J/H.      [No changes made, no response provided]
    2. Uses — Ground floor and some 2nd storey retail, with residential above — consistent with the “commercial/mixed use” area provided for in the MLARP.     [No changes made]
    3. Proposed courtyard-style plaza — Interesting concept, although:
      • Accommodating it appears to require significant increases to the building’s overall mass to make up for the lost interior space, including 2 extra storeys, a front facade that pushes out over the public realm and a rear facade that pushes out towards the single-family homes across the rear lane.     [No changes made, no response provided]
      • It was not immediately apparent to some of our Committee members, nor to several others that we have spoken to, that the proposed plaza would be at the 2nd storey level, rather than at ground level.  Please ensure that this aspect of the proposed development is made abundantly clear at the September 22 engagement event.     [New image added on Page 26 showing close up of large staircase leading up to 2nd storey plaza]
      • How would mobility-challenged people gain access to the plaza?  We don’t see any ramps.  If by elevator, would public access be available at all times, or only during certain hours?     [No changes made, no response provided]
      • It would seem to us that the flow-through passage would be more beneficial if the plaza was at ground level and the building was mid-block and backed onto a lane with better “mews” potential.     [No changes made, no response provided]
      • Our understanding from sources such as Gehl’s “Cities for People” is that grade-separated plazas often don’t work particularly well, as the grade separation acts as both a physical and visual barrier.  What makes you think that the proposed grade-separated plaza would work well?     [More information about the courtyard plaza provided on Pages 29 & 30, but no response provided.  Also, on Page 29 Image 3 in Figure 2.1 says "shift density to building perimeter" and the image shows 2 extra storeys added to the top of the building -- the image does not show that above the ground floor the building's front facade has also been extended forward and cantilevered out over the front sidewalk, and its rear facada has been similarly cantilevered out towards the lane]
    4. On Page 11 we would point out that the image is not up-to-date — for example it does not show the Garrison Corner or Odeon developments — and the red boundary labelled as “Main Streets Study Area” does not match the boundary shown in the City’s current 33 Avenue SW Main Street map — see attached.  Please correct for the September 22 engagement event.     [No changes made]
    5. On Page 12 the current level of transit service along 33 Avenue SW and Crowchild Trail is overstated — currently there is no transit service along this portion of 33 Avenue SW and the transit service along Crowchild Trail at 33 Avenue SW tends to have head times of 12-15 minutes during peak periods and 20-30 minutes during off peak periods.  Please correct for the September 22 engagement event.     [No changes made]
    6. The proposed development does not appear to accommodate the MLARP’s public realm zones, as:
      • The proposed 2nd to 5th storey front cantilever, which is shown in Figure 1.9 as being 3.5m back from the curb, would not appear to leave sufficient room for street trees, which the MLARP contemplates being planted approximately 1.75m back from the curb; and
      • The support posts for the proposed front cantilever (not shown in Figure 1.9) would appear to fall near the middle of the MLARP's 3.0m wide sidewalk zone, which the MLARP provides “must be kept clear”.
        [No changes made, no response provided]
    7. MLARP Section does not appear to support an increase to the 4-storey/16m maximum building height at this location, as:
      • This corner is not identified on MLARP Map 4.1 as a potential plaza/increased height location;
      • The intent of that section is to encourage the provision of sun-drenched plazas, whereas it does not appear that the proposed development’s courtyard-style plaza would receive much sun; and
      • It only contemplates a potential increase to 5 storeys, whereas the proposed development is shown as being 6 storeys.    
        [No changes made, no response provided]
    8. The proposed step-back at the top of the proposed development's 5th storey would appear to:
      • Be at least 1 storey higher than the maximum height provided for in MLARP Section;
      • Based on the side view in Figure 1.9, not even be sufficient to bring the 6th storey’s front setback back to the MLARP’s 6.0m minimum front setback, let alone back a further 3.0m as provided for in MLARP Section;
      • Do little to “allow for views of open sky” as provided for in the opening words of MLARP Section 4.2, as pedestrians’ skyward views would be blocked by the proposed 3m front cantilever.    
        [No changes made, no response provided]
    9. The proposed rear cantilever would appear to bring the 2nd, 3rd and 4th storey rear-facing units closer to the single-family homes across the rear lane than contemplated in MLARP Section, creating increased massing and overlooking issues for those residents.    
      [No changes made, no response provided]
    10. Proposed unit mix includes studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom, but does not appear to include more family-friendly 2-bedroom plus den or 3-bedroom units.  Is it intended that the residential units be separately titled and sold as condominium units, or that they be rental units?    
      [No changes made, no response provided]
    11. The renderings appear to show:
      • Front and side balconies with angled walls or windows — how much useable space would these balconies have?
      • Solid (opaque) balcony railings, which on the rear facade should help to reduce overlooking of the single-family homes across the rear lane.    
        [No changes made, no response provided]
    12. The Section Diagrams on Pages 33-35 appear to exaggerate the amount of shadowing that would be caused by the garages of the single-family homes across the rear lane, as the representative garage appears to be located unrealistically close to the home and its roof peak and eaves are both unrealistically high — see attached photo for comparison.  For the September 22 engagement event please provide revised Section Diagrams that include:
      • A more realistically located and sized representative garage (roof peak not exceeding 4.6m and eaves not exceeding 3.0m); and     [Requested change made]
      • An extra set showing shadows as at February 21/October 21.     [Not provided]
    13. With respect to the Shadow Studies on Pages 36-38:
      • In Figure 2.5 the 4:00pm study appears to show the same shadows as the 1:00pm study; and     [Correction made]
      • In Figure 2.7 there appear to be areas that are coloured dark grey which at 1:00pm on December 21 are not currently shadowed by any existing building, and therefore should not be coloured dark grey (eg. the south-facing and west-facing surfaces of the roofs of the single family homes across the rear lane from the proposed development) but would potentially be shadowed by either the proposed development or an ARP-compliant building, and should therefore be coloured either yellow or blue, respectively.    [No changes made, no response provided]
      For the September 22 engagement event please provide revised Shadow Studies that correct these errors and provide an extra set showing shadows as at February 21/October 21.     [Not provided]

    [Pages 42-44 now contain a summary of the Transportation Impact Assessment (TIA) that RNDSQR has had prepared for this project.  The RKHCA Development Committee has not yet had an opportunity to review the TIA in detail, but notes that:

    • The authors of the TIA are under the mistaken impression that the proposed Courtyard 33 project is located in the community of South Calgary, rather than in the community of Richmond/Knob Hill (in fact, our community doesn't even appear to exist in their minds);
    • The traffic counts were conducted during the summer holiday season, a few days after Stampede ended (Tuesday, July 18), and therefore are not reflective of normal traffic volumes -- in this regard we would point out that the traffic counts are in all cases lower, and in some cases significantly lower, than the traffic counts that were done in 2015 for the ML33 TIA;
    • The projected traffic volumes purport to take into account not only additional traffic projected to be generated by the proposed Courtyard 33 development, but also by ML33 and 5 other redevelopment projects in the area, yet again they are in almost all cases lower, and in some cases significantly lower, than the projected traffic volumes in the ML33 TIA;
    • The TIA concludes that the additional traffic projected to be generated by the Courtyard 33 development, even when combined with the additional traffic projected to be generated by ML33 and 5 other redevelopment projects in the area, will not result in any area roads exceeding their design capacities -- however, this does not take into account the ongoing densification that is taking place in the adjacent residential communities, nor the further densification expected to take place in the Marda Loop business district in the near future; and
    • The TIA makes references to several Appendices, but none are attached]

    The RKHCA Development Committee has extended several invitations to RNDSQR to meet with us to discuss the proposed Courtyard 33 development, but to date they have chosen instead to focus on interacting directly with the public, including through the Marda Gras booth and the upcoming community engagement BBQ on September 22.  We would encourage all RKH residents to attend the September 22 engagement event to learn more about the proposed Courtyard 33 development, and to provide informed feedback thereon to RNDSQR.  Thank you in advance for taking an interest in the future of this community.

  • September 01, 2017 2:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In early August, we learned the City of Calgary is in discussions with The Odeon regarding a request to install additional parking stalls on the northeast corner of 20 St and 33 Ave SW. The additional parking stalls are to be accommodated by narrowing the west sidewalk, narrowing the proposed centre median and narrowing the north and southbound bike lanes to 1.25m from 1.5m. 

    Recent research has determined that typical North American Transportation standards require minimum 1.5 m bike lane width bordering parked cars and recommend wider if on a busy street. RKHCA has concerns with regard 1) safety of residents, 2) achieving the streetscape and walkability goals articulated in the recent Marda Loop ARP and 3) lack of public notification of changes to an approved plan following a year long engagement.

    What do you think? Would you like to see parking stalls returned next to Odeon? Do you have concerns about the proposed width of the bike lanes? On balance, do you feel the proposed changes to the approved Bikeway plan are an improvement, neutral or detract from the general safety in this intersection for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians?

  • July 05, 2017 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you are contemplating carrying on a business from your home in Richmond/Knob Hill you will require land use approval, either a home occupation : class 1 or a home occupation : class 2.

    The basic rule for a home occupation - class 1 is that the home-based business must not be visible from outside the home. The business must be conducted in the home by a resident and have minimal impact on the surrounding neighbourhood. If your business follows the rules, this application is approved and issued instantly. A home occupation - class 1 clearance form specifies the rules you must follow and is valid for as long as you operate that business from the same location. Some examples of home-based businesses that may fit under a home occupation - class 1 are desk and telephone occupations, web-based businesses or a consultant's office.

    General rules for home occupations - class 1:

    • You must live in the home associated with the home occupation.
    • Only two home occupation - class 1 businesses are allowed at the home.
    • Businesses can use up to 20 per cent of the floor area of the home or 30 square metres, whichever is less.
    • A garage cannot be used for the business.
    • No outside storage of material, goods or equipment can be on or near the site.
    • Businesses cannot be visible from the outside.
    • Businesses cannot create any kind of nuisance detectable from outside the home (electronic interference, dust, noise, odour, smoke, bright light or anything of an objectionable nature).
    • Employees and business partners cannot work at the home, if they do not live at the home.
    • No more than three visits per week by clients, staff or couriers to the home.
    • No more than one vehicle associated with the business can be parked at or near the home (maximum 4536 kilograms gross vehicle weight).
    • You cannot directly sell goods at the home, unless they are incidental and related to the service provided by the business.
    • No form of advertising related to the business is allowed on the site.
    • The address of the home occupation cannot be advertised to the public.

    If you cannot comply with the above rules, you may qualify for a development permit for a home occupation - class 2.  This approval allows for more flexibility and has specific conditions attached. Before receiving this permit, a sign will be placed on the property to inform neighbours of the proposed use, and the approved permit will be published in the local newspaper.  Home occupation – class 2 development permits are approved on a temporary basis, with the length of the approval determined before the permit is released.  Some examples of home-based businesses that may fit under the home occupation - class 2 rules are hairdressers, music teachers and a consultant's office (more than three visits per week).

    General rules for home occupations - class 2:

    Same as for class 1 but with a few differences including:

    • Only one home occupation - class 2 business is allowed at the home.
    • A garage may be used for the business, provided it can still be used to park a vehicle.
    • The business cannot generate traffic to and from the home that is uncharacteristic of the neighbourhood.
    • A maximum of 1 employee or business partner working at the home who does not live at the home.
    • A minimum of one parking stall is required for the business, in addition to the motor vehicle parking stalls already required for the home.
    • A maximum of 5 business-associated vehicle visits per day and a maximum of 15 visits per week.

    In addition to land use approval, some home-based businesses also require business licensing. Visit calgary.ca/mybusiness for licence types and the required approvals.

    Some homes in Richmond/Knob Hill have one or more restrictive covenants registered against the title, and in some cases those restrictive covenants include a provision prohibiting any business from being carried on from the home.  Accordingly, before starting a home-based business it would also be a good idea to check your title to see if any such restriction applies to your home.

    RKHCA Development Committee





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