The City of Airdrie held its first open house for the 12 Thousand Acres Plan on October 4, and heard a number of questions from the community and stakeholders.
The following is the FAQs we’ve heard so far on the project, and will be updated over time.
What is the timeline for the project?
The City is currently starting public and stakeholder engagement for the project with the intention of having a draft plan to review and discuss by February 2018. After this, there will be additional engagement opportunities and the document will be reviewed, revised, and corrected. The City’s goal is to have a complete draft ready to bring forward to Council in June 2018.
What is the City doing with the area? What is planned?
At the moment, the City has a number of background plans that partially address this question: AirdrieONE set policies on how the City would grow respecting principles of sustainable development (e.g. promoting smart growth, less sprawl, and green development), and the Airdrie City Plan outlined more specific policies for how the City would develop out to a population of approx. 100,000.
There are also three Community Area Structure Plans (CASPs) being developed for parts of the City within the 12 Thousand Acres project area, but all of these are still in progress and have not yet been been officially adopted.
The purpose of this project is to determine the general land use (i.e. neighbourhoods, employment areas, natural areas), set boundaries for future CASPs in the project area, and determine the order in which those CASPs will be developed.
Does the City own this land?
Nearly all of the land within the 12 Thousand Acres Plan boundary is privately owned, and the City has very limited holdings within the project area. As new areas are planned and developed (for neighbourhoods, business parks, etc.), the developer is required to contribute 10% of the developable area as Municipal Reserve, which the City can use for public parks, schools, and recreation facilities. The City also takes ownership over areas that are designated as Environmental Reserves, Public Utility Lots, and roads as areas are developed.
How can I go about developing land in the 12 Thousand Acres Plan?
All of the land in this area currently has zoning rights outlined under Airdrie’s Land Use Bylaw (LUB) B-01/2016. The LUB outlines what can be developed on a property under the current rules and standards, and most of this development is subject to a Development Permit application with the City.
In order to subdivide property, to rezone, or to develop something other than what is listed under the current zoning, there needs to be a Community Area Structure Plan (CASP) and Neighbourhood Structure Plan (NSP) in place for that area.
Why has the City predetermined some areas within the plan?
(East Points CASP, Davy Creek, and West Hills)
These three CASPs were allowed to move forward ahead of the 12 Thousand Acres Plan so that the City was not putting a hold on all future development areas. The East Points CASP is a City initiative to help facilitate non-residential development and fulfils a need for more commercial and industrial land, and the other two CASPs were reviewed and required to go through a justification process before Council allowed them to move ahead – Council reviewed the Davy Creek, and West Hills areas’ justification reports and allowed them to proceed on May 1, 2017.
What will happen with the country residential areas?
How these areas re-develop (or not) will be a great question that the City looks forward to discussing with those communities. The 12 Thousand Acres Plan should reflect the communities’ vision here, as they could be urbanized and redeveloped over time, or protected and kept as country residential enclaves within the City.
How does this plan relate to the East Points Industrial CASP?
The East Points CASP and the 12 Thousand Acres Plan are both being developed by the City and the plans will relate to one another. 12 Thousand Acres will reflect the land use concept being developed for East Points and the early portions of the CASP’s phasing, and the East Points will depend on the 12 Thousand Acres Plan to outline when additional servicing and infrastructure improvements may be brought out to the east side of the City to facilitate the rest of the area’s development.
Why does the Transportation Master Plan show a road/truck route through this area?
The aspirational road network in the TMP is intended only to provide guidance for future growth. The planning team reads this document to simply say that an alternate route or additional connections may be required in certain areas (e.g. an alternate connection between Yankee Valley BV and Range Road 292).
The specifics of whether a road is actually required, where the alignment should go, and how it adjusts for the existing development in the surrounding area are all addressed when a Community Area Structure Plan is developed for that area.
What will each area be zoned as?
The 12 Thousand Acres Plan isn’t going to look specifically at zoning, but it will determine the future land use for all of the areas within the project boundary. This will be very general, and likely limited to categories such as Future Neighbourhoods (encompassing houses, higher density residential, neighbourhood commercial, mixed-use commercial/residential areas and neighbourhood parks), Future Employment Lands (encompassing other types of industrial and commercial development), and Natural Areas (areas that can’t be developed or that should be maintained due to environmentally-significant features, etc.).
These general land use categories will be expanded and addressed in more detail as CASPs and NSPs are developed for these areas. Those plans will provide increasingly more detailed land use concepts and policies for how the areas will be developed, and these ultimately lead to new zoning being put into place as the detailed plans for each neighbourhood are completed.
How are well sites managed as the area around them develops?
Alberta Environment has setback requirements around active well sites, pipelines, and similar areas, which ensures a separation between incompatible land uses, and a CASP that is developed for the surrounding area must either account for these restrictions or work with the owner to decommission and reclaim the site. If/when these sites are abandoned, the company that had installed that infrastructure must complete a reclamation process to return the land to its original state – at which point there are no longer restrictions on the development around it.
What happened with our rights under Rocky View County? What changed with the annexation?
The current development rights (what a person is allowed to build on their land) for these areas were maintained after the annexation and those rights were brought into Airdrie’s 2016 Land Use Bylaw. The City still references the RVC bylaws where necessary to have a consistent interpretation, and those land use rights have not changed.
Planning & Development