RCI: The Zoning Files – Redrawing Edmonton’s Downtown
You knew it wouldn’t be too long before we dove in to a zoning post with this blog. I know that’s enough to send shivers through some of you, but we promise, we’ll make it as painless as possible. And it you make it to the end of the post without falling asleep, I’ll give you a merit badge.
It’s actually kind of exciting. The city is planning on rezoning the downtown in an effort to make it a special district within our city. The Capital City Downtown Redevelopment Plan was before Council in July, but some pretty serious changes have been made since then. Council was mulling over some of the finer details of the different zones – sexy topics like minimum parking and building setbacks.
There’s a lot to wrap one’s head around, so we’re going to start off with quick overview. The report laid out where the new zones would be and what kind of stuff would be allowed in each area of downtown. The Charrette used our vast area of shady contacts to get our hands on these easily-available, public documents.
And then I made a map!
View Rezoning Downtown in a larger map
Now this is a rough approximation of where the new zones would be. I’m not going to claim that it’s 100 per cent accurate, but I think it’s pretty close. I’ll post the diagram that I based this on underneath.
You can click on each zone on the map to see what it is, and what the Capital City Downtown Plan’s vision for each zone is. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll take a closer look at each zone in more detail – what kind of changes will be made to landscaping, parking and new developments.
If you can’t click the map’s zones because your computer is infested with gremlins, I’ve added a legend below. So have fun, click away, and we’ll be back this week with another episode of RCI: The Zoning Files.
This zone is planned for high density development. It’s planned for a mix of office and retail space, government and institutional. And, as the name implies, arts and entertainment is hoped to be a big part of it as well. The intent is to have a lot of retail shops on the ground floor and to make this zone more pedestrian friendly.
Every town has a main street, and the new Downtown plan aims to transform the shambling, half-dead strip that is Jasper Ave in to something a little more vibrant. The make-up of the Jasper wouldn’t change much: there would be a heavy emphasis on more ground-floor commercial to appeal to some of the people walking by, with the office space higher up to make it a destination street.
Given the name of this district, it’s not hard to guess what kind of thing the rezoning hopes to accomplish. There’s a good amount of history in this building – from Beaver Hills to the Centre High school building. The word the city uses here is urban village – the hope of making this area seem like a whole with complimenting architecture and streetscaping.
The city is looking to turn this in to a medium density area. It’s going to be mostly commercial and office space, as well as institutional. Once again, ground floor retail and entertainment to appeal to pedestrian traffic. The offices up would be on the second floor. The city hopes to keep spur more residential west of 109th.
It’s no secret that city planners want to more people living in the core. So, you have to give them some place to rest their heads. This zone, no surprise, will be zoned mostly for high density residential as well as bit of local commercial and amenities. Corner stores, cafes, hairdressers the kind of thing you need when you’ve got a lot of people living in a small area.
Take a guess at what this area will contain. If you guessed medium- to high- density residential with some office, retail and institutional development mixed in, you get a cookie.
This is a bit of a hodgepodge really, and it’s going to take a bit longer than a paragraph to break it down. This area will have everything from residential to light manufacturing. Office, retail, institutional, entertainment, education. Unique destination or patchwork of random uses? Will be interesting to see how this one develops.
Rules are meant to be broken, and zoning bylaws are no exception. A Direct Control zone is a special areas that the city uses for buildings that don’t fit in with the rules of whatever zone they’re in. If someone wants to make a building higher than would be allowed, or wants to use if for something they usually couldn’t, they need to go to City Council to get the area marked off as Direct Control. They’re done on a case by case basis.
This is land that is not under the city’s control. Things like provincial or federally owned land.
And here’s the original diagram from the public hearing yesterday. Click to make it grow!
Congratulations! You made it to the end of the post without falling asleep. Either that or you did fall asleep, and your forehead is mashed against the page down button. Either way, you’re all winners.