Spotlight on BCA’s Planning and Development Committee!

 

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Most Community Associations in Calgary have a Committee that is the voice of the neighbourhood on building and development issues that affect their community.  Development decisions made by the City of Calgary, both in and around Bowness have a significant impact on our day to day quality of life.  We are very fortunate in Bowness to have a large committee of passionate volunteers who represent a broad cross section of this community. Their broad range of knowledge and understanding of Bowness past, present and future is invaluable in voicing community perspective where policies and guidelines can be conflicting or open to interpretation.

The role of the BCA and the committee is to provide comments that reflect community context.  It is one of the few opportunities we have to impact decisions made by the City of Calgary.  The statutory and policy documents that guide the committee in their comments include the Alberta Municipal Government Act, The Bowness Area Redevelopment Plan, the City of Calgary Land Use Bylaws, the Infill Housing Guidelines and the Calgary Municipal Development Plan.

Various City of Calgary departments invite Building and Development Committee input on issues such as development permits, rezoning, traffic, parks and green space and built and natural environment.  Some of the current projects the community is involved with include a proposed bottle depot on Bowridge drive, the West-Memorial Sanitary Truck upgrade, the Bowfort Road/ TransCanada Interchange and numerous other large scale projects.  The committee is also reviewing an increasing number of residential development permits, including a number of permits for flood affected properties.  Committee members are volunteering extra time to review these permits and provide comments in a timely manner.

Since May of 2010 the Planning and Development Committee have been hard at work.  The committee reviewed 88 discretionary residential (including home occupation) permit applications of which only 4 were appealed (1 was amicably resolved prior to the hearing) and 1 contextual permitted permit was appealed on technical grounds.  Another 41 commercial and other permit applications were reviewed. Of those 4 were appealed including a liquor store and bottle depot.  Appealing a permit approved by the City’s Development and Building Authority (DBA) is an absolute last resort.  It is not an easy or lightly made decision.  The most common reason for appealing is that the proposed development would “unduly interfere with the amenities of the neighbourhood, or materially interfere with or affect the use and enjoyment of neighbouring parcels of land”. This principle is built into the Municipal Government Act and other policies.

 

Land Use Amendments (rezoning) are a different process than development permits, and go before City Council for final approval. They require amendments to our Area Redevelopment Plan.  Examples include presentations before council on development on the Eastern Paskapoo slopes, Melcor Development on Greenbriar, and Attainable Homes to name a few.  The Committee has the opportunity to speak at public meetings before council on these projects as there is no appeal process.

A guiding principle of the Committee is supporting good planning and development with the best interest of the neighbourhood and community members in mind.   We value and appreciate all voices and do our best to balance the diversity and opposing points of view in Bowness.  Be engaged in your community and join us at one of our open houses, attend any of the numerous events and talk to the staff or board of the BCA, contact our volunteer coordinator, follow us on facebook or twitter just to name a few ways to make our community a better place to live!

If you are looking for information on Building and Planning and the numerous other opportunities in Bowness please check out www.mybowness.com!  If you would like to attend a committee meeting please check the agenda under planning and RSVP to mailto:planning@mybowness.com or call 403-288-8300 so we can arrange space. Thank you!