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Calgary councillors calling for plebiscite on new zoning rules

Six city councillors will put forward a notice of motion on Tuesday calling for Calgary to hold a plebiscite around potential zoning changes.

A notice of motion by councillors Dan McLean, Andre Chabot, Sonya Sharp, Sean Chu, Peter Demong and Terry Wong calls for the cancellation of a public hearing in April, instead putting the question of city-wide rezoning to a plebiscite in 2025.

McLean says the blanket zoning change has significant implications and Calgarians have voted on more minor issues in the past, like fluoride in the water and the failed 2026 Olympic bid.

Ward 3 Coun. Jasmine Mian, however, suggests the proposed plebiscite is delaying action on housing and only pushes the issue off to the next council.

Zoning changes are part of the city’s housing strategy to build more supply.

A proposal to change Calgary’s base residential zoning district to residential grade-oriented infill, known as R-CG, was included in the city’s housing strategy approved last year.

R-CG allows duplexes, fourplexes and row houses to be built instead of just single-family homes.

City staff say the change will boost density in developed neighbourhoods and streamline the permit process for people looking to redevelop their property.

Despite being approved in September, a public hearing is required to make the change, which is set for April 22.

The city says it’s sent letters to Calgarians and held in-person information sessions to raise awareness — with the next session happening on March 13.

If council approves the plebiscite, it will be held during the next municipal election and cancel the April hearing.

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