ByLaw Changes Email Campaign

June 2, 2014 by CRC Action Group in News

REMINDER: Please join us for our AGM on June 12, 2014, 7pm at the Bowness Community Association.

The City of Calgary is presenting information regarding the changes to the Bylaws at Public Hearings that CRCAG believes could be confusing to homeowners.
The Sliding Scale which is supposed to dictate when different levels of mitigation are required on a Development Permit in the Flood Hazard Area DOES NOT FORM PART OF THE BYLAW OR POLICY DOCUMENT. The sliding scale is simply a “guide” planners may or may not follow.
We are asking City Council to ensure clarity for flood hazard area homeowners and add the Sliding Scale to the By-Law.

Great job CRCAG Members for showing up in droves at the City of Calgary’s Land Use By-law Change Information Session last week at Christ Church in Elbow Park.
We spoke with a number of you there, and it seemed our CRCAG email that day provided information you needed to become sufficiently concerned about these proposed amendments and attend the Information Session.
A Communications Representative from the City commented that previous Information Sessions had been sparsely attended, and we like to think that mobilized CRCAG Members had a lot to do with last Thursday’s strong showing.
When asked by a CRCAG member what public engagement the City had undertaken since May 12th, other than these public information sessions (which weren’t about soliciting public feedback, but rather presenting the rather misleading “sliding scale mitigation” requirements), we were told that Administration had offered up information sessions with each of the Councillors, and had met with about half of them. Councillors are the ones voting on the proposed amendments. Let’s ensure they hear both sides of the story prior to June 9th. Below is a sample letter you can send to have your voice heard by the Mayor and City Council.
We must press on – meaning reaching out to our City Councillors and our Mayor (see sample email below).
We must march on – meaning attending the June 9th Council meeting and being vocal about our concerns and our expectations.
Strength in numbers – let your voice be heard!
Sample email to send to the Mayor and Councillors:

Mayor and Councillors,
I am writing you to reconsider the Proposed Land Use Bylaw Amendment for the Flood Hazard Area that is coming up on the agenda at the June 9th meeting of City Council. Although I was encouraged when Council tabled these amendments on May 12th, and directed Administration to engage with the public, I was quite disappointed by what has occurred since then. Public engagement has been in the form of information sessions at which very misleading information has been presented by City Planners to the public. In fact, the use of these information sessions to disseminate such misleading information by City should be called out.

Posters (see attachment) displayed at the event outlined:
Building an addition to your house that is greater than 10% will require mitigation.
Between 10% – 50%: Electrical power switch above the flood line and sewer valve.
Between 50% -75%: Electrical power switch above the flood line and protect the mechanical equipment.
Above 75%: raise the mechanical, electrical and raise the main floor of the dwelling.
Why is this misleading? Because other than the statement that mitigation is only required for an addition greater than 10% of the gross square footage of the home, the “sliding scale mitigation” requirements set out in bullets 2-4 above will not be written into the By-law, nor will they form a Policy, nor will they be enforced by Administration as a mandatory application of the by-law by City Planners, nor will there be any obligation imposed on the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board to consider or apply the “sliding scale mitigation” requirements. The result, any addition in the Flood Hazard Area to a home greater than 10% can only be granted a development permit by the City if the City Planner approving the development permit grants a relaxation of the mitigation requirements included in the By-law. The By-law will require moving electrical and mechanical upstairs and raising the main floor of the home above the designated flood level (or other set level, depending if flood fringe or overland flow area).

City Planners response to concerns about not embedding the sliding scale of mitigation into the By-laws is that they need to retain discretion, and therefore prefer to structure the By-law as requiring relaxations provided on a case-by-case basis. What about the homeowners whose interests these by-laws are purporting to protect? We as homeowners need some certainty! Losing more value from our most valuable asset is unfair, and these amendments as written will indeed impact the value of our homes. Many of the homes that would be seeking development permits for additions are those that are relatively small, for example, there are a number of bungalows that are less than 1000 square feet, which would be limited to a < 100 sq ft addition without potentially being required to move mechanical and electrical upstairs and to raise the level of the main floor. These information sessions were unfair and misleading and I urge you not to accept the Proposed Land Use By-law Amendments at the June 9th meeting. Although I disagree with the removal of the grandfathering provisions for existing homes in principle, at a minimum, please ensure that the sliding scale mitigation requirements that were being “sold” to homeowners at public information sessions are embedded into and form part of By-law. Yours truly, [Name of homeowner] Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi Ward 1 Councillor Ward Sutherland, Ward 2 Councillor Joe Magliocca, Ward 3 Councillor Jim Stevenson, Ward 4 Councillor Sean Chu, Ward 5 Councillor Ray Jones, Ward 6 Councillor Richard Pootmans, Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell, Ward 8 Councillor Evan Woolley, Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, Ward 10 Councillor Andre Chabot, Ward 11 Councillor Brian Pincott, Ward 12 Councillor Shane Keating, Ward 13 Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart, Ward 14 Councillor Peter Demong, IMPORTANT NOTE: CRCAG is providing you awareness of these issues so you can gather the information you need to make decisions and voice your concerns. CRCAGs information should not be relied on for any purpose and we expressly disclaim any liability for any use of the information provided.