Medium scale housing, such as townhomes and walk-up apartments, can help meet a range of housing needs in neighbourhoods across Edmonton. These types of housing forms, which exist between single detached homes and duplexes (small scale) and tall buildings (large scale), tend to be less common in cities across Canada. That’s why they are often referred to as the 'missing middle'.
The medium scale residential zones in Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw establish the rules for developing these ‘missing middle’ housing types. These zones have not been substantially reviewed or updated since 2001 and, as a result, there are a number of challenges with the existing rules within these zones.
The City is conducting a review of Edmonton’s middle density residential zones and associated overlays to identify what regulation changes are needed to reduce barriers that prevent the development of 'missing middle' housing.
The zones and overlays under review include:
- Small Scale Infill Development Zone
- Row Housing Zone
- Urban Character Row Housing Zone
- Medium Density Multiple Family Zone
- Low Rise Apartment Zone
- Medium Rise Apartment Zone
This project is currently at the draft amendment stage.
The draft amendments will be brought forward for consideration at a future Urban Planning Committee meeting. This meeting will provide the Urban Planning Committee with an opportunity to give City staff further guidance before the proposed amendments go to City Council Public Hearing for a final decision.
A target date for the amendments to advance to City Council Public Hearing for a final decision has not yet been set.
What We’re Thinking
Based on data analysis and the results of public engagement, City staff have identified a number of high level concepts for future amendments to Zoning Bylaw 12800:
- Simplify stacked row house and apartment uses into a single ‘catch all’ use called Multi-unit Housing
- Create a clear succession in the zones by providing incremental increases in scale from the (RF3) Small Scale Infill Development Zone to the (RA8) Medium Rise Apartment Zone for allowable height, site coverage and floor area ratio
- Include density minimums to help meet zone purposes
- Require and incentivize larger units that can accommodate larger households
- Amend separation space regulations to avoid the creation of unnecessary vacant space and allow for more efficient site layouts
- Require articulation of buildings or covering of drive aisles to improve design outcomes
- Incorporate key design regulations from the existing Medium Scale Residential Infill Overlay and Medium Density Residential Overlay into the underlying zones and remove the overlays
This proposed approach was endorsed by Urban Planning Committee on July 3, 2018 (Item 6.4). The committee also directed city staff to conduct further analysis of the implications of removing the RF6 Zone and options to incent and/or require larger units in medium density zones.
Public engagement for this project has involved:
- Conversations related to the ‘missing middle’ through the in-depth Evolving Infill workshops and conversation fairs held on January 23, 29, February 7, March 14 and 20
- In-person engagement discussions with members of the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association - Edmonton Region, Urban Development Institute - Edmonton Region, Infill Development in Edmonton Association and the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues Planning Committee
- A draft of the report was circulated for a four week period (from April 6, 2018 to May 4, 2018), to the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues’ Planning Committee, each individual Community League, Canadian Homebuilders’ Association - Edmonton Region, Infill Development in Edmonton Association, and individuals who had expressed interest in being informed about this project
There will be additional opportunities for public engagement as city staff develop zoning bylaw amendments.