Coming up at City Council: March 16-20, 2015

Agendas for upcoming City Council meetings are generally released on Thursday afternoons. I like to take a look to see what Council will be discussing, and I figured I should share that here. Below you’ll find links to the meetings taking place next week, as well as links to and thoughts on some agenda items that caught my eye. You can find my previous roundups here.

City Council Swearing In 2013-2017

Monday, March 16, 2015

The week begins on Monday with a Public Hearing scheduled to last all day. There are 20 bylaws on the agenda. Here are some that caught my eye:

Bylaw 17011 – Adoption of The Decoteau ASP

You’ll recall that this bylaw was first considered at the February 9 meeting, where Council asked for some improvements. Here’s what has changed:

  • The net residential density of the proposed ASP has increased from 30.6 to 34.0 dwelling units per hectare.
  • An increase in the Business Employment designation is not being proposed as it would increase infrastructure costs, among other considerations. Administration says this can be further refined during the NSP phase.
  • Mapping and policies related to wetland and natural areas have been verified as providing “an accurate representation of the ecological network proposed for retention.”

This bylaw is ready for second reading only – third reading is being withheld pending review by the Capital Region Board.

Bylaw 17116 – Amendment to the Zoning Bylaw re: Garage & Garden Suites

This bylaw is meant to eliminate restrictions for Garage and Garden Suites and to enable the subdivision of sites zoned RF1 to narrower lots not less than 7.6 meters wide. These two amendments were brought to Executive Committee back on November 12 and address two actions from Edmonton’s Infill Roadmap (pdf):

  • Action 14: Create more and better opportunities for Garage and Garden Suites in established neighbourhoods by amending the Zoning Bylaw’s location criteria and Site regulations for these types of housing.
  • Action 15: Change the (RF1) Single Detached Residential zone to allow the subdivision of properties into narrower lots that are half of the average width of the other lots on the block (but not less than 25ft wide)

There are currently restrictions on where Garage and Garden Suites can be located, on the height of those structures, and on the minimum site area. The proposed amendment addresses all of these restrictions.

The second proposed amendment will allow a minimum site width for single detached housing of 7.6 meters, decreases the minimum site area for single detached housing to 250.8 m2, increases allowable site coverage for narrow lot developments to 42%, and allows the subdivision of a lot zoned RF1 to a maximum of two lots.

Public input came from the Evolving Infill consultation efforts as well as a pilot project that took place in the Prince Charles neighbourhood. The report says that “more than 1000 residents and stakeholders took part in both Evolving Infill and Garage and Garden Suite consultation.”

Bylaw 17114 – To allow for the development of Public Education Services, Allard

This bylaw is to rezone the property located at 660 Allard Boulevard SW from AP to US to accommodate the development of a public elementary school. This is being done “in conformance with the Heritage Valley Servicing Concept Design Brief and the Allard Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan.” No concerns or questions were raised as a result of the advance notice.

Bylaw 17132 – Closure of portions of 101 Street NW, 100A Street NW

This bylaw is about road closures yes, but it’s really about repurposing Fire Station 21 in Rossdale:

“On July 3, 2013, City Council approved a Community Services Committee Report that recommended, in part, that the existing Fire Station 21 be repurposed to house an active river rescue crew, provide backup service to the downtown core, house specialized apparatus, be approved as a major facility within the River Valley, and that the location of the facility within the River Valley be deemed essential and approved pursuant to section 3.5.1 of the North Saskatchewan River Valley Area Development Plan Bylaw. This road closure application is a step in the ongoing progression to achieving these recommendations.”

Apparently the station is built over several lots and road right-of-way created by “Plan Q” way back in 1893.

Other

A few others I wanted to note:

  • Bylaw 17111 is to allow a freestanding sign to be put up at 5315 127 Street NW to identify the new Eco Station.
  • Bylaws 17070 and 17071 will be considered together, and amend the Maple NSP to designate land that was being used for a cell tower to row housing as the tower has been dismantled and is no longer in operation.
  • Bylaw 17133 is an amendment to the zoning bylaw to reduce the required minimum Side Setback for garages in RF4 zoned areas from 0.9 meters to 0.6 meters, “specific to Garages where the vehicle doors face a Lane abutting the Site.” Currently constructing a detached garage for each unit of a semi-detached house would require a Class B discretionary development approval.

Tuesday & Wednesday, March 17/18, 2015

Next up for Council is a regular City Council Meeting scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. There are 14 public reports, 3 bylaws, and 3 private reports on the agenda.

Council Members’ Updates on Agency & Initiative Appointments

This report provides an update on the agencies and initiatives that the Councillors are members of. Here are some highlights:

  • AUMA’s Executive Committee will be making its annual presentation to Council’s Executive Committee on March 24.
  • The Chair and CEO of the Capital Region Board will also be presenting to Executive Committee on March 24. The CRB’s Regional Services Committee may be disbanded pending a report in August 2015.
  • The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) will hold its annual conference in Edmonton from June 5-8. The mayor will host a reception in Churchill Square after the opening game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on June 6.
  • Edmonton will be the host city for the 2019 International Council on Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety (ICADTS). The 7th Traffic Safety Conference takes place here in Edmonton from April 27-30.

Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy

This report presents a draft of the strategy and will be discussed in a facilitated session on Wednesday morning. So what is a Community Energy Transition Strategy?

“Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy is a risk management strategy designed to protect Edmonton’s quality-of-life (social, economic, environment) from climate and energy-related risks.”

“The strategy responds to City Council’s 10-year goal to be “the nation’s leader in setting and achieving the highest standards of environmental preservation and sustainability both in its own practices and by encouraging and enabling the practices of its partners.” Equally, it responds to Council-approved goals in The Way We Green and to corporate outcomes and measures that call for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in both City operations and the Edmonton community.”

Energy transition is about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency and conservation, ensuring our energy systems are resilient to disturbances, and positioning Edmonton to take advantage of clean energy technologies. The strategy contains:

  • A Diagnosis of the energy and climate challenges/opportunities we face globally and locally;
  • Strategic Courses of Action for addressing these challenges/opportunities in coming decades;
  • An Eight-Year Action Plan establishing the first step (2014-2017) and signaling the second step (2018-2021) of Edmonton’s energy transition journey.

The strategy calls energy transition “the golden opportunity of our age” and says that “few places are better positioned than Edmonton in terms of knowledge, experience, and financial capacity to lead and excel in this area.”

To say there’s a lot to digest here would be an understatement. There are 11 strategic actions, 7 opportunity areas, 45 focus areas, and 10 community scale programs. Targets include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2035 (compared to 2005 levels), reducing energy consumption by 25% per person by 2035 (compared to 2009 levels), and generating 10% of Edmonton’s energy locally by 2035.

By 2035, Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy is “expected to deliver a net present value of approximately $2.5 billion to citizens and community stakeholders.” The report argues that a City Policy is important to make this happen.

So, how much will it cost? Funding of $1.9 million a year is needed in 2016 and 2017 for startup initiatives. The programs beginning in 2018 would require another $27.5 million per year through 2021. No funding sources are identified in the report, but it does say that “additional federal, provincial, and municipal government funding will be needed to advance these initiatives.”

Communications Plan for LRT Funding Advocacy

The report isn’t available yet, but Council will be discussing how to advocate for funds for future LRT development. This item came up at the Transportation Services Committee back on February 25. As a reminder, there is roughly 32 km of the 69.7 km LRT Network Plan without funding.

Committee Reports

The Committee reports were all recently discussed at one of the four committees and have been referred to Council with a recommendation for approval. A few that I wanted to highlight include:

Bylaws

As mentioned, there are three bylaws on the agenda:

  • Bylaw 17005 is an amendment to the Procedures and Committees Bylaw 12300 to change the time for continuation of City Council meetings and Public Hearings. Currently they continue the next business day, but the amendment would allow Council to choose a time within the next three business days.
  • Bylaw 17128 is to decrease the borrowing authority by $9.6 million to $12.3 million for the Aurum Energy Park. This is required to enable the City to recover the actual cost of the local improvement rather than the estimated cost.
  • Bylaw 17101 increases borrowing for sidewalk reconstruction in the Hazeldean neighbourhood by $8,339 because the originally assessed area was short by 46 meters. This is a very small chunk of the $6.9 million project cost.

Private Reports

Council will receive three private reports: one is an intergovernmental update on the City Charter, and the other two deal with the performance evaluations for the City Manager and City Auditor. The 2014 performance evaluation results are time-specific at 1:30pm on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Another Community Services Committee meeting has been scheduled for Thursday morning, to allow Council to continue interviewing applicants for the Civic Agencies Recruitment effort.

Wrap-up

You can keep track of City Council on Twitter using the #yegcc hashtag, and you can listen to or watch any Council meeting live online. You can read my previous coverage of the 2013-2017 City Council here.

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