The Steps to Redevelopment

The building process in a developed neighbourhood.

For a neighbourhood to remain healthy and vibrant over time, it must change and evolve with a municipality’s ever-shifting demographics and social needs. If the neighbourhood doesn’t adapt, its population may dwindle, and its surrounding businesses and services will start to decline. 

Redevelopment projects (such as residential infills and multi-family dwellings) play a major role in keeping established communities diverse and desirable. They’re also instrumental in helping a municipality make the best use of existing land. 

But residential redevelopment can be quite complex; when it comes to replacing older homes or building on an empty patch of neighbourhood land in the Calgary Region, there are a series of steps and checkpoints to follow. Here’s what takes in Calgary:

Step One: Conducting a Feasibility Review
When a developer finds a potential parcel of land for a redevelopment project, a feasibility study begins. 

What’s involved?
The feasibility study, initiated and funded by the developer, typically starts with a review of the community’s Area Structure Plan (ASP). An ASP serves as the basic framework for how the land can be developed. The feasibility study also looks at the Municipal Development Plan (MDP), the designated land use, and other City and community regulations to determine if the project is right for the neighbourhood. 

How long does it take?
Approximately three months. 

Step Two: Applying for Land-Use Re-Designation
What happens if the vision a developer has for a project that doesn’t quite line up with the permitted use of that land? In that case, the developer applies to The City for land use re-designation, or rezoning. 

What’s involved?
Before applying for re-designation of land-use, the developer often consults with neighbours, the community association and even the ward councillor. Changing a property’s land-use can be contentious to current residents, so it’s beneficial for the developer to understand their views before submitting the application.   

The application is reviewed by the Corporate Planning Applications Group (CPAG) and sent to other City departments – as well as external stakeholders – for feedback. Neighbours in the community are officially notified of the application by CPAG and are invited to express their views and concerns early in the review. 

CPAG evaluates the submission, takes all feedback into account, and then lets the developer know whether the application will be recommended for approval or refusal to the Calgary Planning Commission (CPC). 

Once the CPC receives the application, it makes a further recommendation to City Council. A public hearing is held at a City Council meeting, where the developer is given the opportunity to discuss the proposed land-use re-designation. Community residents are invited to attend, as well. 

Following the hearing, Council either approves, refuses or proposes amendments to the application. 

How long does it take?
Usually around six months.


Step 3: Obtaining a Development Permit
With land-use is in place, it’s time to secure a Development Permit. Similar to the rezoning process, it involves plenty of public consultation. 

What’s involved?
The developer submits a proposed building design, as well as all other necessary documentation, to The City for approval. A senior planning technician with The City, known as the file manager, does a thorough review. The City posts a public notice on the proposed building site announcing the Development Permit application.  

Once again, various stakeholders – such as neighbours in the area, community associations and local business owners – are invited to voice their ideas and concerns about the development details. The developer addresses all concerns and issues before moving on. 

Following conditional approval of the application, another public notification is posted, and members of the public are given two weeks to appeal the approval. When the developer has met all prior-to-release conditions, a Development Permit is finally issued by the City’s Development & Building Approvals Department. 

How long does it take?
Generally around four months, but timing can vary greatly depending on public input and the size of the project.  

View our video, “From NIMBY to YIMBY” to explore why we should say, “yes” to redevelopment next door.

Step 4: Development Site Servicing Plan
When it comes to ensuring that all necessary services will be in place and functional on a redevelopment site, there are a number of infrastructure elements that need to be considered. So, a Development Site Servicing Plan (DSSP) is created. 

What’s involved? 
The developer must initiate and fund the creation of the DSSP, which addresses any infrastructure upgrades that will arise with the redevelopment project. This plan, developed by an engineer, details how things such as lot grading, surrounding roads, and updates to existing water and sewer utilities will be incorporated into the project. 

Once the plan is drawn up, it is submitted to The City’s Development Servicing Section for approval. 

How long does it take?
The approval process takes one to two months.

Step 5: Securing a Building Permit
After the Development Permit is obtained and the Development Site Servicing Plan is in place and approved, it’s time for the home builder to apply for a Building Permit. 

What’s involved?
Applying for a Building Permit involves, once again, submitting a number of forms and drawings to The City for review and approval. As long as all the permit documents are filled out correctly and the engineering and architectural drawings (including the site plans, building plans and construction details) conform to the approved development and building codes, the review and approval process will be straightforward. 

How long does it take?
One to two months.    

Step 6: Construction
Finally, construction of the redevelopment project can begin. 

What’s involved?
The home builder funds and oversees the construction process – from foundation and framing to the finishing work – and manages the inspection checkpoints. The duration of this stage varies greatly, depending on the size and complexity of the project. There are also levies to be paid to The City. In addition, construction challenges such as bad weather or delays in the delivery of materials can hold up progress.  

How long does it take?
Anywhere from six months to two years. 

Read our book, “Raising a Smart City” that explains why Calgary will grow in, in order to grow up.

Step 7: Completion Certificate
Once construction is done, a final inspection is carried out and a Development Completion Permit (DCP) is issued. 

What’s involved? 
When the project is finished, the home builder contacts The City to request a DCP inspection. A development inspector will then tour the site to make sure everything has been built according to the approved plans. If all looks good, the DCP is issued and the job is done. 

How long does it take?
It can take up to one month to obtain the Development Completion Permit.  

The redevelopment process may be lengthy, but the revitalization it can bring to an established community – through addition of new residents and invigorated businesses and services – makes it well worth the time and investment. 

Read our book “From Dirt to Door” to learn more about what it takes to create all of Calgary’s communities, including the process for brand new ones. 

June 14th, 2017
Updated: September 8th, 2017

Redevelopment plays a major role in keeping established communities diverse and desirable.