News & Media

Watermark Likely to See Property Values Rise

Monday May 30th, 2016

The days of new estate communities being developed in the Calgary area may be at an end.

Whether new communities designed along the likes of Bearspaw, Watermark at Bearspaw, Springbank, Church Ranches, Artists View and others with big homes on big lots will get approval in the future is uncertain and appear not to be part of the vision that is the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP).

The CMP is the playbook for future development as envisioned by the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP), which consists of municipalities in the immediate Calgary area, from Airdrie to Turner Valley, Banff to Strathmore and all others in between.

As an aside, it's a good thing they didn't call it the Calgary Regional Area Partnership, but I digress.

According to CRP literature, ""The Calgary Metropolitan Plan is the blueprint for accommodating growth over the next 60 years. The municipal members of the CRP have committed to the CMP by aligning their local plans.

""Regional Context Statements will be included in CRP members' Municipal Development Plans (MDPs) to set out the relationship between the local MDPs and the CMP. Regional Context Statements are policy tools that enable municipalities to develop locally appropriate approaches to aligning with the CMP.""

The CRP's vision is identified in five guiding principles, with principle 3 entitled (ital) Accommodating growth in more compact settlement patterns (ital).

The directional statement is ""We will emphasize the uniqueness of existing municipalities and the development of more complete, healthy, transit-supportive communities, with employment and services located where people live.""

And the built form? ""Higher density, infill development across the region makes good sense for the environment, the economy, our budgets and our quality of life.

""This type of managed growth and development has many benefits, including preserving agricultural land, reducing infrastructure expenses, promoting public transit and encouraging the effective use of green spaces.""

According to CRP, all new developments in priority areas will be ""compact, mixed use, walkable and connected by local and regional mobility systems"", with all housing located close to transit services.

Minimum density in new developments will be eight to 10 units per gross residential acre, with higher densities encouraged.

This isn't merely a suggestion.

""MDPs...that show how new (developments) will achieve the minimum densities, staged in over time, will be eligible for regional servicing."" says the CRP.

So, if a developer wants to build a new estate community with big homes on big lots - too bad, it looks like there will be no approvals of such things, which kind of conflicts with principle 3.b.1 which reads ""Our region will support a range of house types and choices.""

The CMP is a mirror image of the City of Calgary's Municipal Development Plan and certainly, it has some very good guiding principles, and while some will have unintended consequences, two things are certain.

1 - The value of homes in existing estate communities will rise;

2 - There are those who believe the Calgary Regional Partnership acronym is appropriate.

There will be more about the CMP in this space soon, in the meantime, read the document here.

Written by: Mike Thomas, Calgary Sun

Published on: May 28, 2016