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Understanding the Calgary R-CG Bylaw: What Homeowners + Developers Need to Know

The City of Calgary Council gave the green light to amendments in the land use bylaw on October 5, 2022. These changes aimed to facilitate the construction of housing options like grade-oriented rowhouses and townhouses within Calgary's Inner City and Established Communities. The new regulations came into effect starting January 2, 2023.

A Guide to the City of Calgary's R-CG Bylaw

For homeowners and investors in Calgary, understanding the ins and outs of the R-CG (Residential - Contextual Grade-Oriented District) Bylaw is essential. As a homeowner or investor, you want to grasp the recent changes and how they might impact your property and development aspirations. Here's a breakdown in simpler terms:

Deciphering the R-CG Bylaw

In Calgary, the R-CG Bylaw serves as a set of rules that regulate residential development in specific areas. It aims to ensure that new developments fit in with the existing neighborhood while offering a mix of housing options.

Recent Updates and Amendments

Over time, the R-CG Bylaw has undergone revisions to adapt to changing housing needs and community dynamics. Here's a simplified look at some key changes:

Height, Density, and Coverage Limits

The R-CG Bylaw sets boundaries on how tall buildings can be, how densely populated areas can become, and how much of the land can be covered by structures. These limits maintain the neighborhood's look and feel while controlling how crowded it gets.

Recent tweaks to the bylaw have mainly kept these limits the same to maintain consistency and predictability. Understanding these limits is crucial if you're planning any developments in R-CG zones.

The Approval and Building Process

Getting your plans approved and turning them into reality involves several steps:

1. Changing Land Use: If your property isn't already designated as R-CG, you might need to apply for a change in land use. This process involves submitting an application and possibly attending public meetings where community feedback is considered.

2. Development Permits: Once your property is in the R-CG zone, you can apply for a development permit to kickstart your project. This permit outlines specific requirements and guidelines for your development, like how far buildings need to be set back from the street and what plants need to be in your yard.

3. Community Input: Throughout the process, the community's opinion matters. People living nearby might have a say in what gets built in their neighborhood, so there might be opportunities for them to share their thoughts.


What the Changes Don't Do

It's important to understand what the changes to the R-CG Bylaw don't mean:

- Automatic Approval: The changes don't mean that specific developments are automatically approved. Each project still has to go through all the necessary steps for approval.

- Forced Redesignation: Your property won't automatically become part of the R-CG zone. You have to apply for it if you want your property to be included.

- Ignoring Public Opinion: Community input is still an important part of the process. The public still gets to have a say in what happens in their neighborhood.


How To Navigate the R-CG Bylaw

Here are some tips for homeowners and investors:

1. Educate Yourself: Learn about the R-CG Bylaw and what it means for your property. Knowing the rules will help you make smart decisions about what you can do with your land.

2. Engage with Your Community: Participate in neighborhood meetings and discussions about proposed developments. Understanding your neighbors' concerns and ideas can help you make informed choices.

3. Seek Professional Advice: Consider talking to experts like our team at Phase One Design  who can guide you through the process. We can help you understand the rules and plan your development effectively.

In Conclusion

Understanding Calgary's R-CG Bylaw is crucial for homeowners and investors looking to develop their properties. By grasping the rules, engaging with the community, and seeking expert advice, you can navigate the process smoothly and contribute positively to your neighborhood's growth and character.

 Contact us for a Complimentary Consultation to see how to maximize the R-CG zoning for your property or Email us at


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