The High-Rise Apartment Zone (RA9) is the tallest and highest density standard zone in Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw. The zone is typically located in central neighbourhoods, as well as along existing and planned LRT routes. The properties that are zoned High-Rise Apartment Zone (RA9) are shown in this map. 

The purpose of this project was to ensure that the rules in the zone were working well together and promoting the intended use of the zone to build modest 18-20 storey high-rise apartments without variances, particularly on smaller development sites.

High-Rise Overlay Regulations

The High-Rise Residential Overlay applies in three areas of the city (Original areas, Expanded area in Garneau) and adds more development regulations than the basic High-Rise Apartment Zone (RA9) to help improve the design of new development.  This includes regulations that reduce the allowable height of buildings by more than 50 per cent, resulting in a 6-storey maximum height for buildings where the overlay applies.

Reviewing the overlay presented an opportunity to create better high-rise development in Edmonton.

Project Stage

Zoning Bylaw Council Decision

At the June 11, 2018 City Council Public Hearing, the proposed changes to the High-Rise Apartment Zone and the High-Rise Residential Overlay (item 3.11) were approved by City Council. 

The highlights of the proposed Zoning Bylaw changes include:

  • Increase the base height, floor area ratio, and residential density, in order to achieve a modest high rise of approximately 18 storeys
  • Add urban design and architecture regulations to improve building aesthetics and interface with the public realm at ground level
  • Remove low-density uses, adding supportive non-residential uses and more use-specific regulations
  • Update the High Rise Residential Overlay to harmonize with the changes to the underlying zone, including expanding the area of application in Garneau

Subsequent motion

Following deliberations at the June 11, 2018 City Council Public Hearing, City Council passed a motion asking City staff to reduce barriers to housing developed under Section 94 Community Housing Provisions in the High Rise Apartment Zone (RA9); as well as increase the maximum amount of non-residential floor area that can be developed, to ensure a commercial podium can be developed within the zone.

City staff will return to City Council Public Hearing on September 17, 2018, with a proposed bylaw. 

By returning directly to City Council Public Hearing with specific instructions for changes, the text amendment is at the proposed amendment stage. 

Zoning Bylaw Council Decision

One Year Review

At the September 23, 2019 City Council Public Hearing, City Council approved minor updates to the revised High-Rise Apartment Zone (RA9) to address barriers and challenges identified by the first applicants making use of the zone since substantial changes were approved by Council in June 2018.

The changes include:

  • Exempting rooftop indoor amenity space from the calculation of maximum height to encourage the development of these spaces
  • Increased flexibility for landscaping above parkade structures to encourage green roofs
  • Increasing height to account for structural beams where the tower transitions into the foundation
  • Small increases in maximum allowable density (10 additional dwellings per hectare when a rooftop amenity is provided)
  • Simplifying the setback regulations; and
  • Removing regulations that refer to other sections of Zoning Bylaw 12800

Zoning Bylaw Council Decision

Public Engagement

City Staff hosted workshops, surveys, and multiple meetings with development industry and community league representatives between January 2017 and  May 2018. The comments and recommendations were considered and incorporated into the proposed text amendment, as appropriate. 

The City of Edmonton is committed to citizen engagement. For more information about involvement opportunities, or to share your views, please contact the project planner, James Veltkamp.