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Project Stage

Zoning Bylaw Council Decision

Changes to Zoning Bylaw 12800 that improve and simplify the regulations for liquor stores were approved by City Council and came into effect on Monday June 17, 2019 (Item 3.5).

What's Changed?

Highlights of the changes include:

  • The consolidation of the Major Alcohol Sales and Minor Alcohol Sales uses into one new use, called Liquor Stores. This change removes the 275 m2 threshold captured in the land use definition and floor area is now regulated by the zone
  • Reduction in parking requirements for Liquor Stores to align with what is required for General Retail Stores
  • New design regulations to require enhanced appearance and safety of liquor stores

The design regulations clarify the location requirements for customer access, introduce a lighting plan requirement, and limit window signage to not more than 10% of the window area. The window signage requirement bring the amendments into alignment with the Main Street Overlay standard for all store types to ensure transparent and well-kept storefronts.

No changes have been made to allow additional opportunities for liquor stores.

For more information on the new lighting plan requirement, please refer to the Lighting Plan Requirement for Liquor Store information sheet.

Public Engagement

The City of Edmonton is committed to citizen engagement. 

City staff have met with a variety of stakeholders to understand the impacts related to liquor stores and have identified opportunities to improve the regulations for liquor stores in the Zoning Bylaw. More information about this public engagement can be found in Attachment 4 of CR_6497, Amendments to Zoning Bylaw 12800 -  Major and Minor Alcohol Sales in the Downtown Core - Exemptions to Separation Distance Requirements. 

For Information on previous reports related to this work, please refer to the following reports that were presented to the Urban Planning Committee: 
CR_5604 (refer to Item 6.1 in the October 2, 2018, meeting minutes)
CR_6497 (refer to Item 6.2 in the March 5, 2019, meeting minutes)
CR_6498 (refer to Item 6.3 in the March 5, 2019, meeting minutes)

Project Background

In 2007, the City of Edmonton introduced a rule requiring new liquor stores to be at least 500 metres apart from other liquor stores. The separation distance requirement was intended to curb the proliferation of liquor stores along established commercial shopping corridors, such as Jasper Avenue, Whyte Avenue, 107 Avenue, Stony Plain Road, 118 Avenue and 97 Street. 

Following the implementation of the separation distance requirement, concerns were raised  that it restricted liquor retailer competition in large suburban commercial sites designed to serve a sizable population.

As a result, further changes to the rule were passed in 2016 to allow more than one liquor store at major intersections in suburban areas. The 500 metre limit remains in place for commercial streets in mature areas of the city. Liquor stores also have to be 100 metres from parks and schools, including in suburban areas.

At the Tuesday March 5, 2019, Urban Planning Committee meeting, City staff presented CR_6497 - Amendments to Zoning Bylaw 12800 - Major and Minor Alcohol Sales in the Downtown Core - Exemptions to Separation Distance Requirements (Item 6.2), and CR_6498 - Implications of Alcohol Sales on Sensitive Uses and Entertainment Districts and Information on Appeals and Regulations (Item 6.3). 

As part of these reports, City staff proposed draft amendments that would:

  • Introduce a liquor store opportunity area within the Downtown core that to exempt new liquor stores from the 500 metre separation distance; 
  • Consolidate the Major and Minor Alcohol Sales uses into one new use, Liquor Stores;
  • Reduce the parking requirements for liquor stores to align with general retail stores; and
  • Design regulations to improve the appearance and safety of liquor stores.

In response the report and presentation, Council directed City staff to:

  • As a part of the zoning bylaw renewal, conduct an analysis of regulating concentration of liquor stores, in a comprehensive approach based on land use impact.
  • Prepare amendments to Zoning Bylaw 12800, as generally outlined in Attachment 2 of the March 5, 2019, Urban Form and Corporate Strategic Development report CR_6497, except for the liquor store opportunity area, and return to a future City Council Public Hearing.

A report and proposed amendments are tentatively scheduled to be presented back to City Council at the Monday June 17, 2019, Public Hearing meeting.

For More Information

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