Medium scale housing, such as townhouses, walk-up apartments, or courtyard housing, can help meet a range of housing needs in neighbourhoods across Edmonton. These types of housing, which exist between single detached homes and duplexes (small scale) and tall apartment buildings (large scale), tend to be less common in cities across Canada. That’s why they are often referred to as the 'missing middle'.
The medium scale residential zones in Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw establish the rules for developing these ‘missing middle’ housing types. These zones have not been substantially reviewed or updated since 2001 and, as a result, there are a number of challenges with the existing rules within these zones to allow for this type of housing to occur.
The City conducted a review of Edmonton’s middle density residential zones and associated overlays to identify what regulation changes are needed to reduce barriers that prevent the development of 'missing middle' housing.
The zones and overlays under review include:
- Small Scale Infill Development Zone
- Row Housing Zone
- Urban Character Row Housing Zone
- Medium Density Multiple Family Zone
- Low Rise Apartment Zone
- Medium Rise Apartment Zone
Changes to Zoning Bylaw 12900 were approved by City Council and came into effect on August 26, 2019 (Item 3.29).
The following list provides a summary of the changes to the Zoning Bylaw to help encourage more missing middle housing to be built:
- Simplifying stacked row house and apartment uses into a single catch-all use called Multi-unit Housing
- Show a clear progression in the zones from the (RF3) Small Scale Infill Development Zone to the (RA8) Medium Rise Apartment Zone. This progression occurs by increasing the scale of housing allowed between each zone by increasing the height, site coverage and floor area ratio limits, for example.
- Allowing both a secondary suite and garden suite to be developed with a single detached house in the (RF1) Single Detached Residential Zone, (RF2) Low Density Infill Zone, and (RF3) Small Scale Infill Development Zone.
- Including density minimums in some zones to help meet the stated purposes of the zones.
- Incentivizing larger units that can accommodate larger households.
- Simplifying separation space regulations to avoid the creation of unnecessary vacant space and allow for more efficient use of the site.
- Incorporating key design regulations from the existing Medium Scale Residential Infill Overlay and Medium Density Residential Overlay into the underlying zones and retiring the overlays.
- This guide provides a summary and additional details about the approved changes.
Public engagement for this project has involved:
- Conversations related to the ‘missing middle’ through the in-depth Evolving Infill workshops and conversation fairs held on January 23, 29, February 7, March 14 and 20
- In-person engagement discussions with members of the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association - Edmonton Region, Urban Development Institute - Edmonton Region, Infill Development in Edmonton Association and the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues Planning Committee
- A draft of the report was circulated for a four week period (from April 6, 2018 to May 4, 2018), to the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues’ Planning Committee, each individual Community League, Canadian Homebuilders’ Association - Edmonton Region, Infill Development in Edmonton Association, and individuals who had expressed interest in being informed about this project
- A draft of the July 9, 2019 report was circulated for a six week period (from February 8, 2019 to March 22, 2019) to the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues' Planning Committee, Canadian Homebuilders' Association - Edmonton Region, Infill Development in Edmonton Association, Urban Development Institute - Edmonton Region, YEGarden Suites, and individuals who had expressed interest in being informed about this project
- Additional in-person engagement opportunities occurred on April 3, 4, 5, and 8, 2019 with members of Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues' Planning Committee, Infill Development in Edmonton Association, Inglewood Community League, Parkallen Community League, and Riverdale Community League
- April 2019 Public Engagement Presentation Boards