CREB opposes proposed blanket rezoning initiative, advocates for nuanced approach to housing crisis

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The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) recently issued a statement expressing concerns over the proposed blanket rezoning initiative that the City of Calgary proposed. The board is aiming to protect Calgary’s communities and advocate for a more nuanced approach to zoning.

Hong Wang, chair of CREB’s Government Relations Standing Committee (GRSC), weighs in: “Blanket rezoning is not the right solution to address Calgary’s housing challenges. It poses a significant risk to communities, driving up the level of congestion in neighbourhoods and putting added strain on infrastructure and service quality.”

Wang goes on to say that CREB opposes the approach and advocates “for a more community-focused strategy to respond to Calgary’s housing shortage, shifting the focus away from a generalized housing crisis to the housing supply crisis that blanket zoning will make worse.”

 

“Rezoning can adversely impact housing landscape and property values”

 

The City’s proposed initiative is scheduled for public hearing on April 22, 2024. CREB’s stance is that it will potentially adversely impact Calgary’s housing landscape and property values. 

Wang emphasizes the importance of zoning practices stemming from cultural, architectural and social considerations to increase property values and preserve community character.

“We acknowledge the need to address housing affordability. It’s something our organization is deeply invested in through (the) CREB Realtor Community Foundation, and we believe that a targeted approach to zoning is the most prudent course of action,” says Wang. “By prioritizing sustainable growth practices and engaging in robust community consultation, we can strike a balance between housing need and neighbourhood preservation.” 

 

“Rezoning in (this) way will not necessarily add the supply needed in the price ranges that require supply”

 

Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB’s chief economist, mentions the city’s “substantial population growth over a short period of time relative to new home starts” and that this has “contributed to a lack of rental and ownership supply, causing both rents and home prices to rise in Calgary.”

She continues, “The blanket rezoning will not address the problems associated with a lack of affordable rental product, which would require a large scale approach with a focus on communities with underutilized city land that have access to transit and community amenities.

Higher lending rates also drove demand to the most affordable established communities, which have reported the strongest price growth,” says Lurie. “Rezoning in the way it is being proposed will not necessarily add the amount of supply needed in the price ranges that require supply.”

 

Wang urges City Council to carefully evaluate the impacts of blanket rezoning and consider a more nuanced approach to address the city’s housing issues.

CREB is ready to work with the City of Calgary to explore other solutions that “prioritize community well-being and sustainable development”. The board would like to see transparent dialogue and meaningful consultation to ensure that the concerns of affected stakeholders, including residents, property owners and real estate professionals, are adequately addressed throughout the process.

 

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