Horse Hill History
The name Horse Hill comes from the area’s historical association with Fort Edmonton. The land was used as the home of Fort Edmonton’s horse guard (Blue 1924). At one time as many as 800 horses were kept in the area, the horses played an important role in the maintenance and protection of Fort Edmonton. Today, many area names are based on this historical use. The area is often referred to as Horse Hill, there is a Horse Hill Elementary and Junior High School just across Manning Drive and the Horsehills Creek runs through the area.
In 1982, the area was annexed into the City of Edmonton for future urban growth. This is the only area in north Edmonton without a plan to guide future development. An Area Structure Plan (ASP) has been prepared for land in northeast Edmonton with considerable input from many different people. The ASP provides a framework for the development of the Northeast area, known as Horse Hill.
Since the area is near Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and the new Edmonton Energy & Technology Park there is a growing demand for new communities. The City has invested considerable resources to build a stronger and more sustainable tax base that will attract new companies to this comprehensive business and industrial park, located immediately to the west of this ASP area.
Surrounding municipalities are actively planning to capture some of the growing demand for neighbourhoods, and Edmonton must also plan to meet and accommodate this growth. Having plans in place ahead of time is key to building balanced communities that can fulfill future needs.
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The The Horse Hill ASP area is bound by Manning Drive on the west, the North Saskatchewan River on the east and Anthony Henday Drive on the south, providing 3,900.3 acres for development.
The process for creating and approving the Area Structure Plan, or ASP, was authorized through a bylaw to begin in May 2010. The ASP process included extensive public consultation. More than 1100 people were invited to two Open Houses and a Visioning Charette. This is in addition to the Stakeholder Advisory Group, Public Meeting, and Public Hearing. The Public Hearing was held in February 2013 and included presentations from the public, area residents, land-owners, subject matter experts, and City officials. Council approved the ASP, allowing the next stages of planning to proceed. The ASP includes mixed density residential, commercial, institutional, parks and open space including a district park site and school sites. The ASP as approved can be viewed here.
Once an ASP is approved, the next phase of planning can proceed. Neighbourhood Structure Plans, or NSPs, are more detailed phases of planning. Whereas an ASP is a framework for the entire plan area, a NSP provides a plan for each neighbourhood within a plan. The Horse Hill ASP has five neighbourhoods, and therefore five separate NSPs will be created and approved by the City.
As with the ASP, the creation of the NSP involves many stakeholders, planning and technical experts, reports, studies and City departments. The NSP must adhere to the ASP, but in a more detailed manner. Areas designated as residential will be identified for type of housing: low, medium or high density residential. Commercial areas will be more defined, as will the public spaces: pocket parks, neighbourhood parks, and school sites. Approval of a NSP does not mean development will begin right away. After the NSP is approved, different stages of work will begin with zoning and subdivision, including but not limited to ground work and infrastructure improvements. The next step after zoning and subdivision is the permitting stage, which must be obtained before any structures (i.e. homes, commercial buildings, etc.) are built.
The Neighbourhood 2 NSP was the first neighbourhood plan to be submitted to the City for review. The developers have worked with numerous City departments including Planning,Transportation, Drainage, Parks and the Office of Urban Ecology, as well as utility agencies, to address comments as a result of the circulations. The Neighbourhood 2 NSP received First & Second Reading from Council, and has now been forwarded to the Capital Region Board for consideration. If approved by the Capital Region Board, it will come back to Edmonton Council for a final reading. This process usually takes approximately two months.