1. What is an ASP?
An ASP is an Area Structure Plan – a municipal document that broadly sets out the future use of land in a given area. It will designate residential, commercial, institutional and public lands, agricultural lands, conservation lands and more. An ASP sets the framework in which new neighbourhoods can be developed.
Timelines for completing an ASP vary, but typically it takes about between one and two years to develop an ASP and have it approved by City Council. City Council gave approval to begin the Horse Hill ASP on May 26, 2010 and it was given primary approval by City Council on February 26, 2013 at a Public Hearing.
2. What is the status of the ASP?
Edmonton City Council has given preliminary approval to the Horse Hill ASP. On February 25 and 26, 2013, Council heard from speakers in favour and against the ASP, and from City Administration. At the end of the two days, Council voted 10-3 in favour of the ASP and gave it first and second reading.
The ASP has now been forwarded to the Capital Region Board for approval. Once approved by the Capital Region Board, the ASP will come back to Edmonton City Council for a final approval. We anticipate this will occur in April, 2013.
3. What happens next?
Once the Horse Hill ASP receives final approval from City Council, Council is then able to authorize the next stage of planning; called Neighbourhood Structure Plans or NSPs. NSPs do not automatically begin following ASP approval, Council must grant approval for the next stage of planning to begin.
There are five different neighbourhoods in this ASP. Typically, all NSPs do not begin immediately or at the same time. However, it is possible for more than one NSP to proceed at a time. The order and timing of each NSP is generally determined by what landowners want to begin the process, as well as which neighbourhood logically makes the most sense to proceed first based on where services are coming from. Each NSP usually takes about a year to complete, and this level of planning will show much greater detail than the ASP level. As with the ASP, the NSP process also requires a Public Meeting to review the proposed plan, and the NSPs must also be approved by Council.
4. What has happened to date with the Horse Hill ASP?
A Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) was created to aid in the development of the ASP. You can find out more about the SAG and its membership here.
The SAG began meeting in September 2011 and has met a total of six times to create, review, discuss and revise the ASP. A number of Open Houses were also held throughout the planning process, which gave interested persons a chance to view current drafts of the ASP, ask questions and submit feedback. These Open Houses were held on March 24, 2011, November 7, 2011, June 4, 2012 and the City held an open house on November 29, 2012.
On November 2, Edmonton City Council approved FRESH, the City-Wide Food and Agriculture Strategy. While not typically part of an ASP process, in 2010 Edmonton City Council made it a requirement that all future ASPs align with an urban food and agriculture strategy. FRESH and the Horse Hill ASP were developed concurrently, and the approval of FRESH made it possible for the Horse Hill ASP to go to Council for consideration.
The Horse Hill ASP also aligns with Edmonton’s Growth Coordination Strategy, a regional plan designed to “manage growth while minimizing the development footprint” and with the Integrated Infrastructure Management Plan.
5. What is a Neighbourhood Structure Plan?
Similar to an ASP, a Neighbourhood Structure Plan (NSP) provides a framework for how the area will be developed. However, a NSP covers a smaller area within an ASP and is much more detailed.
6. Will existing landowners lose their land?
No. No one will be forced to sell their land. The ASP respects property rights and ensures landowners are able to decide what happens to their land within the framework of the Horse Hill ASP.
7. There has been a desire to keep some of this land for agricultural purposes. Will this happen?
The ASP submitted to Edmonton City Council includes a balanced use of land, including residential, public parks and natural areas, commercial and agriculture. This ASP is innovative-an unprecedented amount of land is being preserved for urban agriculture uses. Food producers and other grower interests are respected and incorporated throughout this plan. In fact, more land will be available for these uses.
8. Does this area need to be developed?
The City annexed this area in 1982 with the intent to accommodate urban growth and be home to future new Edmonton neighbourhoods. This area is one of three Urban Growth Areas identified by the City’s Municipal Development Plan and it is identified within the Capital Region Growth Plan as a Priority Growth Area.
The area’s proximity to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, and to the Edmonton Energy and Technology Park, will create significant demand for new communities in the City’s northeast sector. Alberta’s Industrial Heartland has already attracted more than $23 billion of investment, with more than 40 businesses employing a workforce of 6,000. The Edmonton Energy and Technology Park is expected to employ an additional 84,000 people. It is likely that most of these people and their families will seek to live in neighbourhoods close to their place of employment and within the Horse Hill ASP area.
9. How soon could development begin on this land?
The length of time between ASP approval and development varies between projects, and is influenced by a number of factors. Once an ASP is approved, additional study and detailed planning is required before development begins. A NSP is the next planning phase. It provides further guidance on land use, transportation networks, and servicing of the lands. Similar to the ASP process, approval of a NSP requires City review, public consultation and City Council approval. The NSP must conform to the ASP. Once the NSP is approved, zoning and subdivision of the first stage(s) of development can be considered.
10. Who owns the land?
There are a number of landowners in the area including residents, developers, other corporations, non-profit organizations, the University of Alberta, the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada.
11. How dense will the development be? What services will be available?
The Horse Hill ASP designates space for mixed density residential in order to create diverse and sustainable neighbourhoods, but greater detail still has to be developed through the NSP process. The density of the area must conform to the Capital Region Board’s density requirement of a minimum of 30 units per net residential hectare.
The area is within the City of Edmonton’s municipal boundaries so as the land develops full City services must be provided. Details on servicing are refined at the subdivision stage (after the NSP process).