December 3, 2018 11:16 pm

Calgary city councillors look to increase density under flight path

File photo of the Calgary International Airport.

Haley Jarmain/Global News
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It seems a compromise worked out by city administration and the Calgary Airport Authority doesn’t go far enough for some councillors when it comes to increasing density in areas under a flight path.

The Calgary Airport Authority and city administration have come up with a deal to allow for secondary and backyard suites in existing lots in Inglewood, Mayland Heights and Vista Heights. Low density infills, along with row houses, would be allowed in those neighbourhoods as well.

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Enacted in 1979, the Airport Vicinity Protection Area regulations govern land use and development close to the airport.

READ MORE: Airplane noise complaints a growing concern at YYC Calgary International Airport

Several councillors on the planning and urban development committee are concerned that as part of the agreement, the city would not be allowed to ask for any more land use changes for another 10 years.

They are also concerned that what is allowed is for increased low-density development and not higher-density development. given the development of bus rapid transit.

The committee voted that administration and the mayor should reach out to the province to allow for transit-oriented development within the Airport Vicinity Protection Area, particularly in Inglewood.

Councillor Druh Farrell said she wonders why increased infill and row-house development is being allowed and not multi-family developments.

“I can understand what the airport is trying to do,” Farrell said. “They’re trying to protect their viability into the future – that makes sense to me.

“What I don’t understand is the difference between the impacts to a single-detached home resident and a multi-family resident when the resident in the multi-family has more noise protection.”

City administrators told members of committee there is a concern from the airport that increased density could lead to more and more complaints to the airport, which might spur a change in airport operations.

Matthias Tita, director of community planning for the City of Calgary, said noise complaints can impact the running of an airport, especially for an airport like Calgary’,s because it is so close to the downtown compared to other airports in the U.S., which are further out from the cities they serve.

“Airports in this kind of situation, they are in a situation where complaints have the ability, over time, to potentially limit operations,” Tita said.

Tita noted that Frankfurt’s airport in Germany has a restriction on when planes can fly at night.

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