Calgary Urban Design Review Panel (UDRP) – new terms of reference, new process

The City of Calgary is updating the Terms of Reference for the Urban Development Review Panel – a Planning & Development Committee hearing will go forward on Friday, July 21, 2017 and then onto Council on July 24, 2017.

The July 21 Planning & Urban Development meeting is at 9:30 a.m., at Council Chambers and is open for public to speak to the item, and support our efforts.

Impacted Applications

If adopted, a new process will be in place for pre-application requests, development permits, development liaisons, and Direct Control land use amendments with design content meeting the descriptions below. A UDRP review is applicable across the City for the following applications:

  • That result in a development permit referral to Calgary Planning Commission for information, recommendation or decision
  • Located within a defined Transit-Oriented Development area. This will apply to both BRT and LRT – Main Street area, or Centre City
  • For the Exceptional Design bonus
  • That are City of Calgary capital projects
  • Located on prominent sites in gateways locations with significant urban design content or impact

The following UDRP may also reviewed:

  • New or revised City developed urban design guidelines
  • Urban design components of City policies and guidelines


Note: The File Manager can refer projects of greater complexity to UDRP. The Chief Urban Designer or designate will forward projects to UDRP at their discretion, dependent on the capacity of UDRP.

If an application is not selected for review, you can request to view UDRP.


What should I be aware of if selected for UDRP review?
  • Applications that meet criteria and are selected by the Chief Urban Designer or their designate require a mandatory UDRP review at development permit.
  • The review will occur through the application’s approval process, within the currently stated process timelines. The intention is not to expand the overall application approval timelines.
  • The pre-application review is voluntary. To help with the development permit approval process, use the UDRP during the pre-application stage.
  • Addressed through the approval process are advisory design comments from UDRP. Addressed through the approval process are design comments from the City Wide Urban Design team.
  • The Calgary Planning Commission will review unedited UDRP comments and how they are addressed.
  • The Calgary Planning Commission mandate will remain the same and it will continue to function in its current role.
  • A copy of a DRAFT template is available here for those who have not been through the new UDRP review process.


Who is on UDRP?

If approved,

  • UDRP will consist of five architects, three landscape architects, two engineers, geologists or geophysicists, two planners, and one heritage conservation architect (adjunct member).
  • NAIOP and BILD Calgary Region will each be able to nominate one registered design professional for consideration.


Timing of implementation?
  • Soft, voluntary implementation between approval of the Terms of Reference and end of 2017
  • Full implementation as of January 1, 2018


Will UDRP review outline plans?

There has been a proposal to recommend asking Administration to evaluate the expansion of the UDRP mandate to include outline plans. If approved, the evaluation will be brought back through the monitoring report in Q.1, 2019.

BILD Calgary Region doesn’t support the recommendation. The current makeup of the panel and the approval process is not well suited to an effective design review of outline plans. BILD Calgary Region’s position is to ask for a revision to the recommendation to see if there are any design gaps in outline plans, and to address those gaps with industry.


What about Calgary Planning Commission?

A couple of Council members have asked whether a joint UDRP/Calgary Planning Commission body would help reduce confusion and streamline approvals.

Many BILD Calgary Region members think the bringing Calgary Planning Commission into scope would be useful. Due to design professionals also sitting on Calgary Planning Commission, there is concern that roles may ‘double up’. Members want to ensure that distinction is given across the roles of UDRP, Calgary Planning Commission and the City Wide Urban Design Team. BILD Calgary Region is considering a recommendation to explore opportunities to streamline the UDRP and Calgary Planning Commission roles across the approval process.

A review of Calgary Planning Commission would require Council willingness to open up that Committee for review and potential change of scope. BILD Calgary Region would not be opposed to exploring opportunities to better streamline the roles across the approval process – including Calgary Planning Commission – if Council decides to trigger such an initiative.


Additional information:

Terms of Reference (UDRP mandate)

Protocol (UDRP process),

Implementation Plan (Process detail, timing and monitoring)


Find Past Committee, Staff reports and BILD Calgary Region letters, below:

July 21 – Planning & Urban Development/July 24 – Council

Planning and Urban Development agenda, report and attachments

Council agenda, report and attachments

BILD Calgary Region letter to Planning & Urban Development


June 14 – Planning & Urban Development



BILD Calgary Region letter to Planning & Urban Development


June 26 – Council



BILD/NAIOP Letter to Council


City website: Urban Design Review Framework Project