What is Intensification?
The construction of new buildings or additions to existing buildings within established built-up areas of Regina, such as:
- Development on vacant land
- Additions to existing dwellings
- Redevelopment of existing dwellings or sites into new uses
The phrase ‘infill development’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘intensification’. While they are related, they are a bit different. Infill is generally ‘any’ development that occurs within existing areas, while intensification results in more residential units or an increase in area of commercial, institutional or office resulting from the new development.
For example, if you demolished one single family dwelling within an established area and replaced it with another single family dwelling it would be considered infill. If you replaced it with a fourplex it would be considered an infill project that results in intensification as there are more units than there was originally.
City Council Direction
Design Regina: The Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 2013-48 (OCP) directs that 30 per cent of Regina’s growth over the next 25 years to occur within its existing built boundaries as intensification.
To work towards meeting this goal, the City of Regina (City) has an Intensification Work Plan. It takes a planful and coordinated approach to development within existing areas that builds on completed projects and informs current and future projects. These efforts are being undertaken to meet the community priorities to:
- Develop vibrant, inclusive and complete neighbourhoods.
- Create better and more active ways of moving around.
- Achieve the City’s long-term financial viability.
Why is it important?
Intensification supports the sustainability in our community by:
- Maximizing use of existing infrastructure, including pipes, roads and parks.
- Supporting use of existing facilities, services and amenities, such as fire stations, libraries, recreation and schools.
- Fostering access to more and better options for moving around our community.
- Providing opportunity to integrate housing options for people of all ages and stages of life into our established neighbourhoods.
- Revitalizing neighbourhoods.
What does intensification mean for me?
Intensification can mean bringing different building forms into existing neighbourhoods to provide choices for all types of people who want to make one of our existing areas their home. This can mean that our existing neighbourhoods will change and evolve too. The Intensification Work Plan seeks to make these areas even better and creating opportunities to improve the quality of life of our residents!
Intensification Work Plan: Completed Projects
Downtown Serviceability Study
- This study assessed the capacity of the water, wastewater and storm water systems in the City’s downtown and determined how the systems could accommodate the addition of 5,000 residents, all in conformance with the current Regina Downtown Neighbourhood Plan.
- This comprehensive, multi-modal transportation policy and planning document is shaping Regina’s transportation system for the next 25 years to support the mobility needs of its residents, businesses and visitors.
- The TMP helps support intensification through policies that would see the City elevate the role of transit by focusing intensification and higher order transit along urban corridors.
- This plan was developed to effectively guide future growth and strategic investment into infrastructure, development and urban design for the next 20 years.
- The strategy seeks to align programs and assets with current and future housing needs, to coordinate with the new policies and programs of the Province of Saskatchewan and to determine where the best areas are to stimulate and regulate the housing market.
- This strategy informs other programs, such as the Housing Incentive Program.
- A development levy, a type of Servicing Agreement Fee, will be charged for development within established areas that results in a higher demand on services than was required for the development that existed previously. This fee funds infrastructure upgrades needed to support this growth, such as improvements to the water or wastewater treatment plants. As such, it ensures that reliable service of major infrastructure can be provided as Regina grows inside and out.
- This fee can be charged when the number of residential units on a site is increased, a building is converted from one use to another, or the area of floor space of commercial, institutional, office or industrial developments is increased.
Intensification Work Plan: Ongoing Projects
- City Administration is reviewing the infill guidelines report developed by a consultant to ensure that future regulations on infill development provide a diversity of housing options while meeting the needs of the community.
- Laneway and garden suites are becoming an increasingly popular option for housing that has several benefits, including increased housing choice, affordability and diversity, opportunities to age in place, share housing among family members and gain rental income.
- The City has initiated a Pilot Project to test these guidelines within the City’s established neighbourhoods and has selected six (6) proposals to participate.
- The objective of the Laneway and Garden Suites Guidelines/Pilot Project is to allow for laneway and garden suites that respect the character and quality of Regina’s established neighbourhoods.
- Neighbourhood and Corridor Plans are plans that provide specific land use, urban design and infrastructure investment policies consistent with the OCP for a defined geographic area within the city.
- Several Neighbourhood Plans need to be updated while other areas of the city do not yet have a neighbourhood plan.
- The Sequencing Plan determines the order for developing plans to address local needs and opportunities for intensification and will prioritize neighbourhood and corridor plan development over the short, medium and long term.
- Redevelopment of the former railyards and Taylor Field site represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring thousands of new residents to the City’s core which would drastically increase the intensification rate.
- This project will rewrite the City’s current zoning bylaw to bring it in conformity with the OCP. Modernizing existing zoning regulations should remove some of the existing regulatory barriers for redeveloping infill sites.
- The Study looks at regulatory, environmental, social and economic barriers to private sector redevelopment of various types of underutilized sites throughout Regina.
- The Study recommends specific actions the City can take to improve the viability of redeveloping these lands, including improvements to existing regulatory processes and financial incentives (see Underutilized Land Improvement Strategy).
- An Underutilized Land Strategy is currently in the works to implement the Study's recommendations over the short, medium and long term (see Underutlized Land Improvement Strategy below).
Water and Wastewater Master Plans
- The Water and Wastewater Master Plans will guide investment in these two major infrastructure systems to support growth in new areas as well as development within the existing city.
Intensification Work Plan: Upcoming Projects
- The Planning Department is working to prepare new plans for existing neighbourhoods and corridors which will include identifying specific sites that are suitable for intensification.
- New plans will help the City meet its infill growth targets while providing surety for the community and developers on land use, urban design and infrastructure.
- Starting in 2019, City Administration will begin a multi-year process, with public input, to create up to 31 new, or revised, neighbourhood plans and six corridor plans.
- Once approved, these plans will provide greater certainty to residents and local developers on where and how intensification will occur.
Underutilized Land Improvement Strategy
- Following the completion of the Underutilized Land Study, this strategy will seek to address barriers and capitalize on opportunities to foster development of vacant or underutilized sites within the existing city
Housing Incentive Policy Review
- The City offers residential tax exemption programs and capital grants for newly-constructed rental housing and ownership housing that meets eligibility and affordability requirements.
- This policy will be reviewed and updated in 2019 to consider, among other things, the Intensification Levy, Plan to End Homelessness for Regina, the Underutilized Land Study and the current economic and social conditions in our community.