EPRA Development Committee
Roles of the Development Committee
The Development Committee has an obligation to provide oversight in a fair, responsive, transparent and consistent manner. We strive to develop strategies to evaluate applications for Development Permits under the policies set by the City of Calgary (through its long-term development plans, Land Use Bylaw and permitting process) and taking into consideration our community needs. We do not set policy on community issues like densification, secondary suites, safety or lot size but can help frame community guidance outlined in the EPRA Charter.
Development Permit Applications that are fully compliant with the contextual rules under the existing Bylaw are automatically approved by the City without community review. This was intended to provide for the efficient permitting of projects without roadblocks while still maintaining stable communities, although it sometimes has the unintended consequence of not filtering design issues that the EPRA would like to comment on. Residents and prospective residents do not have input but rely on the Bylaws and zoning structure for confidence that the standards of their community will be protected within that process.
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Did you know many properties in Elbow Park have caveats or restrictive covenants on the title which prohibit more than one house being built on one lot, restrict the number of garages and often prescribe setbacks from the street?
It's true. When Elbow Park was developed, the developers put these restrictive covenants (RC) or caveats containing restrictive covenants on many Elbow Park titles to ensure a consistent building scheme and to protect the character of Elbow Park. Many inner-city neighbourhoods in addition to Elbow Park, have similar restrictive covenants, including Mount Royal, Britannia, Bel-Aire, Mayfair, University Heights and Briar Hill.
So how do these restrictive covenants work?
Restrictive Covenants are essentially contracts between the property owners to abide by those restrictions set out in the covenant. Any property with a restrictive covenant registered on its title can enforce it against any other property with the same restrictive covenant. You do not need to be an immediate neighbour or even live on the same street to enforce a restrictive covenant. You simply have to have the same restrictive covenant registered on your title. A restrictive covenant can only be enforced through the courts.
How do I find out if I have a restrictive covenant or caveat?
If you want to find out if you have an RC or Caveat on your title, the best way is to pull your land title. You can do so at a registry or online at: https://alta.registries.gov.ab.ca/spinii/logon.aspx
Why does this matter?
There are currently and have been several applications to subdivide certain lots, relax setbacks and re-zone away from RC1 in Elbow Park in violation of the restrictive covenants. Because the covenants are contracts between the property owners, and not a municipal law or bylaw, the City of Calgary is ambivalent about them and often approves zoning changes, subdivisions and development permits that violate the covenants.
Many neighbours wish to preserve the character of Elbow Park and are endeavouring to ensure that future developments in Elbow Park comply with the terms of the restrictive covenants. This requires getting the word out to neighbours, real estate agents and developers that these restrictions exist and must be complied with. If and when a developer refuses to comply, a court application may be necessary. This has been done in other communities, including Britannia, and there are a few ongoing restrictive covenants enforcement actions in Elbow Park today.
Get Involved: Fundraising
If you believe that these restrictive covenants enhance our community and the value of your own property, please consider donating to the enforcement actions. You may have already been contacted to donate but if not, please email Wayne Gambell at firstname.lastname@example.org or Risa Desa at email@example.com for instructions.
It is important to note that if these covenants and caveats are too often ignored, relaxed or waived, that their legal strength is diminished. Some of you may already have been approached to consent to relax or remove caveats or restrictive covenants on a neighbouring property. Although it may seem harmless, please consider very carefully before discharging your rights.
EPRA Caveat Sub-Committee
In light of the upswing in development activity in Elbow Park, EPRA has recently sanctioned the creation of a sub-committee which is tasked with ensuring the restrictive covenants and caveats in Elbow Park are complied with. This is a brand new committee which would welcome any suggestions and input. Should you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Hugoline Morton at firstname.lastname@example.org