After the turn of the 21st century more people became interested in living closer to downtown. They’d buy a lot in a mature community, knock down the old house, and build something new. In other words: infills.
But these new homes weren’t fitting in. They were tall and featured front attached garages that didn’t fit in with the neighbourhoods that had back alley garages and tree lined streets.
These were building practices that worked great in the suburbs, where every house did the same thing, but in these mature neighbourhoods they just looked odd.
Neighbours were afraid the character of their communities would be forever lost, and they didn’t want to see driveways crossing sidewalks and the loss of boulevard trees.
The City’s answer was the Mature Neighbourhood Overlay. It was another set of rules on top of the zoning already in place. This overlay had even more rules for mature communities.
In it, there are 24 regulations that aim to ensure new development in Edmonton’s mature areas are sensitive to the existing development.
To be specific, the purpose of the Overlay was four-fold:
- To ensure infills were sensitive to the scale of the neighbourhood
- To keep the character and pedestrian-friendly design of the streetscape
- To ensure privacy and sunlight penetration on adjacent properties
- To open discussion between applicants and their neighbours if a development varied from the Overlay