Zoning is one of the cornerstones of building and developing, and knowing which zones allow what is vital. Now that the City of Calgary has introduced a new zone, H-GO, it's a good time to review some of the more popular zones, their revisions, their restrictions, and their differences.


A residential contextual one/two dwelling low density district intended to accommodate existing residential development and contextually sensitive redevelopment in the form of duplex dwellings, semi-detached dwellings, and single detached dwellings. This is the most common zone found throughout the suburbs of Calgary. This type of zoning also allows for basement suites, with the appropriate permits. 


A land-use district that allows for rowhouse-style housing. This land use (zoning) was recently revised by the City to accommodate front and rear units on a parcel, plus a separate garage. A R-CG parcel could have a maximum of four units on a typical 50' lot, with the potential for each unit to have a secondary suite (A sub zoning type R-CGex "excludes" suites). R-CG can be located on corner lots or mid-block lots. The homes could all be in a row or have front and back units as pictured in the drawing below. Basement suites may also be allowed, with appropriate permits. 


A new district Housing Grade Oriented (H-GO), allowing for townhouse-style housing that was approved by the City on October 5, 2022, and came info effect January 2, 2023. It allows some units to be stacked but still maintains direct ground-level access for all homes (i.e., no apartment form). These may be taller and have more units than a rowhouse. Units can be built in two separate buildings behind each other on one property, with a separate garage. Basement suites may also be allowed, with appropriate permits. 

R-CG vs H-GO

With the introduction of H-GO, it's important to note the differences of the two similar zones. In districts with H-GO zoning, you can build taller 12m townhomes and stack them, whereas in R-CG districts, the townhomes must be 11m and no stacking is allowed.

Currently, parcels that are already zoned R-CG are concentrated around the Bowness/Montgomery Main Streets, the 17th Ave Main Street, and the Westbrook and Banff Trail LRT Stations.

However, any property owner in Calgary can apply to change the land use (zoning) of their property. If the land use is approved by City Council, the applicant can then move to the next step of a development permit, which would allow this form of housing to be built. 

All land use change applications (rezonings) are decided by Council on a parcel-by-parcel basis. Rowhouse (R-CG) is a discretionary use - meaning that the community will be circulated for comments and notice will be posted on the site, soliciting feedback in the development permit process.

The new H-GO form CAN be built in the Centre City or Inner City (the coloured area outlines in red on the map below) AND are located:

200m from a Main Street or Activity Centre,
600m from a LRT platform,
400m from a BRT station, or
200m from Primary Transit Network.

OR if you have a new Local Area Plan (LAP), and are located in a Neighbourhood Connector or Neighbourhood Flex area (these are specific names for areas identified in the new LAP). The focus for this district is along busier streets with amenities close by in these targeted areas.

The above location criteria are not laws but considerations to be used by City Council, along with other factors, when deciding whether or not to approve a land use change (rezone) to H-GO. Decisions are made by City Council after a public hearing on the land use change (rezoning).

POSSIBLE EXCEPTIONS - If you're not developing in these areas above, redesignation to H-GO would be unusual at this time, however, there are always exceptions that need to be evaluated based on city-wide and local policy, context, and site considerations. It is the legal right of any property owner to apply for a land use change (rezone) in Calgary, and the final decision rests with City Council.

Questions about rezoning or H-GO? Contact us!