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Business Beat: What’s Old is New Again

Infill development. It's an idea and practice that cities across North America are embracing and with good reason.

Infrastructure such as roads, water mains, and sewer lines are costly for municipalities when developing new sub-divisions.

Infill improvement allows developers to capitalize on existing infrastructure through increased densification that can increase a city's property tax base.

The City is not the only benefactor of infill development, however. Most of Medicine Hat's infill sites are centrally located in mature neighbourhoods, placing residents within walking distanceof the city's downtown core, the Heritage Trail System, lush parks, and the future Water Development District. Additionally, when empty lots are developed, neighbours may see increased value in their homes and other benefits as well.

The City is aware that infill development does, however, come with its share of challenges and additional costs.

The Planning and Development Services department at the City is tasked with ensuring that the long-term guiding documents provide a vision for how infill development aligns with the Municipal Development Plan. For example, the 2011 River Flats Area Redevelopment Plan meticulously outlines infill development standards and design guidelines that ensure the character of a mature neighbourhood is maintained.

More recently, City Council approved several land-use bylaw amendments to facilitate infill development. While residential lots in the city's older neighbourhoods are typically larger than in newer subdivisions, the established neighbourhoods often feature narrow lots that bring unique development challenges.

The newly adopted land-use bylaw amendments simultaneously decrease setback requirements and increase the maximum site coverage, making narrow lots more attractive for development.

In response to some of these challenges, Invest Medicine Hat (IMH) launched the Residential Infill Incentive Program, comprised of five unique grants that provide up to $25,000. Owners of an infill property can apply and are encouraged to send their completed applications to IMH no later than December 30.

For full program details and other land development opportunities, contact Jonathan Bartman at or by calling 403-525-8944.

Jonathan Bartman is the real estate specialist for Invest Medicine Hat.

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