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Calgary mayor calls special council meeting to discuss rezoning plebiscite

Calgary councillors will debate whether to hold a plebiscite on city-wide zoning changes in a special meeting late Wednesday afternoon.

The special meeting is a last-minute request from the mayor.

A notice of motion from councillors Dan McLean, Andre Chabot, Sonya Sharp, Sean Chu, Peter Demong and Terry Wong proposes cancelling a planned public hearing in April and instead putting the question of zoning changes to a plebiscite in 2025.

However, committee members also asked administration whether a plebiscite could be held at an earlier date, before the municipal election next year.

Officials say a standalone plebiscite is possible in the next six or seven months but could cost as much as $5 million.

The cost of holding a plebiscite in conjunction with the municipal election would be about $50,000.

If a special meeting was not called for 4 p.m. Wednesday, it would have been discussed next week.

Last year, council passed its overall housing strategy to increase supply and meet the demands of the current housing crunch.

Among the items in the strategy is a direction to rezone properties that currently only allow for single-detached and semi-detached homes, to allow for higher-density builds such as townhomes and rowhomes.

If the motion to hold a plebiscite is passed, the planned public hearing on April 22 will be cancelled.

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