Last Updated on March 28, 2024

What is RSL Zoning? | Real Estate Definition

By Alan F Macdonald

What does RSL Zoning Mean?

RSL zoning, or residential small lot zoning, is a type of permitted land use in Edmonton, Alberta, that mostly permits single family homes with attached garages to be built on the land, but on smaller lots than what used to be the norm.

The minimum lot size for an RSL zoned lot in Edmonton is 360m² (3875 ft²).

Real Estate Agent Explains RSL Zoning

The structures allowed on an RSL zoned lot are the same as many other types of lots. Houses and duplexes may be built on the lot, but other things as well could be allowed. These include group homes, home businesses, secondary suites (like basement, garage and garden suites), some signage, child care centres, lodging houses, places of worship and sales centres.

The biggest differences for RSL lots is going to be all the measurements. Because the purpose of this type of zoning is to make better use of the land, everything will be a little smaller than it normally would. Setbacks will be shorter and separations narrower, but everything else is pretty standard. Think of an RSL zoned lot as a regular lot, but 40% smaller.

It is worth noting that all RSL zoned lots must have a front drive garage and not a detached garage. This type of zoning is meant to save space – adding an alleyway for a rear drive garage wouldn’t really save space much, now would it?

The full details of RSL zoning can be found on the City of Edmonton site.

Why Does It Matter?

RSL zoning means that a lot will be much smaller than a so-called “standard” Edmonton lot. Of course, lot size does make a difference. If you are closer to a neighbour, you are more at risk of fire spreading from one house to another and, because frontage is decreased, you will not likely have as much parking as you would in an neighbourhood with, say, RF1 zoned lots. However, smaller lots mean less maintenance, snow-shoveling, yard work and, most of all, lower property cost. In some areas, RSL zoning is all there is because of how it was planned and developed, and in other cities, regular sized lots are being split into smaller lots to save space. The bottom line is that often people don’t need as much space as they have in older neighbourhoods. The whole idea with RSL lots is to minimize wasted land and put as many homes in the area as possible.

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