Municipal News- City of New Westminster
March 25, 2020
See here for New West Updates on COVID-19
December 23, 2019
New Inclusionary Zoning Policy Approved
On December 9, City Council approved of the Draft Inclusionary Housing Policy brought forward by staff. See report here. UDI met with city staff in February and April 2019 to provide insight on the policy and submitted a letter summarizing comments and a financial analysis on RM-6 development sites. The letter highlights the need for incentives to improve the viability of building below-market and non-market units in new development. The report that was approved largely reflects UDI’s feedback.
November 12, 2019
Development Permit Streamlining and OCP Amendments
City staff have requested feedback to the Council Report on Proposed Changes to the Development Permit Process and changes to the Official Community Plans. See letter to UDI here. UDI will be coordinating feedback and writing a letter in response. Please provide comments to Marissa Chan-Kent by Friday, November 15. If your company has particular experience in dealing with the Queensborough Official Community Plan, please specify.
Shared Entrances and Common Spaces Consultation
The City of New Westminster is holding a consultation session around shared entrances and common areas in mixed-tenure projects on November 21st from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at New Westminster City Hall. See here for the agenda. To register to participate, contact Anur Mehdic.
October 29, 2019
Transportation Development Review – New Fee
On October 23rd, UDI met with the City of New Westminster to discuss the new transportation development fee review and process improvements. The city provided the following presentation. See here for the letter sent to UDI and the here for the Report to Mayor and Council. The two funding sources include the Transportation Development Fee review, which is collected at the time of application and Street Occupancy Permit Fees which are collected at the time of construction. The three new Transportation staff that will be hired include:
- Transportation Planning Engineer – responsible for application review, analysis, best practices, technical expertise and support
- Transportation Planner – responsible for policy analysis and review, coordination and support alignment with strategic priorities
- Transportation Technologist – responsible for primarily supporting post-approval/implementation period, plan checking and application reviews for smaller or less complex developments
The city is currently recruiting for the three new positions to address the current and forecast level of development application review. These fees will come into effect in January 2020.
May 27, 2019
UPDATED: Rental Only Zoning Amendments Scheduled for Public Hearing Tonight
UDI has written to New Westminster Mayor and Council ahead of their consideration of Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 8123, 2019 tonight. On January 28, 2019 New Westminster approved rental residential tenure zoning, which effectively downzoned six stratified buildings, to rental only tenure. Currently, Bylaw No. 8078 is being challenged by Petition in B.C. Supreme Court, and the City’s erroneous information about the marketing of individual strata lots is one of the grounds for the challenge. The City has filed a response to the Petition, which concedes the inaccuracy of this information. The new Zoning Bylaw Amendment No. 8123 is a further poor attempt to rectify a single element of a severely compromised process, and fails completely to address the fundamental issue of New Westminster’s arbitrary and inappropriate application of rental tenure zoning on existing strata buildings. UDI strongly recommends that council take this opportunity to reverse these policies and engage in truly meaningful discussion with the impacted property owners and broader public. UDI and its members are committed to providing diverse housing options for all British Columbians. It is UDI’s hope that city staff and council will recognize this issue and seek solutions to rebuild trust with the development community.
May 13, 2019
Rental Only Zoning Amendments Scheduled for Public Hearing
On Monday, May 6, 2019 New Westminster Council considered and approved amendments to their Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 8078, 2019, adopted on January 28, 2019 which introduced rental residential tenure zoning which downzoned six stratified buildings, to rental only tenure. “Currently, Bylaw No. 8078 is being challenged by Petition in B.C. Supreme Court, and the erroneous information about the marketing of individual strata lots is one of the grounds for the challenge. The City has filed a response to the Petition, which concedes the inaccuracy of this information. The proposed further zoning bylaw amendment process provides an opportunity for the City to redo the notification and public hearing procedures, including properly-worded public hearing notices.” The Public Hearing and consideration for Third Reading will occur on Monday, May 27. It is to UDI’s understanding that the approved amendments do not address the initial act of downzoning six stratified rental properties, rather the changes seek to redo the deeply flawed public hearing and notification process.
April 29, 2019
UPDATED: Draft Inclusionary Zoning Policy
The New Westminster committee met with New Westminster city staff on April 24 to discuss the draft inclusionary housing policy that city staff plan to bring forward to Council on June 24. See here for the presentation provided at the meeting. City staff indicated that the inclusionary rates are likely to be presented as outlined and as such, are looking for suggestions on what kind of incentives or financial levers exist that can be enhanced or created to offset the costs for the inclusionary rates. Incentives such as reducing parking requirements, CAC exemptions and additional density were discussed. UDI will be writing a letter with incentive recommendations that will be submitted to City Council by May 17. If you have feedback on possible incentives that could be applied to this policy, please get in touch with Marissa Chan-Kent.
March 4, 2019
Draft Inclusionary Housing Policy & Rental Replacement Policy & Rental Housing Revitalization
UDI met with the City of New Westminster on Tuesday, February 26 to receive the following presentation on their proposed Draft Inclusionary Housing Policy and Draft Rental Replacement Policy and Proposed Rental Housing Revitalization Initiative. The financial analysis considered for these policies, as conducted by Coriolis, can be found here. UDI raised concerns regarding the percentage of inclusionary housing that would be required under the associated options. UDI will be meeting again with the City of New Westminster on these policies. Please contact Marissa Chan-Kent if you are interested in participating.
The City has also launched a Housing Policy Survey as seen here. Survey deadline is Friday, March 22.
New Westminster staff respond to rental-only zoning
Rental-Only Zoning Response: After City Council’s decision to downzone six stratified rental properties to rental-only zoning, the city responded to UDI’s letter, reiterating their rationale for targeting those properties and providing assurance that the “rental tenure zoning authority will not be applied more broadly at this time.”
February 5, 2019
New Westminster Downzones Six Strata Buildings
#ICYMI, on January 28, the Mayor and Council of New Westminster passed final reading of the Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 8078, 2019 on Monday evening. This arbitrary and heavy-handed decision to downzone six strata properties, which have been successfully operated as rental accommodation for decades, will lead to fewer housing options in New West in the future. We believe council had good intentions – to protect the supply of rental homes – but this sudden, flawed decision will bring uncertainty and deter the building of new and maintenance of existing rental units in New Westminster. This decision sends a clear message that the New Westminster City Council is not interested in collaborative solutions and does not respect the voices of property owners and rental builders. Furthermore, it’s an important warning for property owners, as this rushed decision sets a dangerous precedent for other municipalities to devalue properties without due process or any consultation with home builders and property owners. While UDI contemplates next steps, we encourage members facing similar situations in other municipalities to contact us.
Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Amendment Bylaw No. 8085, 2019
Last night, New West Council voted unanimously to add new regulations restricting eviction of tenants in order to perform most renovations, and requiring additional considerations for tenants when eviction is permitted. The Staff Report can be found here.
January 21, 2019
Consultation Meeting on Inclusionary Housing Policy and Rental Replacement
The City of New Westminster staff recently presented City Council with a draft inclusionary housing policy. City staff also plan to present a rental replacement policy later in January to city council. UDI will be attending a consultation meeting with city staff on Tuesday, February 12 at New Westminster City Hall, located at 511 Royal Avenue from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm to discuss both of these policies. If you would like to attend this consultation meeting, please contact Marissa Chan-Kent.
Multi-Family Residential Rental Tenure Zoning
Council gave Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 8078, 2019 First and Second Reading on January 14, 2019 that, if passed, would downzone several strata rental properties in New Westminster. The City is using the new power given to local governments to zone for tenure in multi-family areas through Bill 23, the Local Government Statutes (Residential Rental Tenure Zoning) Amendment Act. Landowners did not receive notification of the Bylaw before it went to Council on January 14th, and the Public Hearing is on January 28, 2019.
UDI is very concerned that this new zoning power is being used to downzone properties, and with little notice being provided to landowners. We have met with New Westminster staff and written a letter to City Council. UDI will also be raising industry concerns about this issue with Provincial officials.
January 8, 2019
Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC)
As noted in previous newsletters, the City of New Westminster has been developing an EVC strategy for new developments. The City has updated its website regarding the new EVC requirements. Beginning on April 1, 2019 “… all new buildings that contain at least one residential unit will be required to install a Level 2 (208 to 240 volt) energized outlet to the residential parking spaces.” The City’s DP Guidelines have also been amended, and now include recommendations for the provision of EV charging infrastructure for visitor spaces in multi-unit developments, and “… that new commercial and institutional buildings with ten or more parking spaces should provide 10% of these spaces with access to an energized Level 2 outlet.”