Municipal News- Coquitlam
December 1, 2020
City Centre Area Plan Approved
On Monday, November 16, the updated City Centre Area Plan was presented for Public Hearing and subsequently given final approval by Council. The staff report, full plan and bylaw amendments are available here.
BC Energy Step Code Consultation
The City of Coquitlam is exploring the implementation of the BC Energy Step Code for 2021. Staff will be consulting with the building sector will take place on December 18, 2020, if you are interested in participating and have not already received an invitation, please contact Cassandra McColman.
City staff expect to report back to Council with the results of the consultation and proposed ESC requirements in Q1 of 2021.
November 17, 2020
Developer Forum – Issues Identification Survey
The City of Coquitlam is consulting with the development and construction community to learn about which rules, regulations and current practices may be outdated or costly through a housing affordability lens. This review is focused on policy, zoning rules, design guidelines, and other development regulations. Improvements to the development application review and approvals process are being undertaken through the parallel Development Application Process Review (DAPR).
In order to inform the discussion at upcoming stakeholder workshops, the city is conducting an Issues Identification Survey of developers in order to gain a deeper understanding of the range of issues and which areas of policy and regulation the discussion should focus on.
The outcome of this survey and the stakeholder workshops would be recommendations to update policy, zoning rules, design guidelines, and other regulations in an effort to remove unnecessary regulations, reduce housing costs, increase housing supply and affordability.
Survey Link: Developer Forum Questionnaire
We hope that you will participate in this survey to better define specific issues for staff to focus on. The survey will be open until Friday, November 20.
If you have any questions regarding the Developer Forum or Issues Identification Survey, please contact Cassandra McColman.
November 3, 2020
BC Energy Step Code
On October 26, Coquitlam City Council approved a report directing staff to take steps to consult with industry stakeholders on the implementation of the BC Energy Step Code (ESC) and report back in T1 of 2021 with a proposed policy for ESC requirements for new building applications. If the proposed policy in implemented in 2021, it will be prior to the new BC Building Code requirements for energy efficiency expected in 2022.
The report from staff states that introducing targets ahead of the BC Building Code requirements will increase the number of energy efficient buildings in the City and is intended to assist in preparing the building community for the BC Building Code requirements.
October 6, 2020
UPDATED: City Centre Area Plan and Upcoming DCC Review
As mentioned previously, Coquitlam is in the process of finalizing the new draft City Centre Area Plan (CCAP). As discussed in the presentation to Council-in-Committee on September 14, there will be an estimated $727 million in servicing costs ($480 million could be funded by DCC’s, $247 million are non-DCC eligible).
At the liaison committee meeting on October 2, City staff indicated that they plan on conducting a DCC program review in 2021 (2 years following the previous update). The program revisions will include DCC eligible costs stemming from the revised CCAP.
For non-DCC eligible costs, the City is exploring funding options including the 5% cash-in-lieu contribution for parkland CACs, density bonuses etc. We will continue to provide updates on this as work continues. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Cassandra McColman.
Development Application Process Review (DAPR)
The City has been undertaking a Development Application Process Review to focus on process and policy improvements for projects moving through the development approvals process. The review has focused on operational efficiencies and automation of customer service.
Staff presented an update report to Council on September 28, including processes that have already been put in place including:
- The use of DocuSign technology;
- An enhanced temporary permit application in the Building Permits Division;
- Two-step performance securities; and
- Remote video inspections.
Staff are now planning to advance other policy improvement consultations with the building sector including HAVAN and UDI and we will provide additional updates as the consultation progresses in early 2021.
Master Development Plan Rezoning Policy and Procedure
As noted previously, the City has been developing a new Master Development Plan Rezoning Policy and Procedure to provide additional options for Master Development Plan (MDP) projects. This policy consolidates the public hearing requirements for MDPs, as includes additional check-ins with Council and early public engagement.
As part of the consultation process, UDI submitted a letter to staff outlining some of our feedback on the proposal. City staff incorporated some of this feedback and provided additional clarification in the final policy and procedure, which was approved by Council on September 28.
September 22, 2020
City Centre Area Plan
On September 14, staff presented a draft City Centre Area Plan (CCAP) at the same meeting, with several adjustments made since the previous draft, including:
- Clarifying the vision for City Centre
- Prioritization of Parks and recreation space
- Updated look and feel of the CCAP document
- Highlighting the engagement program that was undertaken
- Updating policy refinement
- Housing Continuum considering housing needs
- Updated transportation policies
- Reinforcing that new development should be pedestrian friendly and transit supportive
- A companion CCAP Servicing Document
- Note: $727 million estimated servicing costs ($480 million could be funded by DCC’s, $247 million are non-DCC eligible)
Off-Street Loading and Waste Collection
On September 14, staff also presented the report on Off-Street Loading and Waste Collection Regulation Updates to Council-in-Committee. Key changes in the report included:
- Office loading requirements, separate from commercial.
- The following Off-street Loading Space sizes:
- Note: “Not all loading space types would be required per land use. For example, residential buildings will have either a Type A or Type B loading space (smaller building would have type A; while buildings with more than 100 units would have type B). Commercial, office and industrial land uses may have one or two loading space types, based on the gross floor area.”
- Developments where units have individual driveways or an internal road can accommodate loading requirements will not need to provide dedicated off-street loading zones.
- Low-rise residential developments of up to 80 units would not be required to provide off-street loading spaces unless the site does not front onto a street, of the curb lane is used for vehicles/bicycles and stopping would cause a safety concern.
- Developments with 81-300 units would be required to provide 1 loading space and 1 additional loading space would be required for each additional 300 units, or portion of it.
- Commercial, Office and Industrial uses would require 1 loading space for up to 2,000sqm GFA, 2,001-5,000sqm GFA would require 2 loading spaces and above 5,000sqm GFA additional spaces would be determined by the type of land use.
- On-site space for waste collection, staging and operation will be required, unless a laneway exists to accommodate the operation of a waste collection truck.
Council received the report and provided feedback encouraging staff to review the size of spaces provided for residential developments and the relationship between Type A/Type B spaces and the number of units in a building.
July 14, 2020
Commercial Zones Review bylaw amendments approved
At the July 6th Public Hearing and following Council Meeting, the City of Coquitlam approved changes to its commercial zones to streamline and improve the zoning districts and land uses. UDI had previously provided feedback at Liaison Committee meeting and was supportive of the proposed changes.
City-Wide Parking Review Phase 1
On July 6, the recommendations as part of Phase 1 of the City-Wide Parking Review were submitted for Public Hearing (see Item 8). At the Council meeting following the Public Hearing, Council voted to refer the recommendations back to staff to provide additional options to adjust the visitor parking rates for new multi-family residential buildings in Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) areas. The bylaw amendments, including the options for visitor parking rates at either 0.1 stalls/unit, 0.15 or maintaining the current standard of 0.2 stalls/unit, are expected to be presented to Council for decision by the end of July.
June 2, 2020
City-Wide Parking Review Update
At the May 25 Council meeting, staff presented the Phase 1 report as part of the City-Wide Parking Review Update. The report proposed reductions in residential parking rates in Transit Oriented Development areas as listed in the table below.
UDI had previously discussed the changes with staff at the May 8, Liaison Committee meeting and provided a letter of support.
Coquitlam City Council approved the referral of the proposed Zoning Bylaw amendment regarding changes to residential parking rates in TOD areas to Public Hearing for July 6, 2020.
May 19, 2020
Alternative Inspection Procedures Bulletin
Coquitlam staff have developed a new bulletin from the Building Department on Alternative Inspection Procedures. This new process will allow inspectors to use technology to conduct virtual inspection in certain circumstances, reducing the need for in-person site visits. To note, these procedures are available solely at the Building Official’s discretion as the ability to utilize these procedures will vary according to site specifics.
April 7, 2020
Updated Plumbing Checklist available online
Following our last liaison committee meeting in March, we were asked to share the City’s updated plumbing checklist, which is now available on their website:
Commercial Zoning Changes
The City of Coquitlam is making changes to their Commercial Zones. The proposed changes are summarized in the Council Report table here.
March 10, 2020
Oakdale Land Use Designation Update
On February 24th, Coquitlam Council approved two amending bylaws to implement the Oakdale Land Use Designation Update (OLUDU). These bylaw amendments allow for higher density land uses in Oakdale that are consistent with the Burquitlam-Lougheed Neighbourhood Plan vision and guiding principles, including supporting the revitalization of Burquitlam Neighbourhood Centre and providing a diverse range of housing options. With the updated land uses, Oakdale will remain a predominantly residential neighbourhood and have a general transition from higher density developments nearer Burquitlam SkyTrain Station to lower density buildings in the northern portion of the neighbourhood. Our projections over the next 20 to 25 years anticipate approximately 3,300 new homes in Oakdale.
December 23, 2019
Commercial Zones Report
On the December 16 Council-in-Committee meeting was a report from staff on the Commercial Zones Review that had been conducted in 2019. You can view the full report here.
Council also approved their 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, which will prioritize initiatives for the next three years.
November 25, 2019
City Centre Area Plan (CCAP)
The City has begun the next phase of consultations on the updated City Centre Area Plan. The new direction envisions a high-density downtown core with transit-oriented development centered around the Evergreen Extension. There are two distinct business districts as well as an entertainment district between the Coquitlam Central and Lincoln stations. The full draft plan is available on the City’s website and a survey is open to provide feedback.
September 30, 2019
Reminder: New DCC Rates Effective July 2, 2020
As previously noted, increases to the City of Coquitlam DCC rates were approved earlier this year. The new rates will be effective July 2, 2020. To qualify for grandfathering of the current rates, a project must have received a full building permit by the effective date. At the UDI Liaison Committee meeting held on September 27, staff confirmed that an excavation alone would not satisfy the DCC grandfathering requirements, and that a full BP is needed. Staff encouraged any proponents currently in-stream to complete their development permit applications as soon as possible to be better positioned to qualify for grandfathering.
September 16, 2019
UPDATED: Proposed Tree Management Within and Adjacent to Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas (SPEA) Policy
As previously noted, the City of Coquitlam has proposed changes to the current Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas (SPEA) policy. On September 9, a revised policy was given first and second readings by Council and will now proceed to Public Hearing on September 30.
Staff have revised their original proposal (presented April 8, 2019), to allow for a developer to retain a SPEA or trail corridor in certain cases, “if the transfer is inconsistent with ownership of the remainder of the stream corridor, if the full transfer would create undue impacts on development potential, or due to geotechnical concerns.” The revised policy also allows for windfirm areas to remain in private ownership protected by a lower fence.
Voluntary contribution amounts will remain the same as previously proposed, at $240 per linear meter, and exemptions may be applied where the recommendation from an RPF is that the area would be windfirm without further management or maintenance.
We will continue to provide updates on this policy as they become available. If you have comments or questions please contact Cassandra McColman.
August 19, 2019
Oakdale Area Plan Consultation
The City of Coquitlam is preparing for a public consultation regarding the future of the Oakdale neighbourhood in Southwest Coquitlam. City staff have developed a land-use plan with three options containing varying amounts of residential growth for the area.
Once the formal consultation process begins this fall, we will update our members on how to get involved.
August 6, 2019
Housing Affordability Strategy Report
On Monday, July 29, City staff presented a report to Council on the current Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS) and identified next steps as part of the HAS 2020-2021 work program. The report provided an update on the ongoing work of staff to address affordability challenges in Coquitlam trough incentivizing the creation of below market and non-market homes and other priority unit types. Options we also discussed to better incentivize wood frame rental construction including a review of the density bonus program. UDI will continue to engage with the City of Coquitlam on the HAS. The full report is available on the City’s website. If you have any questions or comments please Cassandra McColman at 604-661-3032.
April 29, 2019
Housing Choices Review
On Monday, April 29, the results of Coquitlam’s Housing Choices Review will be presented to Council. The report will include a detailed summary of consultation feedback along with proposed bylaw amendments to improve the Housing Choices Program, based on the consultation feedback.
The primary goal of the Housing Choices Review is encourage new, small-scale, ground-oriented housing options (including smaller, attached projects such as duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes) in areas of Southwest Coquitlam designated Neighbourhood Attached Residential (NAR) in the Official Community Plan (OCP).
Child Care Policy Review
At a recent City of Coquitlam Liaison Committee, staff presented an overview of an upcoming review of existing child care policies with the goal of better defining the nature of child care spaces and enable a wider range of spaces throughout the city. Staff will be conducting research and engagement this summer and fall with a draft report expected to Council in Spring 2020.
Currently there are no mandatory requirements for the provision of child care spaces for builders, however City Council has shown that this issue is a priority through previous decisions.
UDI will be drafting a letter with recommendations for staff to consider as they undertake this review. If you have experience with the existing child care policy in Coquitlam and would like to provide your comments on these or specific practices in other municipalities, please send them directly to Cassandra McColman.
UPDATED: Proposed Tree Management Within and Adjacent to Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas (SPEA) Policy
As mentioned previously, Coquitlam city staff have proposed changes to way windfirm areas within or adjacent to SPEAs are managed. Staff’s proposal was presented to Council for first reading on April 8th, and was referred back to staff for further consideration with the intention to explore the process for maintaining windfirm areas more broadly. We will provide more information when this policy returns to Council, likely later this spring.
April 16, 2019
Proposed Tree Management Within and Adjacent to Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas (SPEA) Policy
As noted in previous newsletters, the City of Coquitlam has been developing a Tree Management Policy for SPEA areas. The UDI Coquitlam Liaison Committee has been involved in several consultation sessions. The proposed Policy received First Reading on April 8, 2019. The Policy was developed in response to severe wind events increasing the number of trees in SPEAs falling and posing a public safety risk.
Instead of developers maintaining the trees, under the proposed policy, they would transfer SPEAs, wind-firm areas, and adjacent trail corridors (if applicable) within their sites to the City when a development application involves both a rezoning and a Watercourse Protection Development Permit. The City would then conduct all required monitoring and maintenance of those areas as part of an ongoing management program. Developers would be charged the cost of the maintenance for the first five years. The cost estimates for the five-year period would account for:
- “Initial stand inventory and assessment;
- Annual individual tree risk assessments;
- Tree hazard mitigation and fuel (debris) management at a rate of $240.00 per linear metre for the length of new forest edge created (rate is based on the City’s recent experience managing SPEAs); and
- An additional 10% to cover the administration cost of the monitoring and maintenance program by the City.”
Staff note that under the proposed policy, “Exemptions may apply to developers who can demonstrate, through recommendation from a RPF [Registered Professional Forester] that the SPEA would be windfirm without further management and maintenance.”
Affordable Housing Reserve Fund Criteria
On April 1, Council endorsed a Report with changes to the City’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund, which will be discussed at the upcoming April 26 Coquitlam Liaison Committee. UDI received the following information regarding the recent changes from staff:
Policy Changes Promote More Housing for Those in Need in Coquitlam
COQUITLAM, BC, April 2, 2019 – Changes this week to Coquitlam’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund criteria will make it easier to develop housing for low-to-moderate income households in the community.
Council approved a series of policy changes intended to improve the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund (AHRF) – a component of the Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS) that was introduced in 2015 to broaden the variety of housing types, sizes, prices and tenures in the City.
Recognizing that the City does not own or operate any housing, Coquitlam’s goal is to work with partners from the non-profit, private and public sectors to foster projects that ensure a wide variety of housing can be offered in Coquitlam in the years to come.
While the strategy’s overall incentives have led to nearly 4,000 new market and below-market rental units being planned or constructed, only about 120 non-market (subsidized) units for low-to-moderate income households have received AHRF funding approval to date.
Changes to Provide Clarity to Funding Criteria
As part of the evaluation of the effectiveness of the HAS, it became apparent that the original AHRF criteria presented staff and partners with very wide parameters – sometimes making it difficult to negotiate an agreement and provide certainty for these type of housing projects.
This week’s policy changes, based on a comprehensive review and feedback from housing providers, will clarify the funding criteria and streamline the application process. The changes include:
- Clarification to existing criteria, including requirements for funding from other agencies and for paying back the AHRF;
- New criteria to ensure AHRF funds are only used for units owned by registered non-profit societies; and
- A new AHRF Funding Guide that clearly outlines the three levels of available funding and associated requirements.
These changes will allow approximately $9 million in pending AHRF requests – which would enable the construction of approximately 200 to 350 non-market rental units across seven sites over the next five years, depending on Provincial matching funds. The City of Coquitlam fund balance was $11.1 million at the end of 2018, and is continually being topped up by density bonus contributions from new development.
Housing Affordability Successes
Overall, the Housing Affordability Strategy has been a significant success story for Coquitlam, expanding both market and non-market rental housing in the community through incentives and cooperation with private, non-profit and senior government partners. Aside from about 120 AHRF-funded non-market rental units and 4,000-plus new market rental units, approximately 800 additional subsidized units are under application.
In the decade prior to the strategy’s adoption, virtually no new rental units were built in Coquitlam. Overall, the City is now creating new market and non-market rental homes at nearly ten times the rate of previous years leading to a long-term increase in housing options in our community.
Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy has also received an honourable mention in the 2017 Planning Institute of British Columbia Awards.
For more information about the Housing Affordability Strategy, visit www.coquitlam.ca/housing.
About Coquitlam’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund
The AHRF acts as the City’s financial contribution towards increasing the supply of housing options for low and low-to-moderate income households in partnership with other parties. It is an important tool for contributing towards affordable housing solutions, a goal of Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS).
Staff is working to update the overall AHRF projections, incorporating recent increases in multi-family construction volume and rising land values, as the AHRF is primarily funded through a portion of the City’s optional, zoning-based Bonus Density Program.
The City is actively seeking applications for partnership opportunities through the fund. For more information visit www.coquitlam.ca/housing.
About Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy
Through the Housing Affordability Strategy, Coquitlam’s goal is to work with partners from the non-profit, private and public sectors to ensure that a wide variety of housing types, sizes, tenures and prices can be offered in Coquitlam in the years to come.
The Strategy also recognizes that local government’s mandate and resources to address housing affordability are limited without partnerships and funding from other levels of government.
The HAS provides a vision, objectives, policy directions and specific actions to address housing affordability.
Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable – Lunch & Learn
The Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable is holding a follow up session to a lunch discussion that was held with developers on this topic. The speaker will discuss Eco-Assets, and among other things, how green/landscape storm water treatment strategies are covered in the municipality’s DCC program and have led to savings and a number of other benefits.
This Lunch and Learn is conveniently set to start in Council Chambers following the Liaison Committee meeting at the end of the month. RSVP’s appreciated. Details as below:
The Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable is pleased to invite you to attend a Lunch and Learn featuring Emanuel Machado, CAO of the Town of Gibsons.
Join to hear about the Town of Gibsons’ Eco-Assets Strategy on Friday, April 26, 2019, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm in the Council Chambers at Coquitlam City Hall.
Please refer to the attached invitation for more details.
There is no fee to attend, but we kindly request a pre-registration email to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 23, 2019.
April 1, 2019
Changes to the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund
On Monday, April 1, Coquitlam City Council will be considering proposed changes to the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund (AHRF). These changes stem from a recent review of the AHRF and the City’s goal to support the creation of more non-market rental homes. The AHRF provides the financial basis for the City’s contribution toward increasing the supply of housing options for low and low-to-moderate income households. Use of the AHRF is guided by the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund criteria. Staff have recently completed a review of the AHRF criteria and are recommending several revisions in order to make it easier for the City to support the development of non-market units.
New combined application form and project folders
The City of Coquitlam, Planning and Development Department has implemented a new combined application form. Developments that require multiple types of applications now only need to fill out a single form, instead of one form for each application type. As a result, this will save time for applicants and streamline the intake process for our planning front counter staff. In addition, as a result of this improvement we have also implemented consolidated invoicing. Just like the application forms, instead of one invoice per application there will now be a combined invoice that captures most fees related to the applications selected in the combined application form. There will however, continue to be a few exceptions to this such as Watercourse Development Permits.
If you would like to view the form, please visit: www.coquitlam.ca/development. As part of this updated form, you will also see that staff have created a matrix to assist applicants in determining what additional documentation is required as part of their application submission. Staff have always encouraged complete submissions for both the initial application submission and detailed design reviews. Through our process improvement efforts we will be working to fully implement and reinforce this practice in the coming months. By accepting only complete submissions our goal is to speed up the review process and avoid late hits that may result from delayed submission requirements.
New project folders that have also been implemented in the City’s internal tracking software AMANDA. Like the combined application form, the PROJ folder groups all related development applications under the same number. The transition to this new structure commenced in February and staff will be working toward updating all active applications currently in-stream. Active projects are targeted to receive a project number by mid-April. These will appear in the format PROJ 19-001, and will be based on the year and the sequence in which they are submitted. The PROJ numbers will allow for simplified communication and reference to individual projects.
Coquitlam’s current development application report will be updated to reflect the new project folders so that the public will see one line per project instead of the multiple lines and multiple applications that may apply for a project. This will simplify the communication of our activities, and more clearly reflect the volume and scope of projects. Other places where the new project numbers will be reflected include on Development Application Proposal Signs and in reports to Council.
If there are questions, concerns or feedback regarding the new system, please direct comments to Cassandra McColman.
March 4, 2019
Housing Choices Review Survey
The City of Coquitlam is conducting a review of the Housing Choices Program, an infill housing program that permits up to 4 units/lot in certain areas designated “Neighbourhood-Attached Residential” (NAR) across Southwest Coquitlam. The goals of this ongoing review are to encourage more Housing Choices applications (including a wider diversity beyond more single-family homes), streamline application processing and approvals, and ensure resulting projects continue to fit into the character of existing neighbourhoods.
The City is currently undertaking consultation on potential options to improve the Housing Choices Program, and staff anticipate presenting bylaw amendments to Council for consideration by mid-2019.
There are two ways to participate in this review:
- Housing Choices Review: Online Survey
- Online link here
- Open until March 17
- Housing Choices Review: Development Industry Info Session
- Who: all past and potential future Housing Choices applicants, designers, architects, developers, builders
- When: Tuesday, March 12th, 4-7pm (drop-in, no RSVP required)
- Where: Coquitlam City Hall main lobby (3000 Guildford Way)
- Parking: located beneath City Hall or directly south in lot on Burlington Drive
February 18, 2019
Coquitlam DCC Increases approved by Council
These increases will be effective from July 2, 2019 and will follow the standard grandfathering process proscribed by the Local Government Act. To be charged the previous rates, projects must be in-stream on the effective date, and a Building Permit must be issued by July 2, 2020. UDI advocated for the inclusion of an effective date in these changes to add increased certainty for builders submitting applications to the City. City staff has committed to provide annual updates on the DCC program going forward, which was another request contained in UDI’s initial feedback on the changes, submitted in December 2018.
City staff look for feedback on proposed changes to Off-Street Loading bylaw
At the regular City of Coquitlam Liaison committee meeting on February 15, city staff presented on the proposed changes to Zoning Bylaw No. 3000, 1996- Part 7– updating the requirements for off-street loading zones for large trucks. The changes would include minimum requirements for TAC design vehicles and operating clearances. These requirements would fall into three new classes based on the size of the vehicles accessing the building. Minimum requirements for waste collection spaces were also proposed based on the operating space needed for vehicles. Staff expressed their desire to remain flexible in the application of new requirements based on the specific needs of each project and want to work with builders on the implementation of these requirements.
The presentation made by staff can be viewed here, and UDI is looking for your feedback on these proposed changes. To provide comments or questions, please contact Cassandra McColman by February 25, 2019.
December 10, 2018
Development Cost Charges (DCCs)
On November 23, the Coquitlam Liaison Committee met with City staff regarding upcoming increases to their DCCs. The proposed DCC increases are significant; ranging from 18% (industrial) to over 60% (single-family lots). UDI submitted a letter to City staff with several recommendations for the DCC program and how to best phase-in the proposed increases over time.
The City of Coquitlam continued consultation with the development industry on its proposed new approach to SPEA and windfirm area management. The proposed changes would require that the City take ownership and responsibility for windfirm areas adjacent to SPEAs, with the support of a voluntary contribution from developers to support the maintenance of these areas for a period of five years. UDI is generally supportive of the proposed changes, and provided specific recommendations in a letter submitted to City staff.