Municipal News- District of Squamish
January 24, 2023
Community Climate Action Plan Implementation
On January 10th, Committee of the Whole received an update on the District’s Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP) implementation. The staff report includes project descriptions and updates, with the corresponding most relevant CCAP action that it relates to. Some completed and ongoing projects of note include:
- Improving deconstruction practices through enforcement of the Demolition Waste Diversion Bylaw, supporting the process with policy, fee/rebate structures, and possibly a Bylaw amendment;
- Circular economy work, with the District participating as one of 10 cities in Canada accepted into the 2022/2023 Canadian Circular Cities and Regions Initiative. The District has secured federal funding to support a circular communications strategy and campaign, which will have significant linkages with zero waste work and an embodied carbon initiative;
- The Engineering Department will present a Parking Utilization Strategy and Paid Parking Management Program Implementation Plan to Council in January 2023 that assesses current downtown parking facilities and utilization, as well as future parking needs and associated infrastructure. This may lead to updating parking requirements to maximize land use efficiency and increase residential and employment density (reduce parking minimums and establish maximums for specific permitted uses along core transit network);
- A sustainability checklist is being drafted to explore new development/rezoning to enable Council to conduct comprehensive reviews and assessments. Preliminary versions in Q1 2023 will focus on proximity and connectivity, but the Checklist could be expanded upon to reflect many aspects of sustainability and environmental responsibility;
- The District is engaging in ongoing discussions with BC Hydro about how to enable the electrical upgrades necessary for buildings undergoing large retrofits, as well as concurrently providing EV charging capacity; and
- Energy Step Code (ESC) implementation is ongoing, with staff well trained and local developers well versed since implementation 3+ years ago. Energy Advisors will provide onsite trades training for air tightness and insulation.
December 13, 2022
UPDATE: 2023 Fees and Charges
As noted in previous newsletters, at Council on December 5th, changes to the District’s Utility Rates were adopted. These includes amendments to update the rate schedules for Solid Waste Collection Rates and Solid Waste Landfill Tipping Fees. Waste Water Utility Fees and Water Utility Fees were not amended, as there are no changes proposed.
November 29, 2022
2023 Fees and Charges
At Council on November 15th, changes to the Fees and Charges Bylaw for 2023 Utility Rates were up for First, Second, and Third Reading. The proposed amendments update the rate schedules for Solid Waste Utility Fees as per budget discussions. Solid Waste Collection Rates would see an average 5% increase from 2022 rates. Proposed increases to Solid Waste Landfill Tipping Fees range from 0%-10%. Waste Water Utility Fees and Water Utility Fees do not need amendments as there are no changes proposed.
More details can be found in the staff report here.
October 18, 2022
UPDATE: 2022 Community Amenity Contribution Review
As noted in previous newsletters, at Committee-of-the-Whole on October 11th, Council endorsed the staff recommendation to conduct additional stakeholder engagement regarding the 2022 Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) Review. The staff report included the letter UDI submitted with feedback on the proposals in August, and noted the development industry’s concerns expressed over inaccurate construction costs utilized in the land economist’s analysis of the proforma model when assessing the impact of policy changes on development feasibility. Once the proforma model is revised and economic impacts more clearly understood, District staff will initiate a final round of engagement with the development industry and other stakeholders, on the extend of the possible CAC policy changes before bringing them back to Council for review.
The full report can be read here.
September 20, 2022
Adoption of Development Cost Charges Bylaw
As noted in previous UDI Newsletters, on September 6th the District adopted changes to its Development Cost Charges (DCCs) Bylaw. This includes one year of protection for in-stream applications that have had a Development Permit or rezoning application accepted by September 6th, 2022.
The updated Bylaw with the new rates can be referenced here.
June 28, 2022
Community Amenity Contribution Program Review
As noted in previous newsletters, the District is reviewing its Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) policy. This will include an update to the policy to evaluate amenity targets for contributions towards recreational amenities, affordable housing, and active transportation and parks, as well as cash in lieu of onsite amenities. The District is seeking development industry input on the proposed CAC policy changes. You can provide feedback by filling out the online survey, and leaving comments on the project webpage which includes more detail about the proposed changes. Staff have indicated the intention to take the proposed changes to Council in September. UDI is in the process of organizing a session to discuss the proposed changes with District staff in July.
June 14, 2022
Community Amenity Contributions Policy Review
Squamish is reviewing the policy that guides Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) in rezoning applications. The Policy outlines the District’s expectations of developers’ contributions that are negotiated as part of proposed developments to increase residential density. CACs are intended to address the additional demands that result from new development and population growth, ensuring that “growth pays for growth” when it comes to community amenities such as recreational facilities, non-market housing, parks, etc.
The District has had a CAC policy in place since 2015 and the policy has gone through one major review since then. The District is now planning to update the policy to evaluate amenity targets for contributions towards recreational amenities, affordable housing, and active transportation and parks, as well as cash in lieu of onsite amenities. The District is seeking development industry input on the proposed CAC policy changes. You can provide feedback by filling out the online survey, and leaving comments on the project webpage which includes more detail about the proposed changes.
There will also be an Open House where District of Squamish Planning Staff will be providing an overview of the current policy, introducing proposed changes, and looking for stakeholder feedback. Details on this can be found below:
When: June 15th, 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Where: The 55 Activity Centre, 1201 Village Green Way, Squamish
Proposed changes include:
- Discontinue rate reductions (which drop the per ft2 rate from $21 to $6) for developments that provide affordable housing units onsite;
- Review the Affordable Housing onsite contribution target and determine whether it could be increased to 15% or 20%, and set an average minimum unit size;
- Reduce the threshold for when onsite affordable housing is recommended;
- Create a target for some affordable housing units to be dedicated to the Housing Society;
- Squamish Community Housing Society should be given first right of refusal to manage developer’s affordable housing units;
- Account for land dedications with a flexible approach;
- Set expectations of when the cash-in-lieu CACs are collected;
- Allow for adjustment of the set rate CAC targets so they can be adjusted every year if market conditions change dramatically;
- Develop a criteria for large projects to be subject to a land lift analysis rather than a set rate;
- Onsite child care facilities, when incorporated in a mixed-use development, should come with the affordable lease rates and be reserved for non-profit operators to ensure that child care rates are affordable.
May 17, 2022
2022 Development Cost Charges Update
As noted in previous messages to the Liaison Committee and UDI newsletters, the District is conducting an update to the Development Cost Charge (DCC) Bylaw. At Council on May 3rd, the Bylaw received First, Second, and Third Reading. The Bylaw will now be sent to the Provincial Inspector of Municipalities for approval prior to adoption. There were no changes since the UDI Liaison Committee last saw proposed changes. The full report can be read here, with the rates included below:
Community Amenity Contribution Policy Review
As noted in previous UDI newsletters, District staff have launched a review of the Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) Policy. At Committee of the Whole on May 10th, District staff brought a report forward seeking Committee review of initial recommendations, and setting a direction for the project before community and stakeholder engagement is initiated. District staff sought feedback on 11 recommendations:
- Removing the CAC rate reductions when on-site affordable housing is proposed;
- Increasing affordable housing on-site contributions to 20%;
- Reducing threshold for when on-site affordable housing is recommended;
- New targets for transferring affordable housing units to public agency;
- Housing Society first right of refusal to operate developer-owned units;
- Flexible approach with land dedications for future affordable housing;
- Establishing guidelines for when cash-in-lieu of amenities is collected;
- Accounting for future rate escalation review when market conditions change;
- Developing criteria for large projects subject to land lift analysis;
- Including childcare facility targets and develop separate amenity policy for space creation; and
- Developing criteria for crediting park and public realm dedications.
The full report can be read here.
UDI has confirmed with District staff that this report was a scoping and direction setting exercise, and they intend to have a separate session with the UDI Liaison Committee on any changes proposed to the CAC Policy in the near future.
March 22, 2022
Proposed 2022 CAC Update
The District is preparing to launch a review of the CAC Policy with a recently approved budget. Staff will be reviewing other jurisdictions within the Region, the approach they are using, and the rates for cash contributions and affordable housing. The goal is to move to policy based on land lift and land values. In addition, this review may include additional increases to the affordable housing portion from 10% to a minimum of 15%. Staff will look at five different scenarios in terms of different uses and densities. Once proformas have been run, it is anticipated rates and the cash-in-lieu rates will increase. Staff will follow up with UDI with more details, costs, and further consultation once the program is launched.
Proposed 2022 DCC Bylaw Update
At the UDI liaison committee meeting with the District on February 17th, staff shared information on the proposed 2022 DCC Bylaw update. The Bylaw was last reviewed in 2020, and was phased in over a 3-year period which ends September 1st, 2022. This will be the effective date for new rates until the new bylaw amendments are adopted by Council in the coming months.
Proposals for the 2022 update include a continuation of the 1% municipal assist factor, with 1 year protection for instream applications that have had a DP or rezoning application accepted by the date the new bylaw amendments are approved by Council. Staff are recommending that this update not be phased in because the last DCC increase was phased in over 3 years.
Proposed draft rates can be found below:
March 8, 2022
Building Bylaw Amendments
On February 15th, a report went to Council on proposed amendments to the Building Bylaw, and received First, Second, and Third Reading. This update aims to implement a Certified Professional (CP) Program, implement an alternative Step Code compliance option for commercial developments, as well as address several housekeeping matters.
A CP Program would provide the District’s building department with the option of allowing Registered Professionals who are certified through the program to apply for building permits and construct their project under the process template created by the CP Program Committee, which is comprised of representatives of Architectural Institute of BC (AIBC) and Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (EGBC).
To address the Step Code compliance challenges for new commercial space creation, staff are proposing a change to the Building Bylaw establishing a Step 2 option when green energy sources are used. This optional approach is based on Greenhouse Gas Intensity (GHGI) targets and aims for reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, rather than reaching maximum energy efficiency under the Step Code. The approach is aligned with the Low Carbon Building density bonus program currently being implemented through the Zoning Bylaw. In order to utilize the Step 2 option, commercial space developments would need to achieve a GHGI of 1.0 kg CO2e/m2/y, which requires elimination of fossil fuel heating systems. The option would be subject to a restrictive covenant registered on the title of the property limiting heating sources to those required to reach the GHGI target.
If you have any questions, please contact Heather Park at email@example.com.
January 11, 2022
Payment in Lieu of Off-Street Parking Spaces
On January 4th, the District of Squamish gave first, second, and third reading to the Payment in Lieu of Off-Street Parking Spaces bylaw. Proposed changes include a revision to the cash in lieu of the commercial parking rate from $25,000 to $30,000 per eligible commercial parking stall. This is aligned with cash in lieu rates charged by different municipalities, demonstrated through a staff review of regional rates which fall in the $25,000 to $40,000 range. If adopted, the amounts will be levied on new Development Permit applications. The full report can be found here.
October 19, 2021
Garibaldi Estates Neighbourhood Plan Engagement
The District of Squamish has recently begun public engagement for the Garibaldi Estates Neighbourhood Planning Process. More details about the project can be found at https://letstalksquamish.ca/garibaldi-estates-plan.
Engagement with the building industry is intended to help the District better understand future housing, services and transportation needs and how that might influence neighbourhood planning as it works to develop a collaborative vision for the future of the Garibaldi Estates neighbourhood over the next 20 years. A neighbourhood plan will provide property owners with a roadmap for the types of infill development that the Garibaldi Estates can accommodate in the future.
Infill development is prioritized in the Squamish 2040 Official Community Plan to make use of existing neighbourhoods and protect the natural environment. This strategy is in place to manage the anticipated population growth that Squamish will continue to experience, and was developed with extensive community input.
Visit LetsTalkSquamish.ca today to complete our housing, business or transportation survey, ask a question or share an idea or feedback.
Transit Future Action Plan & Expansion Initiatives Letter
Staff presented a report at the October 12th Committee of the Whole meeting, for the purpose of receiving approval to sign the 2021 three-year transit expansion initiatives letter, and to provide an update on the January 2022 expansion plans and Transit Future Action Plan service priorities. The staff recommendation for the District of Squamish to authorize the Chief Administrative Officer to sign the 2021 three-year transit expansion initiatives letter from BC Transit was carried unanimously.
Transit Future Action Plan Draft Service Priorities can be viewed on page 3 of the report. Changes include Frequent Transit Network improvements, including service expansion and increased frequency.
The expansions proposed in the Three-Year Expansion Initiatives Letter are intended to provide resources (service hours, vehicles) for the service priorities proposed in the Transit Future Action Plan (TFAP). A high-level summary of the three-year plan is to:
- Improve frequency between downtown and Garibaldi Village during peak hours in year one
- Provide off peak expansions and reserve buses in year two
- Initiate the transition to a new Frequent Transit Network in year three
The next step for the Transit Future Action Plan is to use feedback received from Council to modify the service priorities and complete the draft plan. The draft plan will then be circulated initially to staff and then to Council at a future meeting. If approved, staff will coordinate the execution of the three-year transit expansion initiatives letter return it to BC Transit.
September 21, 2021
2020 Zoning Bylaw Changes
The District of Squamish is in the process of completing work on Stage 3 of the 2020 Zoning Bylaw Update, based on feedback received from council at the meeting on June 8th. The full report to council can be found here.
The Stage 3 Amendments include roughly 100 technical amendments. Areas that may be of interest to members include projections into required setback, height of buildings and structures related to mass timber buildings and use of insulation, as well as Gross Floor Area Exemptions. The goal of the amendments is to increase flexibility surrounding zoning, improve clarity in definitions surrounding items like patios, decks, and balconies, as well as address gaps in bylaws related to items like amenity space.
The changes are scheduled to go to Council in December.
If you have any questions, please email Heather Park at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 7, 2021
2020 Zoning Bylaw Update – Stage 3 General Amendments Open House
The District of Squamish is hosting an in person and virtual open house as part of the 2020 Zoning Bylaw Update related to the Stage 3 General Amendments. An In Person and Virtual Open House event will be held, each covering the same content. The events will include a general overview of the proposed Stage 3 General amendments, and a moderated discussion with opportunities for questions and comments from participants. Prior to the Open Houses feel free to review the Stage 3 General Amendments Report to Council, the Completed Items Spreadsheet and the Draft Zoning Bylaw No. 2824, 2021 (with tracked changes).
How to register:
Register for Wednesday, September 15, 8-6 pm In Person Open House
Register for the Thursday, September 16, 6-8 pm Online Open House
June 29, 2021
Demolition Waste Diversion Bylaw
Council adopted the Demolition Waste Diversion Bylaw on June 15th. The new bylaw has instituted a refundable fee structure of $20 per square metre of building being demolished, paid before demolition begins. If there is no divertible material going to the landfill, or less than 40%, none of the fee is refunded. If more than 80% is diverted, all of the fee is refunded, with amounts in between subject to a sliding scale. Builders can make money back on tipping fees in addition to the refund if they are diverting successfully.
Review of Development Cost Charge (DCC) Model
The District’s DCC model is back up for review, and the District is asking for consultants to help in the review. Council is mainly focused on equity between property classes, and different forms of housing (i.e. single-detached homes vs multi-family). Work to review the DCC model is scheduled to take place in early July.
January 12, 2021
UPDATED: Fees and Charges
Further to the update provided in December 2020, the District is updating its Fees and Charges By-law for the Engineering and Community Planning departments.
One of the key changes was updating the Municipal Work Permit fees to encourage builders “… to lessen the duration of park, path, sidewalk, and road closures,” by applying an area based unit rate for permits greater than seven days. The current fee is $200 + a deposit of 75% of the work value. The proposed new fee structure is outlined in the table below:
If you have feedback or comments on this change or the others noted in the previous newsletter article below, please contact Cassandra McColman (email@example.com) by January 20, 2021.
December 15, 2020
Fees and Charges
The District is updating its Fees and Charges By-law for the Engineering and Community Planning departments. Last month, a report went to Committee of the Whole, and it will be discussed at the December 16 District of Squamish Development Liaison Committee meeting. The changes to the By-law include:
- “Updates to section 6.6 Subdivision Administration, Drawing Review and Construction Inspection to provide better clarity on when the fee applies and to charge a fee based on summation of project values rather than a single value …;”
- Updating the Municipal Work Permit fees to encourage builders “… to lessen the duration of park, path, sidewalk, and road closures,” by applying an area based unit rate for permits greater than seven days;
- Removing the flat fee from permits for habitat restoration and invasive species removal;
- Clarifying the Tree Management Permit application and fees associated with it;
- Changes to fees for Community Planning services such as:
- The Plan Processing fees increasing “… from $90 to $3,000 for applications with development value above $1 Million;”
- The Building Permit Extension/Renewal Fee increasing to $1,000 (from $50) for projects valued higher than $1 Million;
- A 22% increase in Building Permit Fees – but a reduction in those fees for projects that exceed Squamish’s Energy Step Code requirements and use 100% renewable energy sources;
- An increase in the “… OCP amendment fee for Sub Area Plan applications from $22,000 to $30,000;”
- Removing “… the discount for residential rezonings and development permits above 3 units,” and the discount for subdivisions over 50 lots; and
- Removing the OCP amendment fee discount for concurrent OCP/rezoning applications.
November 3, 2020
Updated: Proposed DCC Bylaw Changes
Following the granting of First Reading to a proposed DCC Bylaw review in July 2020, District of Squamish staff have revised the proposed implementation of the new DCC rates. A new phased approach will distribute the increases over a three-year period. The increases would be equally split over that period and in-stream applications would be grandfathered under the standard LGA provisions.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding these rates please contact Cassandra McColman. To note, Council has not yet provided input on this proposal, and it is expected to be presented in mid-November. UDI will work directly with staff to respond to any questions or comments.
Further to the initial feedback provided by Council in July, staff will also be conducting a more comprehensive review of their DCC Bylaw and rate structure in 2021.
September 8, 2020
Arts, Culture and Heritage Strategy
District of Squamish Council has endorsed an Arts, Culture and Heritage Strategy that aims to support a vibrant cultural sector and identity, create connectivity and enhance the availability of cultural activity in Squamish. The Strategy is designed with ‘present time and place’ in mind, with an adaptable implementation plan that can respond to changing needs and evolving opportunities as the community grows over time. The 60-page document can be viewed online at squamish.ca/arts-culture-and-heritage-strategy.
August 11, 2020
2020 Zoning Bylaw Update – Phase 1
On July 28, The District of Squamish held a Public Hearing to receive input on several proposed zoning changes. These changes included the rezoning of specific greenfield sites from RS-1 to Multiple Unit Residential 5 (RM-5), the rezoning of resource parcels along Highway 99 to Ecotourism and amendments of the zoning of large C-4 properties in the downtown centre. UDI submitted a letter as part of the Public Hearing proceedings. To read the full comments received by Council, click here.
As part of the original update proposed by staff on July 7, the Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) policy would be amended to use the previous zoning as the basis for CAC negotiations. This amendment was not included in the update that proceeded to Public hearing on July 28, however, at the conclusion of the Public Hearing, Council approved a motion to refer this amended CAC Policy back to draft for additional work, with the intention of including a revised amendment in the final Bylaw changes.
July 28, 2020
Proposed DCC Bylaw Changes
At the Special Business Meeting held on July 21, Squamish District Council gave first reading to the amendments proposed for the Development Cost Charge Bylaw. Council also directed Staff to proceed with additional engagement of the Economic Development Department to discuss the proposed new rates for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional classes. UDI had previously provided a letter to staff outlining our concerns with the timing and magnitude of the DCC rate increases and recommending that the potential for phasing be explored.
June 2, 2020
DCC Bylaw Review
The District of Squamish is reviewing its DCC Bylaw, with a report expected to go to Council this summer. Staff have provided an overview of the proposed changes and accompanying project lists for preliminary review. If you have any questions or comments please contact Cassandra McColman.
April 23, 2020
See here for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates from the District of Squamish
See here for news Updates from the District of Squamish
April 21st State of Local Emergency Cancelled https://squamish.ca/yourgovernment/news/state-of-emergency-cancelled/
April 20th New homes on the way for Squamish’s vulnerable residents https://squamish.ca/yourgovernment/news/new-homes-on-the-way-for-squamishs-vulnerable-residents/
April 17th Site preparation work underway for temporary emergency and transitional housing project https://squamish.ca/yourgovernment/news/site-preparation-work-underway-for-temporary-emergency-and-transitional-housing-project/
District of Squamish is working with partners to lobby Province for support to address high visitor numbers
March 28 Facilities Update: temporary removal of portable toilets, improved access to washroom and shower facilities https://squamish.ca/yourgovernment/news/facilities-update/
March 27 District of Squamish lays out operational plan for coming weeks https://squamish.ca/yourgovernment/news/operational-plan-covid19/
March 27 Statement on physical distance and enforcement https://squamish.ca/yourgovernment/news/statement-on-enforcement/
March 25 Provincial guidance to construction sites during COVID-19 https://squamish.ca/yourgovernment/news/provincial-guidance-to-construction-sites-during-covid-19/
March 16 District of Squamish to make significant adjustments to facilities operationshttps://squamish.ca/yourgovernment/news/district-of-squamish-to-make-significant-adjustments-to-facilities-operations/
June 10, 2019
Residential Rental Tenure Zoning Policy Proposed to Council
On June 11, Squamish Council will be considering a Report recommending “that the District of Squamish Council direct staff to prepare Zoning Bylaw and Official
Community Plan amendments which introduce Residential Rental Tenure zoning based on feedback received at the June 11, 2019 Committee of the Whole Meeting.” Staff are proposing to implement Residential Rental Tenure Zoning on 12 properties encompassing 309 existing non-stratified purpose-built rental units.
According to the Report: “The amendment would limit the form of tenure to residential rental for the existing number of purpose-built rental units on the subject properties. Owner-occupied units would not be permitted in the existing building. The only form of tenure permitted is rental. In a redevelopment scenario, an affected property owner would need to provide the same number of rental units that currently exist on site, but may be permitted to develop additional for-sale units that may be owner-occupied. This would not preclude a developer from including strata market housing in redevelopment plans should they have remaining density over and above the required number of rental units.”
April 16, 2019
2020 Zoning Bylaw Update and Open House
The District of Squamish is updating its Zoning Bylaw, focusing on increasing zoning flexibility, improving functionality, addressing gaps and aligning zoning with the Squamish 2040 Official Community Plan. Attend the Phase 1 Open House, Wednesday, April 24 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Ledge Community Coffee House. More info: https://bit.ly/2PckKUD
March 18, 2019
Squamish Accepting Expressions of Interest for Business Park
The District is completing a Real Estate and Facilities Master Plan in Spring 2019. The sale or lease of all or portions of District-owned land in the Squamish Business Park is being considered as a possibility to fund other District investments. As a result, the District is soliciting Expressions of Interest from interested parties to establish:
- The level of interest in these lands – sizes, uses, timing.
- The optimal approach to proceeding with these lands.
- Parties to negotiate potential subsequent sale(s)/lease(s).
The District of Squamish will be accepting Expressions of Interest until March 28, 2019 (4:30 P.M. PT)
February 5, 2019
Mayor and Council Release 2019/2022 Strategic Plan
Mayor Karen Elliott used the occasion of her January 23rd address to the Squamish Chamber to release Council’s new 2019/22 Strategic Plan, including the promise to have 125 new affordable housing units built by 2022. Other housing related highlights from the plan include:
- Establish an affordable housing governance structure in 2019 that will facilitate growth and management of affordable housing stock,
- Identify and facilitate securing land required to accommodate affordable housing needs to meet current and future projections in 2019,
- Increase the number of affordable housing form options, size and the numbers of bedrooms within each form, year over by 2022, and
- Extend the affordable housing program by 2022 to provide affordable home ownership options.
December 10, 2019
Community Amenity Contribution Policy
Squamish’s recently adopted CAC policy is now available. Please note, the table has been reformatted to improve clarity and prior to approval, Council added a $6 per square foot charge for larger applications, in addition to the affordable housing requirement and parks / active transportation charges. Previously it had been either / or and the new policy was both. A pure cash in lieu contribution would now therefore be $21 per square foot.