Municipal News- Richmond
June 29, 2021
UPDATED: Proposed New Market Rental Policy and Increased LEMR Requirements
On June 23, Staff brought a follow-up report to Richmond Planning Committee on the proposed new Market Rental Policy and Increased LEMR Requirements. After further questions of staff, Council voted to refer the report back to staff, with the direction for staff to hold an informational workshop with Council to further discuss the proposals. Council also approved a motion to provide grandfathering under the existing policy for applications currently in-stream, and allow them to proceed.
UPDATED: Office Policy Incentives
Further to the previous updates, UDI and NAIOP jointly submitted comments on the City of Richmond’s proposed changes to their office incentives. Staff anticipate going to Council this Summer or Fall with recommendations.
May 18, 2021
UPDATED: Proposed New Market Rental Policy and Increased LEMR Requirements
At the Planning Committee meeting held on May 4th, the Committee decided to refer the proposal back to staff to add a new market rental policy and increase the Low-End Market Rental (LEMR) to 15% in City Centre. Councillors requested that staff provide additional clarity on some of the information provided, conduct additional consultation with stakeholders, determine the impacts of additional density offsets.
In the discussions, Staff also confirmed that if the proposed policies are adopted, the City will continue to negotiate with proponents to deliver additional rental housing, over and above the policy targets.
The report is expected to return to Planning Committee in June.
Office Policy Incentives
On May 12, City staff held a workshop on changes to Richmond’s office incentives. The City wants to encourage larger companies from the IT, creative, education and immigration services sectors to locate in the City Centre. The City is concerned that most of the new space being built is smaller (500 ft2 to 1,500 ft2) stratified spaces despite current density bonusing incentives for larger strata office spaces (20,000 ft2 or an entire floor). Staff argued that the firms Richmond is trying to attract want to locate where there are larger (flexible) lease space options.
Staff are proposing to adjust the incentive program, so it is focused on the construction of leased spaces within a five minute walk of SkyTrain stations. Outside the Village Centre Bonus (VCB) areas, they would negotiate density bonuses for leased spaces, and inside the VCBs, two options were proposed:
- Change the VCB bonus, so it only applies when leased office space is built; and
- Negotiate an additional density bonus (above the VCB) for leased space.
Please see here for the workshop slides. Workshop participants recommended that the City consider parking reductions and speeding up development approval times (e.g. pre-zoning) to encourage more leased office space.
The City has a survey that they are asking interested parties to complete by May 24. Staff anticipate going to Council this Summer or Fall with recommendations. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Peter Whitelaw at the City of Richmond (604.204.8639) or email Cassandra McColman.
May 4, 2021
Proposed New Market Rental Policy and Increased LEMR Requirements
As discussed at the last UDI-City of Richmond Liaison meeting last month, staff are bringing forward recommendations to Planning Committee on May 4th, to change the LEMR requirements for new projects and add a new market rental requirement. The report is linked below.
The recommended approach includes the following City-wide updates that would apply to new development:
- Market Rental: replacing the voluntary incentives based approach to securing market rental housing units in mixed market rental and strata buildings with the following provisions:
- Requiring at least 10% of the total residential floor area in a building that includes more than 60 apartment units to be secured as market rental housing. An associated 0.1 floor area ratio (FAR) density bonus will apply to the site.
- For townhouse developments with 5 or more units, and apartment developments with 5 to 60 apartment units, cash-in-lieu may be accepted through a rezoning application, or the owner may secure and construct 10% of the total residential floor area in the building as market rental housing. An associated 0.1 FAR density bonus would apply to the site for built market rental, not cash-in-lieu.
- Low End Market Rental (LEMR): Expanding the existing LEMR program to secure at least 15% of the total residential floor area in new developments inside of the City Centre Area Plan as affordable housing units. Maintaining the existing LEMR program outside of the City Centre Area Plan, which secures 10% of the total residential floor area in new developments as affordable housing units
- Grandfathering: Rezoning applications submitted prior to the adoption of the new bylaws would have one year to be considered for 1st reading to be able to proceed under the existing policies. All applications received following the adoption of the policy would be subject to the new requirements.
UDI provided comments on the proposals and will provide additional updates following the presentation to Planning Committee.
April 20, 2021
2021 Annual Inflationary DCC Bylaw Increase
The City of Richmond is proposing an inflationary increase to DCCs for 2021. The increase will be 0.8% for the year, with standard grandfathering procedures in place. This type of increase is one of the measures previously recommended by UDI to mitigate large one-time increases when major DCC reviews take place.
The target date for bylaw adoption is May 10, 2021.
If you have specific comments please feel free to reach out directly to City staff at firstname.lastname@example.org, or let me know if you have questions.
January 12, 2021
Industrial Land Intensification Initiative
Over the last year, Richmond City staff have been consulting with the building sector regarding the Industrial Land Intensification Initiative (ILII). On Monday, January 11, staff brought the linked report to Council, proposing several changes to the existing zoning bylaws. These are outlined in the table below.
This report also discuses Industrial stratification, however it does not make any formal recommendations. Overall, the report reflects the discussions both at the UDI liaison committee and UDI-NAIOP subcommittee. For a detailed description of the proposed changes and the rationale please review the report here.
There will be opportunities to speak to this report, both at the Regular Council meeting this coming Monday, January 11th as well as a Public Hearing in February (the date has not yet been set).
December 15, 2020
UPDATED: Energy Step Code (ESC) Implementation for New Hotels and Part 9 Buildings
On December 7, The City of Richmond approved updates to its Building Regulation Bylaw to add Energy Step Code requirements for new Part 9 buildings and Hotels. The new requirements outlined in the table below will be effective for all building permits issued on or after December 15, 2020, with the following grandfathering provision for in-stream applications:
If an acceptable Development Permit application has been submitted to the City prior to adoption of Bylaw 10205, is considered and endorsed by the Development Permit Panel prior to December 15, 2021, and has a complete Building Permit application acceptable to the City submitted prior to December 15, 2021, the owner may apply for a Building Permit in compliance with energy efficiency requirements applicable prior to adoption of Bylaw 10205.
October 20, 2020
DCC Rates to remain unchanged
On October 13, the Richmond City Council voted to keep current DCC rates unchanged as outlined in Option 1 of the Development Cost Charges Imposition Bylaw Annual Inflationary Update (2020). This was the option recommended by staff to best, “support the recovery of the local economy from the unprecedented effect from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.”
The report also noted that the next major DCC review is scheduled for 2022, 5 years after the previous review took place in 2017. Due to the maintenance of current DCC rates at this time, it may result in a larger increase resulting from the 2022 review.
October 6, 2020
Public Art Program Policy
On September 28, a staff report on proposed changes to the Public Art Policy was presented at the Regular Council meeting. The report responds to a referral from Council in November 2019, where Council directed staff to examine:
- the harmonization of procedures for public art development on private and public property, which provides the terms of reference and concepts for Council consideration only at the initial application phase;
- potential monetary thresholds and options for the allocation of voluntary developer public art contributions; and
- whether preference can be given to local and emerging artists in public art projects.
Council reviewed new options for City approval of the Terms of Reference (TOR), outlining the objectives, suggested themes, budget, artist eligibility, artist selection method, selection panel composition, site location and timeline for delivery of the artwork. The following options were presented:
Following the recommendations of the General Purposes Committee held on September 21, 2020, Council approved the preferred Policy Option 3 for the approval of the Terms of Reference for public art on private property and Policy 8703 – Public Art Program will be revised accordingly to allow Council to approve the Terms of Reference for public art projects commissioned through the Development Permit application process with a cumulative public art budget of over $250,000.
This new Public Art Program Policy will apply to private development applications submitted to the City after the date of Council’s adoption of the Policy (September 28, 2020). Any applications already granted first reading by Council or endorsed by the Development Permit Panel would proceed in accordance with the existing Policy. Any applications already submitted to the City received prior to adoption of the new Policy will be processed under the existing Policy. Any applications received after Policy adoption will be considered under the new Policy.
In addition, the report provided options for Council to establish a new Public Art and Arts Facilities Program Reserve Fund, to expand the allocation of public art funds to include public art facilities. As well as a revised process to give Council discretion to determine how voluntary developer contributions are allocated:
- In cases where the developer prefers to direct the voluntary contributions to art on/near their site, there would now be a staff report from the Public Art Planner seeking Council’s approval prior to the proposed development being forwarded to Planning Committee or the Development Permit Panel.
- The approved allocation would then be included in the Rezoning or Development Application Report to Council.
Please see the charts on the last two pages of the report (pp.23-24) illustrating the steps in the existing and proposed processes.
This proposed change regarding Allocations of Voluntary Developer Public Art Contributions, was referred back to staff, with the request for, “information related to funds received historically for each component of the public art fund and alternatives to raise funding for arts and related facilities.”
Note that staff have previously presented to the UDI liaison committee on the strategy and UDI submitted a letter last year identifying our concerns with the addition of new steps with added costs to the approvals process. If you have any questions or comments regarding this policy, please contact Cassandra McColman.
August 25, 2020
UPDATED: Energy Step Code (ESC) Implementation for New Hotels
As noted previously, the City of Richmond is updating its BC Energy Step Code Policy to include requirements for new hotels (and motels). UDI attended two virtual consultation sessions with staff and submitted a letter outlining our support for a two-step model, as well as some of our concerns with Richmond’s overall approach to Energy Step Code targets.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Cassandra McColman. For more information on the ESC, please see the BC Energy Step Code Council website and the City of Richmond page on the Code.
July 28, 2020
Energy Step Code (ESC) Implementation for New Hotels
As noted in previous newsletters, the City of Richmond is updating its BC Energy Step Code Policy to include requirements for new hotels (and motels). City staff held webinars on June 24 and July 22 on draft recommendations that will be presented to Council in September 2020 for potential adoption. (please see the slides here). The City will be adopting Step Code metrics for hotels as set out by the Province in the December 2019 BC Building Code, which are:
Staff will be recommending to Council that beginning in October new hotels will be required to achieve Step Code 3, or Step 2 with a Low Carbon Energy System (LCES). Staff have also signaled that in January 2025, new hotels will be required to achieve Step 4 levels of energy efficiency, or Step 3 with a LCES.
Within Richmond City Centre there will be slightly different requirements (please see the map below). Within the pink “Future District Energy Utility (DEU)” area, hotel developers will be mandated to either:
- Connect to a DEU system [Step 2 + LCES]; or
- Provide a DEU‐ready onsite centralized low carbon energy plant, owned/operated by the Lulu Island Energy Company [Step 2 + LCES]; or
- [For pre‐zoned developments only] be DEU‐ready [Step 3 OR Step 2 + LCES], but this would be at the discretion of City Council.
Staff also said that “To be grandfathered under prior energy requirements, new developments requiring a Development Permit (DP) must:
- Submit a DP application to the City prior to the new ESC requirements coming into force and effect; AND
- Receive endorsement from the DP Panel within six months of the new ESC requirements coming into force and effect; AND
- Submit a ‘complete Building Permit application,’ fully consistent with the development endorsed by the DP Panel, within six months of the new ESC requirements coming into force and effect.”
A report regarding these recommendations will be going to Council in September. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Cassandra McColman at 604.661.3032. For more information on the ESC, please see the BC Energy Step Code Council website and the City of Richmond page on the Code.
June 16, 2020
UDI members invited to June 24th webinar workshop on Energy Step Code requirements for new hotel developments in City of Richmond
Staff at the City of Richmond would like to meet with UDI members to discuss proposed BC Energy Step Code requirements for new hotel development.
Date: Wednesday afternoon, June 24, 2020
Time: 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Given the current COVID-19 restrictions, this will be a Webex event. During this session, an online polling tool will also be used to gather live feedback from participants on the City’s proposed Step Code framework.
The agenda for the workshop will include the following:
- Overview of Energy Step Code and the direction of Provincial and National codes on energy efficiency.
- City of Richmond climate action targets to 2030 and 2050, and current Energy Step Code requirements for new buildings (other Group C occupancies).
- Review proposed Step Code framework for hotels:
- Minimum Step Code requirements and two-option path in meeting these requirements
- Timing of when they would come into effect and in-stream provisions
- Schedule of higher Step Code requirements to 2025
- Recap of live polling results
City of Richmond staff will make the workshop presentation materials and feedback questions available following this workshop, and will accept written / email submissions until end of day on Tuesday, June 30th.
To register for this event, please contact Nicholas Heap at: email@example.com
April 23, 2020
April 21 Penalty date for Richmond Property Tax Payment extended to September 30. https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/tax-extension.htm
April 20th City of Richmond launches support centre for businesses affected by COVID-19 https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/businesssupport20apr2020.htm
April 15 City of Richmond to reduce property taxes and delay tax deadline to September https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/rmdreducetaxesanddelaydeadline2020Apr15.htm
April 7th City of Richmond cancels Standing Committee Meetings until end of May 2020 https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/cancel-meetings.htm
April 2nd Enhanced Enforcement measures to Support Provincial Health Orders https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/bc-health-orders.htm
April 7, 2020
Residential Rental Tenure Zoning Report to Planning Committee
On Tuesday, April 7, a staff report will be presented to Richmond’s Planning Committee, which recommends applying Rental Tenure Zoning to 60 existing rental properties in the city.
Over the past year, staff have conducted consultation on the proposal, including an online public survey and two stakeholder workshops. UDI participated in one of the workshops and wrote a letter outlining our concerns about the proposal, including the potential impact of downzoning these properties. UDI was also part of the Partners for Rental Housing group that launched the Rental Tenure Zoning Report: Making Rental a Reality in late 2019.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact Cassandra McColman.
Step Code Bulletins
The City of Richmond has released two new Building Department bulletins on the recent changes to the Energy Step Code requirements in the City. All Part 3 builders and Part 9 Townhouse and Apartment builders are now required to meet ESC Step 3 standards. For more information please review the bulletins linked below.
April 1, 2020
See here for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates from the City of Richmond
March 30th Richmond extends Flat Rate Utility Bill due date to June 30th, 2020 https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/utility-bill-extension.htm
March 27th Richmond’s COVID 19 response aligns with provincial emergency Orders announced yesterday https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/rmdcovid19responsealignsprovincialorders2020Mar27.htm
March 25th City of Richmond calls Special Council Meeting for March 30th https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/speccclmtgformar302020Mar25.htm
March 20th Richmond City Council encourages community members to remain home, stream Council meetings online instead https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/stream-council-meeting.htm
March 19th City of Richmond declares an emergency https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/declares-emergency.htm
March 19 City of Richmond calls Special Council Meeting https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/SpecialCouncilMeeting.htm
March 16th City of Richmond’s response to COVID-19 https://www.richmond.ca/newsevents/city/COVID19response.htm
September 30, 2019
Building Permit completion bulletin
The City of Richmond has released a bulletin outlining the components of a complete building permit submission for the Energy Step Code (ESC). It has been published online at Richmond.ca, and is designed to help builders submit complete applications in advance of the ESC requirement changes that come into effect on December 31, 2019.
August 19, 2019
Potential Expansion of Richmond District Energy System
The City of Richmond is currently planning to expand its district energy utility, Lulu Island Energy Company, through the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB). The new district energy project will expand the city’s current district energy systems from 330,000 square metres to more than 4.7 million square metres, subsequent to the approval of Richmond City Council.
The signing of this MOU represents the first time the CIB has partnered on a BC-based project. This partnership will also involve work with Corix Utilities, which is currently working with Lulu Island Energy Company to develop the Richmond Oval District Energy System.
July 8, 2019
UPDATED: Public Art Policy
As previously mentioned, at the request of Council, Richmond staff were reviewing potential changes to the Public Art Approval Policy. Staff’s report and recommendations were presented at the July 2 General Purposes Meeting and were referred back for further analysis. Council requested further information around the following aspects of the policy:
- Local art plans;
- Suggestions in terms of vision and theme for art in the city such as heritage, history, culture and harmony;
- Opportunities for young and emerging artists; and
- Earlier reference to Council regarding public art on private property.
June 10, 2019
UPDATED: Rental Tenure Zoning Consultation
On May 28 the City of Richmond held a consultation meeting with UDI members regarding the proposed implementation of rental tenure zoning. UDI raised concerns about the continued viability of rental projects in the city if new and onerous requirements are implemented. Members also voiced opposition to the arbitrary downzoning of 60 existing rental sites across the city, which was also proposed in the staff report presented to Council in April. Staff will continue to conduct stakeholder and public engagement until June 16, and an online survey has been posted to Let’s Talk Richmond. If you have any questions regarding the proposed changes or have comments that you would like UDI to raise through the consultation, please contact Cassandra McColman at 604.661.3032.
May 27, 2019
Rental Tenure Zoning Public Engagement
The City has begun public consultation on its proposed rental tenure zoning. This is resulting from a report and motion that was referred back to staff in April. This motion proposed the implementation of rental-tenure zoning on 60 sites across Richmond, and exploration of broader application going forward. Members of UDI’s Richmond Liaison Committee and Rental Housing Committee will be participating in a consultation session later this week. Subsequent sessions will also be held with other stakeholders in the coming weeks and a public open house on Thursday, June 6 (4-8pm) at Richmond City Hall.
The City has posted a survey that can be completed online to provide feedback on the proposed changes. We invite all UDI members to participate using the link to Let’s Talk Richmond. The survey will be available online until June 16, 2019.
If you have any questions regarding the proposed changes or have comments that you would like UDI to raise through the consultation process, please contact Cassandra McColman at 604.661.3032.
May 13, 2019
Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP)” renewal process
On Monday, March 25, 2019, City staff presented a report to Council entitled “Accelerating Local Action On Climate Change: Community Energy & Emissions Plan (CEEP) Renewal.”
The report, in part, noted the following key findings of the recent IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C:
- it is still possible to limit climate change to 1.5°C of global average warming relative to pre-industrial conditions;
- there are significantly less impacts with 1.5°C than 2°C of climate change
- on a global basis, human-caused GHG emissions need to decline by 45% relative to 2010 emissions levels by 2030, and have to reach net zero by about 2050.
The report also noted that Richmond’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan was adopted five years ago, and that there have been significant developments in terms of new, more affordable clean energy technology, and new policy tools available to local government (e.g. the Energy Step Code).
The Council report can be found here: https://www.richmond.ca/agendafiles/Open_Council_3-25-2019.pdf
In response, Council directed that staff carry out a public engagement program “to gain feedback from residents and stakeholders regarding the recommended revised greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target and revised climate action strategies and measures consistent with and in response to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.”
Council also adopted the following resolution: “That the City of Richmond declares and confirms a climate emergency”
CEEP Renewal stakeholder consultation process:
City of Richmond staff shall be carrying out an extensive public and stakeholder engagement process during the spring, summer and fall of 2019 in order to develop options for new greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction measures commensurate with limiting global average warming to 1.5°C.
Staff plan to present a draft of the revised CEEP to Council by the end of 2019, and present the finalized CEEP to Council by the end of March 2020.
From June to October of 2019, staff shall be meeting with key stakeholder groups and/or their representatives. Staff intend to achieve at least two touch points with each key stakeholder group, soliciting input at the beginning of the process, and reporting back to stakeholders on provisional directions and/or the draft plan in September and October.
UDI members are also invited to take part in the following multi-stakeholder events on the renewed CEEP:
- June 17: CEEP Ideas Fair, Richmond City Hall
- October 1: CEEP Strategic Directions workshop
- January 2020: Draft CEEP Open House
CEEP Renewal public consultation process:
Staff will be encouraging public participation in the CEEP process at a range of events and festivals over the summer, including:
- Public Works Open House, May 11
- LIEC Open House, date TBA
- Small Steps / Giant Leaps Pecha Kucha event at the Gateway Theatre, July 20
- Maritime Festival, July 27-28
- Farm Festival, August 10
- Richmond World Festival, August 30-31
Staff will also be engaging with residents through the use of on-line surveys and requests for comments, and by posting CEEP materials on the City’s Energy Save Richmond website.
April 16, 2019
Residential Rental Tenure Zoning Report
As noted in the April 1 Newsletter, City of Richmond staff went to Planning Committee with a Report on Market Rental Housing Policy and Approaches for Residential Rental Tenure Zoning. The Report includes recommendations on a number of issues, including:
- Increasing incentives for market rental supply;
- Identify areas in need of more market rental housing;
- A 1-to-1 replacement ratio for rental, including encouragement to add more Low-End Market Rental units and the requirement for form retention;
- Incorporating co-op housing through City-owned land;
- Options for Rental Tenure Zoning – including its application to a number of rental buildings in Richmond;
- Options for other incentives (e.g. DCC waivers and property tax reductions or exemptions for market rental housing); and
- The mandatory addition of market rental units totally 10% of building FAR to existing high-density zones.
Staff had recommended that the Committee and Council give the proposed Bylaw in the Report First Reading, and then proceed with industry, stakeholder and public consultation. The Committee instead decided to refer the Report to staff for the consultation before proceeding with First Reading. UDI will continue to update its members regarding the proposed policy as it proceeds through the consultation process.
Public Art Policy
At the March 27 Richmond Liaison Committee meeting, staff provided an update on a number of amendments Council is seeking to the Public Art Program in the City, including:
- Increasing the flexibility of how funds from the Program can be expended;
- The eligibility of artists under the program; and
- Council approving public art installations on development sites under the Policy.
UDI provided a letter to staff regarding the proposed changes. UDI supported the increased flexibility in how the funds were spent because they would still be used for public art (e.g. art galleries). However, we raised concerns about limiting which artists developers can use for their art installations and Council approving the art installations.
Annual Development Cost Charge (DCC) rate adjustment
As noted in the last newsletter, Richmond is doing an annual inflationary adjustment to its DCC program of 2.9% that will come into effect May 14, 2019. Please see the letter from Richmond on the DCC rate adjustment from April 3, 2019.
April 1, 2019
Residential Rental Tenure Zoning Report
City of Richmond staff will be presenting a report to the Planning Committee on April 2, describing their recommendations on a number of rental housing policies, including Residential Rental Tenure Zoning. On September 4, 2018 Council directed staff to report back on the following items:
- Increasing incentives for market rental supply
- Identify areas in need of more market rental housing
- A 1-to-1 replacement ratio for rental, including encouragement to add more LEMR units and the requirement for form retention.
- Incorporating co-op housing through City-owned land
- Options for Rental Tenure Zoning
- Options for other incentives (eg. DCC waivers and property tax reductions or exemptions for market rental housing)
This report provides recommendations on the above items and recommends that First Reading be given to a bylaw amendment to rezone 60 existing rental properties to rental-only use. This rezoning will go through a Public Hearing Process and is expected to be implemented by Q3 2019.
The report also recommends the mandatory addition of market rental units totally 10% of building FAR to existing high density zones. This could be effective even in areas that are pre-zoned (eg. City Centre). Subsequent to recommendations by Coriolis Consulting, staff are providing options on possible density bonusing incentives for the provision of market rental units.
At a recent Richmond Liaison Committee meeting, staff acknowledged that consultation with industry had not been undertaken for this report. The report itself does recommend consultation with UDI along with other rental and non-profit groups in the city later this spring.
Richmond Flood Strategy 2019
The City of Richmond is in the process of completing the Flood Protection Management Strategy 2019 (FPMS 2019) – an update to the City of Richmond’s 2008-2031 Flood Protection Strategy. This directional document outlines prospective ideas for flood protection at a high level. If you would like to provide feedback on the Strategy, you can visit LetsTalkRichmond.ca and complete a feedback form, before the April 14th deadline.
- Please note that the LetsTalkRichmond.ca website also has additional information regarding the Flood Protection Management Strategy 2019.
If there are any questions regarding the report contents, please contact Chris Chan, Project Manager at 604-204-8516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual DCC rate adjustment
A DCC increase of approximately 2.9% is expected to take effect on May 14, 2019. This is to adjust DCC levels for annual CPI increases and standard DCC grandfathering provisions will apply.
UDI is supportive of annual CPI increases for DCCs to mitigate the take effect.