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Municipal News- Vancouver

January 1, 2000

November 15, 2022

Parking Bylaw Amendments 

The City is proceeding with changes to the Parking Bylaw to improve the off-street parking experience for people with disabilities. These changes were approved by City Council on July 19, 2022, as part of Phase 1 of the City’s Accessibility Strategy. 

Changes include: 

  • The addition of van accessible design standards; 
  • Providing a surface with no more than 2% grade at accessible parking spaces and adjacent access aisles; 
  • In strata-titled development, all accessible parking spaces shall be held in common ownership, and must not be assigned to any strata lot to improve the ability for accessible parking spaces to be allocated to those with accessible parking permits, as accessibility needs and residents change over time. 

For more details, please refer to a memo from the City describing the changes that will take effect on January 1, 2023


 

November 1, 2022

Zoning and Development Bylaw Update 

As part of the City’s Regulation Redesign work, updates to the Zoning and Development Bylaw will come into effect November 14th, 2022. The updated bylaw contains clearer regulations, more tables and diagrams, and introduces hyperlinks and accessibility features. Simplified and more consistent regulations will make them easier to understand and apply consistently. 

To help users transition from the current version to the updated bylaw, the City is offering online orientation sessions and remote office hours. To register, please visit the City’s webpage, or access the links below to reserve your spot: 

Online Orientation: 

  • Tuesday, November 1, 2022,11:00am – 12:00pm (English) Reserve my spot 
  • Thursday, November 3, 2022 , 9:30am – 10:30am (English with Mandarin interpretation) Reserve my spot 

In-person Orientation: 

  • Thursday, November 17, 2022, 6:00pm – 7:00pm Ross Street Gurdwara, 8000 Ross Street (English) Reserve my spot 

Remote office hours: 

  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays from November 15 to 30, 2022, 9:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Sign me up 

 

Accessibility Requirements for New Buildings 

On November 22nd from 1:00pm-2:00pm the City will be hosting a virtual session to provide additional information on the development of its Accessibility Strategy (Phase 1) that was passed in July. This will include discussion on some areas of focus, such as the built environment and public spaces, transportation, and housing.  

If you are interested in attending the session, please email Heather Park at hpark@udi.org.  


 

October 18, 2022

Healthy Waters Plan 

In 2020, City staff were directed by Council to develop a sewage and rainwater management plan, the Healthy Waters Plan (HWP), that includes infrastructure investments and policies/programs to: 

  • Address “Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and polluted rainwater runoff from streets and properties limiting public access to water and impacting aquatic environments;” 
  • Ensure there is sufficient drainage and sewage capacity to accommodate anticipated growth;  
  • Address climate change impacts (e.g., increasing heavy rainfall events and sea level rise); and  
  • Meet the requirements of senior governments. 

UDI has been participating on an advisory group for the Healthy Waters Plan. City staff launched Phase 2 of it on September 22, 2022. They provided an overview of the findings from Phase 1 (Current State Assessment and Priority Action Plan). Staff noted that the HWP will align with the Vancouver Plan’s three big ideas (“Equitable Housing + Complete Neighbourhoods, an Economy that Works for All, and Comate Protection + Restored Ecosystems”), the three foundational principles (Equity, Reconciliation and Resilience), the land use strategy and ecological vision.   

Phase 2 (Pathway Development) will run until early 2024 and includes several elements: 

  • Set and refine performance measures; 
  • Refine the baseline forecast; 
  • Clarify alternative pathways (projects, programs, policies); and 
  • Evaluate consequences against performances measures to identify optimal pathway.” 

The Healthy Waters Plan will be finalized in Fall 2024. For more information, please see the attached slides from September 22 and the Phase Two Kickoff Reference Package.  

If you have any questions, please contact Timothy Douglas at tim.douglas@vancouver.ca.  


 

October 4, 2022

Broadway Plan Tenant Relocation & Protection Policies 

On September 21st City of Vancouver Staff provided an overview of the new Broadway Plan tenant protection policies and associated implementation details at a virtual session for UDI members. The session covered details of the new policies, how they align with city-wide tenant protections, and implementation resources available to applicants.  

Resources to learn more: 

If you have further questions about the new tenant protection policies, please contact housingpolicy@vancouver.ca 


 

September 20, 2022

Recent Updates to Private-Realm Rainwater Management in Vancouver 

The City of Vancouver has recently completed a process improvement project related to private-realm rainwater management and its review. Several changes have resulted from this project and are noted below.  

As of August 18, the Rainwater Management Bulletin has been updated and is now live on the City’s website. The bulletin provides applicants with information on the process and submission requirements related to rainwater management at development sites throughout Vancouver. The document has been revised to clarify the City’s rainwater management review process and submission requirements for development applications.  

This work is in association with the recently updated private realm rainwater management webpage, which acts as an extension of the bulletin for supplemental information and materials related to rainwater management. Here you will find a link to the Rainwater Management Bulletin, in addition to the current rainwater management areas of concern and the Rainwater Management Project Summary Form. The Project Summary Form will be required for all development applications undergoing rainwater management review after October 1.  

If you have any questions or comments related to these updates, please reach out to the City’s Rainwater Management Group at rainwater@vancouver.ca 

 

Accessibility Strategy 

On July 19th, the Council received a report and approved Phase 1 of the Accessibility Strategy. This included approval of the scope of work for Phase 2 of the Accessibility Strategy, involving development of a multi-year action plan, broad community engagement, and developing a financial and delivery strategy for the phase that considers funding/delivery options. The City will also be preparing and bringing forward amendments to the Parking Bylaw (as presented in Appendix C & D of the report) to advance City standards for accessible parking in new developments. 

Staff will report back in 2024 on the status of Phase 2 deliverables as it works to achieve its goals of creating accessible, affordable, market and non-market housing for persons with disabilities, and applying universal design principles to guide transportation planning and design. 

UDI is looking to organize a session with City staff to discuss requirements for new buildings in the coming weeks. If you would be interested in attending, please email Heather Park at hpark@udi.org to receive information once a date and time are set.  


 

September 6, 2022

REMINDER: Development Permit Regulation Survey 

As noted in previous newsletters, as part of the City’s ongoing development process review, the Engineering Department is conducting a project to improve its DP review processing times.  

If you are interested in providing feedback, please complete this 5-10 minute survey. The deadline has been extended until September 12th at 12:00pm.  

If you have any questions, please contact Will Teng at will.teng@vancouver.ca

 

Broadway Plan Tenant Relocation and Protection Policies 

On Wednesday, September 21st from 10:00am-11:00am the City will be hosting an information session where staff will provide an overview of the new Broadway Plan tenant protection policies and associated implementation details. 

The Broadway Plan was approved June 22nd, 2022 and went into effect September 1st, 2022. This session will include a staff presentation followed by a participant Q/A. The presentation will cover the following topics: 

  • What the new tenant protection policies are that apply in the Broadway Plan area; 
  • How these new policies align with city-wide tenant protections; 
  • Implementation guides, forms and templates; 
  • How these changes impact application submission requirements/processes. 

To read more about the tenant protection policies please refer to Chapter 12 of the Plan (pg. 350). To read more about implementation details for the tenant protection policies please refer to the City’s “Renter Relocation Resources for Owners and Developers” webpage. 

Please note that this session will not be able to address questions on specific rezoning enquiries or applications under the Broadway Plan. Please direct project-specific questions to broadwayplan@vancouver.ca 

If you are interested in attending, please email Heather Park at hpark@udi.org.  


 

August 9, 2022

UPDATE: Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Planning 

As noted in previous newsletters, on May 31st the City held a preliminary engagement session on the Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Plan. This session focused on the future of the employment lands. A meeting summary can be read here, along with the two presentations by Metro Vancouver and City staff

Over the rest of the summer and early fall the City will be working on a series of technical studies, including: 

  • An archaeological assessment of the area to look at areas with archeological potential; 
  • An economic study to look at what types of new buildings (housing and businesses) would be possible to add to the area; 
  • An update to the Still Creek Rehabilitation and Enhancement Study and a study looking at how flood risk is changing as a result of climate change and development in the area; 
  • Studies and analysis related to where a new greenway could be located and where we have gaps in tree coverage; 
  • Looking at where local retail is provided, where there might be gaps, and where we might be able to add new retail. 

The results of these studies, along with what was heard through engagement and recommendations identified in the Vancouver Plan, will be used to inform additional Early Directions (draft policies and recommendations for change in the area). There will be more engagement opportunities in late 2022 on these additional draft policies and recommendations. 

Additional Links: 

 

UPDATE: Finalized Broadway Plan 

As noted in previous newsletters, over the last month, City staff have been working on finalizing the Broadway Area Plan document to reflect the various amendments passed by City Council. Several of these approved amendments have directed staff to further report back to Council on various topics, which UDI will be working with City staff on through the implementation of the Plan. 

The final Plan can be viewed here

The Plan’s effective date is September 1st, 2022, which will be the point at which applications or enquiries can begin to be submitted. 

 

Development Permit Review Process Survey 

As part of the City’s ongoing development process review, the Engineering Department is conducting a project to improve its DP review processing times. They are seeking customer feedback on Department’s DP Review process from members of the Development Community. 

The project scope includes pre-application, DP Application intake, DP Reviews, Prior-to-letter responses and ends at DP Issuance. The project scope excludes more complex DPs that go to the DP Board as well as low density and social housing, which have their own defined processes.  

If you are interested in providing feedback, please complete this 5-10 minute survey by 5:00 p.m. on August 30, 2022. At the end of the survey, you will have an opportunity to opt into an optional 30-minute virtual conversation to provide additional feedback (one member at a time) between August 15th and 31st as well as September 12th and 23rd. Please note that the City may not be able to accommodate everyone seeking a 1 on 1 interview.  

If you have any questions, please contact Will Teng at will.teng@vancouver.ca


 

July 26, 2022

Vancouver Plan 

As noted in previous newsletters, on July 22nd Council passed the Vancouver Plan with some amendments. Highlights from the final amended motion include Council direction for: 

  • Staff to establish clear expectations for developer contributions to provide affordable housing and public benefits in each area to prevent speculation, including Development Costs Expectations ahead of all future detailed area planning processes; 
  • Staff to bring back an implementation timeline that will see substantial aspects of the Vancouver Plan, including a plan for phasing of land use changes, implemented over the next four years; 
  • Staff to explore the application of the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy to single lot development in RS and RT zoning districts, including requirements to provide alternative accommodation at rates that do not exceed current rents, and report back to Council with implications for legal authority, staffing and budget implications, and impacts on permit processing times; 
  • Staff to report back on the implications and feasibility of applying the same tenant protections required in the Broadway Plan to renters and co-op residents, city-wide, with an estimated budget for implementation of these measures; 
  • Staff to report back on the feasibility of designating all residential areas so that non-profit housing can be built without going through the rezoning process, with options in the report back for implementation to allow social housing proposals through a DP process, that exceed current zoning provisions for height, with recommendations for maximum heights in specific areas with a commensurate increase in floor area; 
  • Staff to develop a new 3-year housing action plan with concrete policies and programs that prioritize how Vancouver, along with senior government and non-profit partners, can meet the housing needs of seniors, families, as well as actions towards more equitable housing options, with a priority on low income and homeless individuals, including a lobbying strategy to senior governments. The housing action plan will be coordinated with the Housing Targets Refresh work, with a report back in 2023; 
  • Staff to identify immediate actions to advance land use changes in neighbourhoods with declining populations to advance Vancouver Plan objectives. 

The Council discussion, and full staff report can be viewed on the City’s webpage here

 

2023 Fee Increases for Rezoning, Development, Building and Other Related Permits 

At Council on July 19th, a report went to Council where the proposed 2023 Fee Increases for Rezoning, Development, Building, and Other Related Permits were approved in principle. 

This an annual report addresses Council’s policy that any fees or other charges be set based on recovering the cost of providing the associated services. The recommendation is to increase fees by 5% in 2023, and to utilize reserve funds to balance the 2023 program budget. The fee increase is attributed to inflationary pressures. Approval of this report means that Legal Services will now draft amendments to the various by-laws and bring them forward for enactment, generally in accordance with the schedules attached in the report. The proposed fees would be effective January 1st, 2023. 

 

Regulation Redesign Draft Updated Zoning and Development Bylaw 

As noted in previous newsletters, the Draft Updated Zoning and Development Bylaw went to Public Hearing on July 5th. Council has approved, in principle, the application to amend the Zoning and Development Bylaw to reformat it, apply new use terms, and consolidate and improve the consistency of regulations.  

With an effective date of November 14th, the updated Bylaw contains tables, diagrams, re-organized sections, hyperlinks, and accessibility features replacing the existing text-based format. The simplified and more consistent regulations will be easier to understand and apply, which will help to streamline permit review. 

The City will be hosting online training workshops in the fall. Sign up for updates or learn more by visiting Shape Your City


 

July 12, 2022

Encouraging EV Charging at Gas Stations and Parking Lots 

A Referral Report went to Public Hearing on May 19th on EV charging requirements for parking lots. It recommended amending the Zoning and Development By-law and the License By-law to: 

  • Include new definitions for gas stations and parking uses to permit EV charging; 
  • New business license categories for gas stations and commercial parking lots that provide enough EV charging to meet minimum standards; and,  
  • Icrease annual business license fees for gas stations and parking lots that do not provide enough EV charging to meet the minimum standards set out by the City of Vancouver. 

City staff have been directed to report back to Council in Q2 2026 on the implementation of the new business license categories for gas stations and commercial parking lots, including opportunities and challenges that have arisen from the implementation. 

The requirements for parking lots include commercial, publicly accessible parking lots and garages that have 60 or more stalls. These lots are often operated by private companies, for example EasyPark, WestPark, Impark, etc. These are businesses that require a business license to operate as a parking lot.  

A free public parking lot or garage at a grocery store would not need a business license to operate the parking lot, so they would be out of scope for the policy. Similarly, a section of a parking area that is gated off for private/residential use would be out of scope, even if it is connected to a public parking garage. 

The full report can be read here

 

2023-2026 Capital Plan Approval 

On June 29th, Council approved the 2023-2026 Capital Plan, which outlines $3.5 billion of capital investment in infrastructure and amenities. The 2023-2026 plan dedicates significant investments to renew aging amenities and infrastructure, in addition to supporting population and employment growth with new/expanded amenities and infrastructure, including housing and community facilities. It also increases investments to advance climate mitigation and adaptation work, and sets aside funding to leverage senior government partnerships. 
 
The $3.5 billion capital investment is comprised of $0.7 billion in Council-approved, in-kind infrastructure and amenities to be delivered through development, and $2.8 billion in capital programs/projects to be delivered by the City and/or its community partners. The largest allocation of $874 million is set aside for water, sewers and drainage, followed by $617 million for housing and $468 million for streets. Community facilities have also been allocated $391 million. 

Highlights: 

  • Investment priorities focused on climate mitigation and adaptation, pursuing opportunities for additional investments to support the Climate Emergency Action Plan, with priority given to projects that can leverage additional partner contributions and projects with the highest mitigation impacts; 
  • Significant increase in renewal funding to address aging infrastructure, including renewing the Vancouver Aquatic Centre in the West End and RayCam Community Centre in Strathcona; 
  • Investment in water, sewer and streets infrastructure, including $75 million for critical maintenance work on the Granville and Cambie bridges; 
  • $617 million allocated for housing, including approx. 725 units of in-kind housing, land acquisitions, grants to partners, SRO programs and shelters; 
  • New/expanded amenities and infrastructure to support growth, including a new community centre in East Fraser Lands and the first phase of a new park in Southeast False Creek; 
  • $105 million for public safety, including replacement of Fire Hall #8 in Downtown South and replacement of the City’s animal shelter; 
  • Addition of $3 million for new, renewed and expanded outdoor sport field facilities in parks, with overall funding increasing to $6.85 million from $3.85 million;  
  • Addition of $3 million for the Gastown/Water Street project, with overall funding increasing to $10 million from $7 million, to advance additional targeted sidewalk repairs and projects to enhance the public realm in Gastown, including visibility of Host Nations; 
  • Prudent financial strategy based on capital reserves (30%), pay-as-you-go (29%), debt financing (21%), and in-kind contributions (20%). 

Learn more about the 2023-2026 Capital Plan at: https://shapeyourcity.ca/capital-plan


 

June 28, 2022

Broadway Plan Passed with Amendments 

On June 22, Vancouver City Council approved the Broadway Plan with 27 amendments. The Council approval process began several weeks ago on May 18, and included over 200 scheduled speakers. 

City staff will now incorporate the applicable amendments into the final Plan and publish it over the summer. Council also included an effective date of September 1, 2022 in their approval of the Plan, which will be the point at which applications or enquires can begin to be submitted.  

Several of the approved amendments direct staff to report back to Council on various topics, and UDI will be working with staff on this work and the implementation of the Plan.

 

2022 Development Cost Levies Update 

As noted in previous newsletters, on June 22nd, Council approved proposed amendments to the 2022 DCL update. The full DCL report can be accessed here. Correspondence received from UDI was included in the report appendices.  

The rate changes have not changed since they were presented to the Liaison Committee in May. However, in response to feedback from the industry, and on advice from City management and Coriolis Consulting, staff revised the recommended increases to DCL rates. For all DCL rate categories, a DCL rate phase-in will allow new development time to adjust to the new DCL rates (this is in addition to the 12 months of in-stream rate protection that the City already offers new development). The DCL rate increase will be phased-in with 50% of the rate increase to be effective September 30, 2022 and with the remaining 50% rate increase to be effective September 30, 2023.   

The starting rent requirements for the DCL waiver will be updated and take effect September 30, 2022. In-stream projects may be able to take advantage of these new rates, but it would depend where the project is currently in the review/approvals process. The updates mean that projects securing at least 20% of the residential floor area as below-market rental units with rents that are at least 10% below the CMHC average market rents for all units, city-wide would meet the DCL By-law starting rent requirements. For 2022 this equates to maximum starting rents of: 

  • Studio – $1,211 
  • 1 BR – $1,368 
  • 2 BR – $1,894 
  • 3 BR – $2,579 

The update also allows for the rates to be adjusted by the RTA annual allowable rent increase percentage for each full year between approval (rezoning approval in-principle or prior-to development permit issuance for projects not requiring rezoning) and occupancy. To note, many of the City’s policies will require a deeper level of affordability that the max. starting rents that qualify for the DCL waiver. 


 

June 14, 2022

Draft Updated Zoning and Development Bylaw 

As noted in previous newsletters, UDI has been working with the City staff and other stakeholders on the Regulation Redesign Project “… to improve development permit processing by reducing the complexity of the regulatory framework.”  A key component of this work is to update and reformat the Zoning & Development By-law “… to improve navigation and accessibility and to clarify and consolidate land use regulations.” 

On June 7, 2022 Council referred a staff report with the updated draft Zoning & Development By-law to a Public Hearing on July 5, 2022. Please note that the By-law update does not include any substantive regulatory amendments, as the key tasks were to improve the clarity of the document and better align the district-specific guidelines and policies as well as simplify wording and consolidate regulations.   

The City has developed a webpage regarding the draft Zoning & Development By-law that includes: 

If you have any questions regarding the draft By-law or the Regulation Redesign Project, please contact the City at regredesign@vancouver.ca.  

 

Development Application and Permitting Modernization Task Force Update 

On June 7, Vancouver City Council approved the recommendations of the Development Application and Permitting Modernization Task Force in its bi-monthly report as well as direct staff to explore the adoption of guaranteed permit approval timelines. 

The Task Force’s recommendations include: 

  • Continuing to not enforce specific design guidelines requiring detailed design and landscape guideline reviews for one and two family dwellings in certain zones; 
  • Over the next two years, explore possible Zoning and Development Bylaw changes to make these changes permanent;    
  • Continuing to not enforce certain sections of the Tree Protection Bylaw requiring an Arborist report for certain low risk applications; 
  • Restoring the permit requirement for trees greater than 20cm in diameter, where the minimum size had previously been 30cm. 

In addition to these recommendations, Council endorsed an amendment to the report directing the Task Force to review and report back to Council on guaranteed permitting timelines, including automatic approval or fee waiver programs. 

 

Empty Homes Tax Amendment 

At Council on June 7th, a Bylaw to amend the Empty Homes Tax (EHT) regarding an increase to the tax rate following the Standing Committee on City Finance and Services Meeting on April 27, 2022, was passed. This results in implementation of an increase from three percent to five percent for the 2023 vacancy tax reference year.  

 

Building Bylaw Amendment Regarding Carbon Emissions, Air Filtration, and Embodied Carbon Limits 

At Council on June 7th, a Bylaw amendment to implement Council’s resolution of May 17, 2022 regarding reductions in the carbon emissions limit for new 4-6 storey residential buildings, requirement for air filtration, and reporting and initial limit of embodied carbon in new Part 3 buildings, was passed. This will all come into force and effect on July 1, 2023. The Bylaw as amended can be read in detail here on page 6

 

2022 Annual Inflationary Increase Reports for CACs and Density Bonus 

At Council on June 7th, the 2022 Annual Inflationary Increase Reports on Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) Targets and Density Bonus (DB) Contributions were adopted on consent.  

The adjusted CAC target rates and DB contributions will be effective September 30th, 2022. Council has directed staff to update CAC targets and recalibrate DB rates, supported by economic testing, and report back on an implementation plan in Q4 2022. 

Amongst the CAC targets, the magnitude of the 8.8% rate increase ranges from a low of $0.26/ft2 to a high of $9.91/ft2. The 2022 adjustments can be referenced in the table below: 

For CAC target increases, the City provides in-stream rate protection for rezoning applications that have been submitted prior to a rate change, provided that a rezoning application has been submitted in a form satisfactory to the City and a rezoning application fee has been paid. There is no timeline requirement for rezoning applications before in-stream rate protection expires. The full report can be read here for more information.  

Amongst the DB rates, the magnitude of the 8.8% rate increase ranges from a low of $0.30/ft2 to a high of $10.62/ft2. The 2022 adjustments can be referenced in the table below: 

For DB contribution increases, the City provides in-stream rate protection for building permit applications that have been submitted prior to a rate change, provided that a building permit application has been submitted in a form satisfactory to the City and an associated application fee has been paid. There is no timeline requirement for applications to reach building permit issuance before in-stream rate protection expires. The full report can be read here for more information. 


 

May 31, 2022

Approved with Amendments: Climate Emergency By-law and Policy Updates Applicable to New Buildings 

On May 17th, Vancouver City Council approved the Climate Emergency By-law and Policy Updates Applicable to New Buildings with amendments. Two of the approved recommendations from the report include: 

  • Reductions in the carbon emissions limit for new 4-6 storey residential buildings; requirement for air filtration, and reporting and initial limit of embodied carbon in new Part 3 buildings, all to come into force and effect on July 1, 2023; and 
  • Reductions in energy and carbon emissions limits for new residential and commercial buildings, embodied carbon reductions requirements and a cooling requirement for all dwelling units in new Part 3 buildings, beginning in January 2025; 

Council has directed City staff to further review the proposed changes in Appendix B of the report, and bring forward final recommendations to Council, including a proposed by-law for consideration by Council in order to implement the proposed changes, by Q1 2024. 

The minutes for this meeting including all approved recommendations with amendments can be found here

 

Commercial Tenant Assistance Policy Guides 

As part of ongoing Employment Lands and Economy Review (ELER) implementation, City of Vancouver staff have developed a series of resource guides as part of a new Commercial Tenant Assistance Program (CTAP) website to support commercial tenants with real estate decision making and relocation planning, now available at www.vancouver.ca/CTAP.  

The CTAP website includes six resource guides developed with industry experts, and is available at www.vancouver.ca/CTAP. The guides focus on the following areas: 

  • Commercial Tenant Basics 
  • Commercial Lease Negotiation 
  • Relocation and finding a new space 
  • Redevelopment Process: Timeline and Process 
  • Navigating City Processes 
  • Support, Resources, Glossary 

 

May 17, 2022

Broadway Area Plan 

On May 10th, the City of Vancouver released its final draft of the Broadway Area Plan, which charts the path for growth in the corridor over the next 30 years. The Plan contains the land-uses, heights and densities along the corridor, as well as infrastructure plans, amenities and the most robust tenant protections in the City of Vancouver. This version represents the culmination of a planning process that has been underway for several years and contains several changes from previous drafts. We encourage UDI members to review the draft Plan, on which UDI will be providing comments and direction to the City Council on. 

The final draft Plan will be presented to Council on May 18th. It is expected that debate and decision may take place at a subsequent meeting to allow Council to hear from speakers. If you would like to sign-up to speak to Council, either in-person or by phone, please follow the link below.  

Request to Speak 

If you have any comments or questions regarding the Plan, please contact Heather Park

 

2022 Development Cost Levy Update 

As follow up to a small session with the development industry on May 5th, the City has provided the following additional requested information related to the 2022 Development Cost Levy (DCL) Update: 

A link to the May 5th development industry session presentation can also be found here

The City provided notification that this year’s inflationary index has calculated an +8.8% adjustment to all CAC Targets and Density Bonus Contributions. Since the City is currently working on a comprehensive update to its DCLs, this year’s inflationary adjustment will not apply to DCLs. Further information can be referred to in the 2021 Annual Reports released on April 25th on DCLs, CACs, and Density Bonus Zoning Contributions linked in the UDI newsletter here

As a reminder, the 2022 DCL Update is going to Council on June 22, 2022. UDI will be writing a letter to City staff providing feedback on the proposed changes.  

 

Climate Emergency Response – By-law and Policy Updates Applicable to New Buildings 

As part of its climate emergency response, Council will be reviewing three reports on May 17. Two of them will impact UDI members – especially the one regarding By-law and Policy Updates Applicable to New Buildings, which has been noted in previous newsletters. It includes several Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction (for both operating emissions and embodied carbon), and climate resiliency measures – primarily for Part 3 buildings.  

Most of the requirements will be incorporated into the Vancouver Building By-law (VBBL). Some measures will take effect on July 1, 2023, and the rest will be implemented on January 1, 2025. Staff will be reporting back on the latter measures in Q1 2024 to address any issues that arise and/or stakeholder concerns. The critical changes include: 

  • Zero emissions hot water heating for 4 to 6 storey residential buildings (2023) and high-rises/commercial (2025); 
  • A 50% reduction in operating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2023 and an 85% reduction in 2025 for new industrial buildings; 
  • Filtered air (2023) and air-conditioning (2025) requirements; 
  • Mandated embodied carbon reporting (comparing to a standardized baseline) in 2023, and all new Part 3 buildings must be designed/constructed to achieve an embodied carbon performance of not more double the baseline; and 
  • A 20% reduction in embodied carbon for Part 3 1-6 storey buildings that could be built with combustible materials, and a 10% reduction in embodied carbon for all other Part 3 buildings in 2025. There is also a requirement for one responsible materials option (i.e., sustainable wood; material transparency; or C&D waste diversion), although this requirement can be skipped if projects achieve 40% and 20% reductions in embodied carbon, respectively. 

The Green Policy for Rezoning will also be amended, so it “… has only two requirements: 

preliminary design reports, and the current rainwater management requirement.” However, staff will be reporting back to Council in Q1 2023 regarding whether some of the elements (i.e., low-VOC materials, commissioning, etc.) being removed from the Policy should be incorporated in the VBBL

For more background and context to the proposed changes, please read this letter from the City which provides a brief summary of what was heard throughout the consultation process, and how the City plans to address feedback and next steps. 

UDI participated in the consultation process and provided comments to staff on April 11, 2022. UDI will continue to be involved if the measures are adopted by Council, including the development of the Embodied Carbon Guidelines (to be released by the end of the year) as well as the reports to Council in 2023 and 2024.  

  

Annual Carbon Pollution Limits for Existing Large Commercial and Multifamily Buildings Report 

The other Climate Emergency Response report is regarding Annual Carbon Pollution Limits for Existing Large Commercial and Multifamily Buildings. The City has a goal under its Climate Emergency Action Plan “… to cut emissions from all buildings 50% by 2030 and by 100% before 2050.” For existing buildings, its focus will initially be on large (more than 100,000 ft2) commercial and retail buildings. By 2024, there will be energy/carbon reporting requirements for these buildings, and by 2026 there will be GHG Intensity and Heat Energy Limits that will be imposed by the City. These requirements will expand to other building types as outlined under the Initial Regulation Timeline: 

There will also be supports for building owners to achieve the City’s targets and institute voluntary improvements. Staff also recommend the current energy upgrade requirements in Part 11 of the VBBL be repealed (except for one/two family homes) to streamline the renovation process.  

Even if these steps are taken “… additional measures will be necessary to meet the 2030 and 2050 GHG reduction targets,” of the City. As such, staff have developed a Regulatory Roadmap (see below) that will be further researched and discussed with industry. They also note “The proposed City limits are aligned with the proposed regulations by Metro Vancouver and the Province.”  

Please note there is also a Climate Emergency Response Report on By-law Updates Applicable to Existing Detached Homes to reduce GHGs.  


 

May 3, 2022

Vancouver Housing Progress and Needs Report 

On April 27, City Staff brought forward to Council Vancouver’s first Housing Progress and Needs Report. The report provides and update the City’s housing approvals and the proportion or rental to market condo as well as options to adjust the City’s 10-year housing targets. Staff will be engaging with stakeholders and the public on these options following the endorsement of the report. Below are a few highlights: 

  • 2021 housing approvals: In 2021, Vancouver approved a total of 8,800 new multi-family units, including 1,344 units of social and supportive housing and 2,956 units of purpose-built rental. 
  • Housing Needs Report: Vancouver’s first provincially-mandated Housing Needs Report identifies significant existing housing need and future housing demand across a broad range of incomes and household types in Vancouver. The report is largely based on 2016 Census data, and will be updated next year as new 2021 Census data is released over the course of 2022. The report does identify significant housing need in the city, with approximately 86,000 existing households in need, and potential future demand from 50,000 additional households. 
  • Updating Housing Vancouver 10-year targets: The report to Council includes three concepts for new 10-year targets based on Council direction and Staff analysis; these concepts will be the basis for consultation and further analysis in the fall following the release of updated Census data. The concepts include: 
  • Concept 1: Targets based on past development in order to stay in line with past population and household growth trends. This concept responds to a 2020 Council motion asking Staff to recalibrate existing policies based on data on past development and demographic trends. 
  • Concept 2: Targets aimed at serving existing needs identified in the Housing Needs Report. This concept responds to a 2019 Council motion asking staff to adjust targets based on the income distribution of existing renters.  
  • Concept 3: Constrained needs-based targets aimed at continuing to shift development in the City toward rental, non-market, and more diverse ground-oriented housing options to meet diverse needs identified in Vancouver’s Housing Needs Report. 

There were two amendments to the staff recommendations which included: 

  • Direction from Council to City staff to consider expanding the expedited process in the Social Housing or Rental Tenure (SHORT) program to affordable rental housing that is not classified as social housing, and report back with an update in 2023; 
  • Direction from Council to City staff to report back as soon as possible with a plan including budget, timeline, and options, including asks to partners and what they can contribute, that could actually meet the housing and affordability means of 36,000 Vancouver households in housing need. 

The recommendations were unanimously approved, as amended. UDI will work with City staff during the engagement period to provide input on the three options proposed. 

 

2021 Annual Report on Development Cost Levies 

On April 25th, the City released a memorandum on the 2021 Annual Report on Development Cost Levies (DCLs). It includes the amount of DCLs received, the expenditures from the DCL reserve funds, the balance of DCLs at the start and end of the applicable year, and any waivers and reductions granted by Council. Notably, in 2021 the total DCLs collected was $75 million which was a sizeable decrease from the $115 million collected in 2020. This was primarily due to lower overall floor area approved across all DCL districts, and a higher number of waivers of both City-Wide and Utilities DCLs for secured market rental and rental developments under the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP). The Utilities DCL waiver for rental projects expired in September 2021. The next update will be presented to Council in June. 

Also accompanying this memo is a companion memo on the 2021 Annual Report on Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) and Density Bonus Zoning Contributions. The City collected a total of $47 million ($38 million from cash-in-lieu CACs and $9 million from density bonus contributions) in 2021. This was an increase from what was collected in 2020, making 2021 the highest year of collections on record for density bonus contributions. The City also approved 75 rezoning/bonusing projects resulting in 5.0 million ft2 of net additional floor area that secured $299 million to be delivered as cash or in-kind benefits in future years. 

If you have any questions, please email Heather Park at hpark@udi.org.  

 

Regulation Redesign Update 

There is an upcoming engagement opportunity from April 22nd to May 6th on the City’s Regulation Redesign: Modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law. Share your thoughts online via Shape Your City. More information on providing input can also be found in the engagement flyer provided by the City, and presentation slides from the UDI session with City staff on April 28th. 

Regulation Redesign is modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law to make it easier to use and easier to find and understand the regulations. The modifications involve improvements to the format, organization, and wording. The amendments will not affect what people can build or renovate on their property.  

Some features you will see in the proposed By-law format include:  

  • New tables and illustrations to help communicate building form and placement regulations (building height, yards, setbacks) for each zoning district;  
  • Enhanced document navigation and accessibility;  
  • Removal of regulations which are outdated and no longer apply;  
  • Clarification of rules to improve alignment between district schedule regulations and guidelines;  
  • Reorganized similar sections together and updated writing standards.  

Check Vancouver.ca/RegRedesign for updates and to sign up for project notifications. 

 

Feedback on Accessible Parking Bylaw Updates 

The City is considering changes to the Parking Bylaw to improve the off-street parking experience for people with disabilities. The proposed changes will be considered by Council as part of the Accessibility Strategy, which is proposed to be brought forward in July. Please refer to the attached memo outlining the proposed changes, and send any feedback you have to Heather Park at hpark@udi.org by end of day May 13th so UDI can submit coordinated comments back to the City. 

 

Tax Updates 

Empty Homes Tax (EHT) 

At Council on April 26th, the Mayor brought forward a Motion proposing that the Empty Homes Tax (EHT) be increased from 3% to 5%, and to double the number of audits from the current rate of 9,000 to 20,000 for the 2023 vacancy tax reference year, with City staff reporting back to Council in Q1 2023 on a number of items. The full Motion proposed can be read here

After the Motion was referred to the Standing Committee Meeting on City Finance and Services on April 27th, it ultimately was passed with the following amendments:  

  • Directing City staff to report back to Council in Q1 of 2023 regarding a) how the EHT might be used to reduce the large number of short-term rental properties b) how EHT exemptions might be altered to improve fairness to that those with legitimate reasons for vacancy, and/or a second property, are not penalized and c) what additional measures the City may need to counteract the EHT avoidance; 
  • Addition to Article A requiring notification of the EHT increase from 3% to 5% for the 2023 vacancy tax reference year be included in the upcoming tax notices being sent out in May 2022; 
  • Additional to Article B that the cost of hiring additional staff to administrate the increased audits be fully cost recovered from the vacancy tax revenues; 
  • Directing City staff to improve the EHT web portal with the end user in mind to ensure clear information for property owners about the EHT, how to navigate the reporting and appeal processes, and how to report empty homes AND direct staff to explore and report back on how to improve communication to property owners about EHT deadlines to they are not unduly penalized; 
  • Addition to Article C directing City staff to report back in early Q4 2022 regarding a cost benefit analysis of double the number of audits, how increasing the rate to 5% or 10% might further increase rental stock, and how increasing the rate to 5% or 10% might significantly increase the risk of tax evasion and unintended consequences; 
  • Directing City staff to bring forward more information for Council to consider related to the possibility and impacts of exempting land owned by MST. 

Empty Stores Tax (EST) 

During the Council meeting on April 26th, the Mayor suggested the creation of an EST during discussion on the distribution of the property tax. After a 7-2 vote, Council has directed the Mayor to ask the provincial government to explore a tax for empty commercial properties, in order to introduce legislation to change the Vancouver Charter. This was another amendment tacked onto the amendment asking the Mayor write to the Ministry of Finance to strongly convey Council’s support for the importance of implementing Split Assessment through a Commercial sub-class, consistent with the May 2019 recommendation from the Intergovernmental Working Group submitted to the Province. 

UDI will continue to monitor both tax items as more information becomes available through reports back from City staff. 


 

April 20, 2022

Vancouver Plan Survey 

The City of Vancouver has just released the draft Vancouver Plan – a long-range strategy to create a more livable, affordable, and sustainable city. The draft Plan proposes a new way for the City to grow, and advances a land-use strategy based on three Big Ideas: 

  1. Equitable Housing and Complete Neighbourhoods
  2. An Economy that Works for All
  3. Climate Protection and Restored Ecosystems 

There are further policy chapters on a number of important topics: housing, transportation, public space, community facilities, arts and culture, social amenities, and more. 

The City is looking for feedback on the Plan until April 24, 2022. We encourage you to take a look at the draft Plan materials, and share your thoughts. 

Input from UDI’s session with City staff on April 7th, and the survey, will be shared with Council along with the Plan in June of this year as part of the City’s reporting on the Phase 4 engagement process. 

 

Regulation Redesign Update 

There is an upcoming engagement opportunity from April 22nd to May 6th on the City’s Regulation Redesign: Modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law. Share your thoughts online via Shape Your City. 

Regulation Redesign is modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law to make it easier to use and easier to find and understand the regulations. The modifications involve improvements to the format, organization, and wording. The amendments will not affect what people can build or renovate on their property. 

Some features you will see in the proposed By-law format include: 

  • New tables and illustrations to help communicate building form and placement regulations (building height, yards, setbacks) for each zoning district; 
  • Enhanced document navigation and accessibility; 
  • Removal of regulations which are outdated and no longer apply; 
  • Clarification of rules to improve alignment between district schedule regulations and guidelines; 
  • Reorganized similar sections together and updated writing standards. 

Check Vancouver.ca/RegRedesign for updates and to sign up for project notifications. 

 

UDI Letter – Proposed Embodied Carbon Strategy 

On Monday, April 11th, UDI submitted a letter to the City of Vancouver in response to the Climate Emergency New Building Updates to the Vancouver Building By-law, the Green Building Policy for Rezonings and supporting documents.  

UDI is pleased that Council will be asked to approve the 2025 Embodied Carbon Strategy (ECS) regulations in principle, so staff can report back on them in 2024. This will allow amendments to be made if they are needed, after the testing and policy evaluation of the new Strategy is complete. However, there are still concerns about the capacity of the industry to achieve the 2025 requirements – because many of our members are still adjusting to the increasing operational energy and carbon intensity targets Vancouver has mandated. In addition to this, UDI made comments on the impacts on the development review process, the issues around identifying a baseline for reductions, and how decreasing the amount of parking in a project is a key pathway to reducing embodied carbon.  

To read the full letter please visit the link here.  

City staff will be presenting the Climate Emergency New Buildings Update to City Council on May 18th, 2022. UDI will continue to monitor these updates and notify our members as the policy moves forward. 

If you have questions about the Climate Emergency New Building Updates please email Lily at lshieldsanderson@udi.org.  


 

April 5, 2022

UPDATED: Broadway Plan  

As part of the Draft Broadway Area Plan consultation, UDI submitted a letter to the City with several recommended changes, including addressing the following areas; 

  • Viability of rental housing; 
  • Built-form guidelines; 
  • View cones and shadowing; 
  • High Performance Buildings; and  
  • Density around station areas. 

This latest round of consultation concluded on March 22, and City staff will now finalize the Draft Plan before presenting it to Council on May 18th. 

 

Update on Mayor’s Permitting Task Force 

A year ago, Council invested $1 million in “… an Internal Development Application and Permitting Modernization Task Force to be headed by the City Manager,” to modernize Vancouver’s development application, permitting and licensing processes. Staff have provided another update on their progress.   

With regard to business licensing, the City will be launching this Spring “… a dedicated fast-track online enquiry and application page … to support eligible businesses seeking a change-in-use or occupancy.” There have been a number of improvements for single-family and duplex builders, including: 

  • Clearing the intake backlog of more than 500 applications; 
  • Staff review times per application have “… been reduced by approximately 75% …resulting in a 300% increase in applications processed;” 
  • The timeframe for staff to contact applicants after submissions has been reduced from 15-16 weeks to 2-3 business days;  
  • Initial plan review now occurs at application intake: two weeks faster;” 
  • The initial review of laneway applications is three months faster; and 
  • The “Direct to inspections process is now is issuing permits in as little as two weeks for simple renovations: seven weeks faster.” 

For the complete list of changes to improve the permitting/licensing processes, please visit the Task Force’s webpage
 

Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Planning 

On March 29th, Council approved the Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Planning – Terms of Reference and Interim Rezoning Policies. Vancouver will be embarking on “… detailed area planning around the Rupert and Renfrew SkyTrain stations …”. The Study Area Boundary is detailed in the graphic below; please note: “… due to limited sewer capacity and other considerations, significant changes to land use are only anticipated to be considered within the boundaries [also noted in the graphic below] of the Still Creek watershed.”  

The Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Plan “… will be the first area plan to be strongly shaped and guided by the land use policies that will be included in Vancouver Plan. ” This “… will result in … time efficiencies in preparing the plan …,” because “The goals, policies and high-level land use directions for the city … in the Vancouver Plan will allow staff and community attention to be focused on how higher level city-wide objectives and land use policies are implemented in the Rupert and Renfrew Station Area.” 

A key issue during the planning process will be the floodplain and the proximity of Still Creek, so there will be “… watershed-specific policies and measures to improve creek health and manage flood risk ….” There will also be “… interim flood management requirements while the planning process is underway …,” and a suspension of rezonings in the Still Creek floodplain under the Interim Rezoning Policy.  

The City also wants to protect employment lands, so the “… planning process will generally not support residential uses immediately adjacent to the rapid transit stations.” Staff argue that there are 200 Ha of residential land a short distance from the SkyTrain stations that can be redeveloped. They will also be exploring opportunities to deliver childcare in the area – including in the employment lands.  

Under the Interim Rezoning Policy, temporary limits are placed on rezonings, with the exception of: 

  • Active and recent applications; 
  • The BC Liquor Distribution and Skeena Terrace sites; 
  • “… housekeeping amendments and minor text amendments to existing CD-1s which are not related to height or density increases …;” 
  • 100% social/supportive housing, community care or group residences in residential areas; 
  • Applications for rental or social housing and mixed-use projects under the Secured Rental Policy,” in residential areas; 
  • Within the Mixed Employment and Industrial Lands … applications for developments where 100% of the floor area is for non-residential use may be considered under the Grandview Boundary Mixed Employment Area Plan and the Grandview Boundary Mixed Employment Area Rezoning and Development Policies and Guidelines …;” or  
  • Exceptional circumstances.  

The City has also amended its Development Contribution Expectations [DCEs] Policy in Areas Undergoing Community Planning, to include priorities/DCE Policies for the Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Plan, and DCE targets, which range from $130 ft2 in RT and RS zones to $160 ft2 in C zones. With regard to Community Amenity Contributions (CACs), they are “… removing the CAC exemption for the Grandview-Boundary Mixed Employment Area at this time and applying a negotiated CAC;” although CAC and Commercial Linkage targets will be reviewed.  

The timing and phases of the planning process are detailed below: 


 

March 22, 2022

Draft Broadway Area Plan Survey 

This is a reminder that there is an online survey available from March 1st to March 22nd to provide feedback on the Draft Broadway Area Plan. Detailed Draft Plan content can be reviewed by going through the information boards provided on the Shape Your City webpage, by scrolling down to “Read the detailed Draft Plan content”. 

More information can also be found in the presentation slides from an industry engagement session hosted by the City on March 14th.  

Following this final round of engagement, City staff will finalize the Draft Plan and then present it to Council for consideration at the Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities on May 18th. 

 

Public Engagement Quiet Period 

As the City approaches the municipal election in October 2022, City staff will be considering how public engagement is being scheduled. A “quiet period” is planned to start downscaling the City’s public-facing engagement activities in the lead up to the October 2022 election, taking a phased approach. The overarching goal is to maintain political impartiality within the public service in the lead up to the election. 

As we head into spring 2022, please expect that City project teams will start wrapping up engagement activities for policy and major project work. Staff reviews and processing of Rezoning and development projects will continue through the summer and fall, however, public open houses will not take place between July 31st and the municipal election.  Please reach out to your specific project coordinator with any questions. 

 

Draft Vancouver Plan Session 

On April 7th from 10am-11am, the City will be holding a session for UDI to present the Draft Vancouver Plan as part of engagement for Phase 4. This will include an overview of the draft land use plan, with associated policies being a particular focus. More details will be shared closer to the session date.  

If you are interested in attending, please email Heather Park at hpark@udi.org. 

 

Climate Emergency New Buildings Updates – Including Embodied Carbon Requirements

As noted in previous newsletters, Vancouver has an ongoing commitment to update the sustainability policies for new buildings. In addition, one of the “Big Moves” under the Climate Emergency Action Plan is developing an Embodied Carbon Strategy for new construction.

The City has released a public consultation letter detailing proposed changes for Part 3 buildings “… to the Vancouver Building By-law, the Green Building Policy for Rezoning, and the City of Vancouver’s Energy Modelling Guidelines …,” which will be “… presented to City Council for May 18th, 2022.” They are asking for comments on the proposals by April 8.

Most of the requirements will be incorporated in the Vancouver Building By-law (VBBL), and will take effect on either July 1, 2023 or January 1, 2025. In addition, the City is updating the climate files to be used in building modelling and is including GHGs emitted through refrigerants as part of their requirements that will come into effect in 2023. The other changes include:

  • Zero emissions hot water heating for 4 to 6 storey residential buildings (2023) and high-rises/commercial (2025);
  • A 50% reduction in operating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2023 and an 85% reduction in 2025 for new industrial buildings;
  • Filtered air (2023) and air-conditioning (2025) requirements;
  • Thermal Energy Demand Intensity (TEDI) targets reduced from 25 kWh/m2a to 15 kWh/m2a for buildings up to six storeys in 2025;
  • TEDI and Greenhouse Gas Intensity target adjustments for corridor pressure in the Vancouver Energy Modelling Guidelines (2023);
  • Mandated embodied carbon reporting (comparing to a standardized baseline) in 2023, and “All new Part 3 buildings must be designed and constructed to achieve embodied carbon performance not more than 100% greater (i.e. worse) than that of the baseline”; and
  • A 20% reduction in embodied carbon for Part 3 1-6 storey buildings that could be built with combustible materials, and a 10% reduction in embodied carbon for all other Part 3 buildings in 2025. There is also a requirement for one responsible materials option (i.e. sustainable wood; material transparency; or C&D waste diversion), although this requirement can be skipped if achieving 40% and 20% reductions in embodied carbon, respectively.

Because these are VBBL changes, grandfathering will only apply if a Building Permit application is submitted before the July 1, 2023 for the earlier requirements or January 1, 2025 for the later ones.

Vancouver staff will be hosting consultation sessions regarding the overall changes as well as a specific one on the embodied carbon requirements. They are as follows (please use the links to sign-up):

General session:

  • Wednesday March 23rd, 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Wednesday March 30th, 9:30 – 11:30 AM

Focus on Embodied Carbon:

  • Thursday March 31st, 9:30- 11:30 AM

The City is asking for comments on the proposals by April 8. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Charling Li or Lily Shields-Anderson.

 


 

March 8, 2022

Draft Broadway Area Plan 

The City has just begun its fourth and final phase of engagement on the Broadway Area Plan (BAP). The Draft Plan is now available for review, which provides greater details on land use (building heights, densities, uses and other policy considerations), built form guidelines, the draft public benefits strategy, and the area-wide policies that will shape growth. Input received in this final phase of engagement will help inform the final adjustments to the Draft Plan. 

Detailed Draft Plan content can be reviewed by going through the information boards provided on the Shape Your City webpage, by scrolling down to “Read the detailed Draft Plan content”. 

There is an online survey available from March 1st to March 22nd to provide feedback, in addition to some open house sessions (see below). The City will also be hosting an industry session where they will give an overview presentation of the Draft, followed by a question and answer period. The virtual session will take place on Monday, March 14th from 1pm-2pm. If you are interested in attending and have not yet reached out for an invite, please email Heather Park at hpark@udi.org.  

Open houses: 

  • March 2: Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House (800 East Broadway) from 4:30pm-7:30pm 
  • March 5: CityLab (510 West Broadway) from 10:30am-1:30pm 
  • March 7: Kitsilano Neighbourhood House (2305 West 7th Ave) from 4:30pm-7:30pm 

Following this final round of engagement, City staff will finalize the Draft Plan and then present it to Council for consideration at the Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities on May 18th. 

 

Employment Lands and Economy Review Update 

In October 2020, City Council received the Phase 2 Report of the Employment Lands and Economy Review (ELER) and directed staff to continue working with community stakeholders, the public and key partners, to refine and expand the directions through the Vancouver Plan process. 

Following ongoing community engagement work throughout 2021, Staff in PDS are now targeting to release the draft Vancouver Plan in spring 2022. The directions identified through the ELER have helped to shape and inform the draft Vancouver Plan. There is a particular emphasis on the importance of economic diversity, resilience and equity, as well as land use focused directions related to retail commercial area health and vibrancy, industrial intensification and ensuring capacity for offices and hotels in high demand areas. 

The ELER work has also resulted in several, quick start actions approved by Council in January 2021, that support jobs and economy in Vancouver. In June 2021, Council approved $500,000 in grant funding for Graffiti Abatement to Vancouver’s Business Improvement Associations. In September 2021, Council approved a pilot program to provide exemption from a development permit when changing between the following low risk uses in conditional zones: General Office, Retail, Health Care Office, Barber Shop or Beauty Salon, Beauty and Wellness Centre. In Spring 2022, Council will consider regulatory changes regarding self-storage facilities in industrial areas. 

The learnings from the ELER have also provided a foundation for exploring actions to help encourage intensification of Vancouver’s industrial areas. City Council received an update on this work in Fall 2021. 

 

Regulation Redesign – Building Height Technical Design Supplement 

As noted in previous newsletters, UDI participated on an External Group to advise the City on the Regulation Redesign Review, working with staff to simplify and clarify the City’s regulations and improve “… the user-friendliness of the Zoning and Development By-law.”  

Council approved amendments on July 6, 2021 to update and clarify land use regulations by introducing new definitions for height and decorative roof, amendments to the definition of base surface, and updates to section 10.18 height regulations to modernize wording, provide more flexibility for roof access and roof top amenity features, and to clarify decorative roof regulations. 

The City has released a new Building Height Technical Design Supplement bulletin, created for use by applicants and staff. This topic-specific bulletin is available on the zoning and land use document library, and aims to ensure a common understanding of the administrative practices related to building height regulations. 

 Highlights from the bulletin include:  

  • Types of grades and when they are used 
  • Where height is measured to 
  • How height is measured for unique site circumstances 
  • Interpolation 
  • Height variances 

 

Secured Rental Policy Update 

The City’s streamlined approvals process for new secured rental in eligible RS, RT, and C-2 zones came into effect on February 14th, 2022. 

These changes will speed up the delivery of new secured rental housing in local shopping areas and nearby low-density areas, and help create more complete, connected and walkable neighbourhoods in Vancouver. To read more about Council’s decision and review the finalized Secured Rental Policy, please visit vancouver.ca/rentalhousing

Rezoning to an RR District Schedule in Low Density Areas 

For details on the process to rezone an eligible RS or RT site to a rental district schedule (RR), please visit the City’s rezoning page. You can review the new Rezoning Guide which provides information on eligibility criteria, options contained in the new districts, and the rezoning pathways (to either an RR zoning district or CD-1 district). Inquiries and applications about process and site eligibility should be directed to rezoning@vancouver.ca 

Rental Development in the C-2 Districts 

For details on the process for development permit applications to build new secured rental in C-2, C-2B, C-2C, and C-2C1 zones outside of community plan areas, please visit the City’s development permit page. The updated C-2 bylaws, guidelines for residential rental tenure buildings, and rental housing bulletins are available on the City’s Zoning and land use development library webpage. Contact Development and Building Services with questions regarding C-2 rental development applications. 

In-stream Applicants 

Depending on status and timing, previously in-stream applications may be grandfathered under previous policy. It may also be possible to withdraw and proceed with a new application under the updated policy. If you have questions about an in-stream rezoning or development permit application, please contact your Rezoning Planner or Project Coordinator, as applicable. 

For general questions regarding the Secured Rental Policy and zoning changes, please contact housingpolicy@vancouver.ca

 

Proposed Vancouver Building Bylaw Changes 

The City of Vancouver invites industry members to consult on the proposed set of changes to building code and rezoning policy aimed at addressing carbon emissions, embodied carbon and resilience of Part 3 large new buildings. There are 5 opportunities in March to provide feedback. Three of the 5 consultation sessions will discuss the general set of changes; two of the 5 sessions will discuss the overall changes but with a special focus on embodied carbon. Please feel free to attend one or both sessions.  

Register to hear about the general set of changes here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/consultation-on-climate-emergency-new-building-updates-general-registration-291580584377  

Register to learn about changes related to embodied carbon here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/consultation-on-climate-emergency-new-building-updates-embodied-carbon-registration-292826841967 


 

February 23, 2022

Broadway Plan Phase 3 Engagement Summary & Draft Session 

On February 8th, the City shared its Phase 3 Engagement Summary for the Broadway Area Plan (BAP). It summarizes key feedback that emerged during the recent public consultation held from November 4th to December 3rd, 2021. The intention of this phase of engagement was to take a deeper dive with more detailed policy directions for land use and select topics for the plan. “3D” built form and public realm elements were introduced to show what the Character Areas and new development could look like in the future. All input summarized in the report will help inform the draft plan. 

UDI sent a letter to the City following the consultation period, which included industry feedback on the Refined Directions phase. An update from City staff on the BAP will also be discussed at the upcoming UDI Vancouver Liaison Committee meeting on February 22nd.  

The City will be hosting an industry update meeting where City staff will give an overview presentation of the Draft Broadway Plan, followed by a question and answer session. The virtual meeting will take place on Monday, March 14th from 1pm-2pm. If you are interested in attending this session, please email Heather Park at hpark@udi.org. City staff will then analyze the engagement results based on feedback received and will create the finalized Draft Plan to be presented to Council in May 2022. 

 

Employment Lands and Economy Review 

The City has provided UDI with a brief update on the Employment Lands and Economy Review (ELER). In October 2020, City Council received the Phase 2 Report of the ELER and directed staff to continue working with community stakeholders, the public and key partners to refine and expand the directions through the Vancouver Plan process. 

Following ongoing community engagement work throughout 2021, Staff in PDS are now targeting to release the draft Vancouver Plan in spring 2022. The directions identified through the ELER have helped to shape and inform the draft Vancouver plan. There is a particular emphasis on the importance of economic diversity, resilience and equity as well as land use focused directions related to retail commercial area health and vibrancy, industrial intensification and ensuring capacity for offices and hotels in high demand areas. 

The ELER work has also resulted in several, quick start actions that support jobs and economy in Vancouver: 

  • Council approved four quick start actions in January 2021; 
  • In June 2021, Council approved $500,000 in grant funding for Graffiti Abatement to Vancouver’s Business Improvement Associations; 
  • In September 2021 Council approved a pilot program to provide exemption from a development permit when changing between the following low risk uses in conditional zones: General Office, Retail, Health Care Office, Barber Shop or Beauty Salon, Beauty and Wellness Centre; 
  • In Spring, 2022, Council will consider regulatory changes regarding self-storage facilities in industrial areas. 

The learnings from the Employment Lands and Economy Review have also provided a foundation for exploring actions to help encourage intensification of Vancouver’s industrial areas. City Council received an update on this work in Fall 2021. 


 

February 8, 2022

Making Home Motion Approved by Council 

On January 27th, the Standing Committee of Council on Policy and Strategic Priorities approved the Motion put forward by Mayor Stewart entitled Making HOME: Housing for All of Us, with amendments. The final Motion directs staff to begin work on a policy to target up to 2000 single-detached or duplex zoned sites within the City to enable up to six homes on each through a rezoning. This would exclude areas covered under the Secured Rental Policy and would likely require contributions to the City for housing affordability or ensuring that a portion of the units are reserved for single households earning up to $50,000 annually or families earning up to $80,000.  

The final motion is available here.  


 

January 11, 2022

Streamlining Rental/Secured Rental Policy Passed 

On December 14th, Vancouver City Council approved the Secured Rental Policy (SRP) and changes to C-2 zones to enable up to six storeys for rental housing through the Streamlining Rental Around Local Shopping Areas proposal. UDI is supportive of this policy as it will promote the development of purpose-built rental in Vancouver, targeting local and regional housing goals. It will also allow rental to be built in transit-oriented neighbourhoods close to local shops and amenities, promoting the development of complete communities.   

Information on the decision and previous public hearing meetings can be found on the City’s website here


 

December 14, 2021

DCL Update now underway 

The City of Vancouver has retained Hemson Consulting and Coriolis Consulting to conduct a DCL update which will be done in two phases. The final recommended changes are scheduled to be presented to Council in June 2022. Potential changes could take effect September 30, 2022, recognizing that there would be 1 year of instream rate protection built into the system. All DCL districts will be reviewed as part of this update as well as DCL waivers. 

UDI will be participating in consultation in the new year, but staff has provided an initial timeline for the project: 

Phase 1 (August to December 2021) 

  • Background research, including jurisdictional scan of DCL Policy 
  • 10-year growth projection 
  • Stakeholder notification 

Phase 2 (January to June 2022) 

  • Identify capital costs for growth-related amenities 
  • Determine draft calculated DCL rates and conduct economic testing 
  • DCL policy and rate recommendations 
  • Stakeholder consultation 
  • DCL background study and draft By-law 

Additional information is available at https://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/development-cost-levies.aspx . 

 

Broadway Plan Phase 3: Refined Directions  

On December 1, the City of Vancouver held an industry workshop on the Refined Directions for the Broadway Plan, and a subsequent discussion session with UDI members the following week. UDI will continue to engage with the City on the Plan and will be submitting formal feedback. If you have any questions or comments on the Refined Directions, please contact Heather Park

 

Marine Landing Review Update 

In September 2021, the City sought feedback on the draft version of the Marine Landing Policy Updates. This work is the outcome of an area planning analysis completed in response to new Council directions for increasing delivery of affordable housing and intensification of job space in Marine Landing.  

The Marine Landing Policy Updates have now been finalized and were presented for Council consideration at the Standing Committee Meeting on City Finance and Services on December 8, 2021. To see the council agenda and staff report, please see the link

The area planning analysis builds on the existing vision established for Marine Landing in the Marpole Community Plan and Cambie Corridor Plan. The proposed policy updates will be used to inform rezoning applications for both affordable housing and intensive employment projects as sites come forward for redevelopment.  

For background information, visit the project page at: https://shapeyourcity.ca/marine-landing-review


 

November 30, 2021

UDI Session on Phase 3: Refined Directions for the Broadway Plan 

On November 4, the City of Vancouver announced the beginning of Phase 3 – Refined Directions of the Broadway Plan. Phase 3, includes: 

  • 3D elements of the plan and building heights;  
  • Draft public realm framework;  
  • Housing and job estimates; and  
  • More details on some area-wide policies like housing, jobs, transportation, community well-being, arts, culture and music, heritage and public benefits.”  

UDI will be holding a session with staff to discuss the Broadway Plan on December 8 from 11am-12pm. If you are interested in attending, please email Heather Park at hpark@udi.org

For more information on the proposed Broadway Plan, see our previous section in the newsletter from November 16 here. For specific information about each sub-area, the City has released a Summary Booklet and detailed Information Boards. There is also a Summary Video of Phase 3. 

Staff will refine the Phase 3 Plan in the New Year, and there will be additional public engagement opportunities in early 2022. It is anticipated that the Draft Plan will go to Council in Q2, 2022. 

 

Climate Emergency Annual Update and Greenest City Final Report 

On November 3, City Council received an update on two of the City’s key environmental policies: the final update on our Greenest City Action Plan; and the first annual report on Vancouver’s current climate plan, the Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP). 
 
Highlights from 2021 progress on CEAP include: 

  • Proposed zoning changes that will create more secure market and below-market rental housing, allowing more people to live close to shopping, transit and daily needs. 
  • Expanded transit priority routes to help buses move faster and more reliably. 
  • Updated EV-readiness standards in new non-residential buildings. 
  • A heat pump rebate program. 
  • Zoning allowances to make it easier to build with mass timber. 

The CEAP annual report also rated the current likelihood of meeting our carbon reduction targets. Despite making progress in 2021, Vancouver is not currently on track to reach the goal of reducing carbon pollution by 50% by 2030. 
 
Find out more by reading the latest reports for Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan and Climate Emergency Action Plan


 

November 16, 2021

Broadway Plan 

On November 4, the City of Vancouver announced the beginning of Phase 3 – Refined Directions of the Broadway Plan. Phase 3, includes: 

  • 3D elements of the plan and building heights; 
  • Draft public realm framework; 
  • Housing and job estimates; and 
  • More details on some area-wide policies like housing, jobs, transportation, community well-being, arts, culture and music, heritage and public benefits.” 

The proposed Broadway Plan does increase building heights – up to 40 storeys near subway stations – and up to 30 storeys in the shoulder areas along Broadway between stations. However, in the neighbourhood shopping areas, the heights will not increase that much – generally ranging between four to six storeys to “… minimize redevelopment pressures on existing businesses, and maximize sunlight on the sidewalks.” The focus of the Plan is increasing the job space (see below), market rental and affordable housing along Broadway, but there are several areas where strata will be allowed (usually with an affordable housing component).   

Staff are also proposing to increase the heights in existing apartment areas. They will allow redevelopment of rental buildings, but the new buildings would have to be 80% market rental units and 20% below market rental units. In addition, tenants would have the right to return to the new buildings at the same or lower rents, and would receive a top-up, so they can temporarily relocate during construction. The City is proposing to increase the density of projects (20 to 25 stories) to accommodate these requirements, but they recognize that redevelopment may not be viable for many sites. Their intent is to allow these areas to gradually redevelop.  

Sites in the apartment areas without rental housing can be redeveloped into 15 to 18 storey strata buildings, “… with 20% of the floor area secured as non-profit social housing.” In the RS/RT zones, the City would allow six storey market rental housing projects, and for some strategic locations 12 to 18 storey rental market housing projects, “… with 20% of the floor area secured at below-market rates.”  

The Plan includes a substantial amount of job space. For example, the Uptown/Cambie North area will be for commercial space only. Other areas along Broadway will be mixed use, but a significant office component must be built (e.g. three to four storeys of office in addition to the retail space at street level). In the industrial/mixed employment areas, the City would like to maintain the traditional light industrial functions, but would “Consider a modest increase in height and density to support innovation and creative economy uses.” In the Creative District of the False Creek Flats, the City will allow 25 to 35 stories for office space – although in some areas of the District, they will contemplate rental housing as well.  

The City is also proposing to eliminate parking minimums; although they will also have transportation demand management measures and parking maximums. To make it more cost-effective to achieve the City’s energy efficiency targets, staff are recommending that simplified building designs be allowed. Staff also anticipate lower levels of development contributions because of their “… focus on shifting toward more affordable housing and job space …”. Currently the Development Contribution Expectations (DCEs) are quite high – $330 to $425 per square foot.  

At the end of the thirty-year plan, staff anticipate that the area will increase in population by 58% (from the current 78,000 people to 123,000 people in 30 years) and the number of jobs will increase by 45% (84,400 jobs currently to 122,000 jobs). 

The above is a general summary of Phase 3; for more specific information about each sub-area, the City has released a Summary Booklet and detailed Information Boards. There is also a Summary Video of Phase 3 as well as a Survey to provide feedback up until November 30.  

UDI will be organizing a meeting with staff to discuss the Broadway Plan in early December. The City is also hosting three open houses (please register for them if you want to attend) at 511 West Broadway on: 

Staff will refine the Phase 3 Plan in the New Year, and there will be additional public engagement opportunities in early 2022. It is anticipated that the Draft Plan will go to Council in Q2, 2022. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the City at broadwayplan@vancouver.ca, or contact Heather Park at 604.661.3034. 

 

Jericho Lands Phase 3 Engagement 

The Jericho Lands planning program is a comprehensive planning process which will help create a policy statement to guide future development of the site. The planning program is exploring options that address priorities such as: 

  • Creating a complete community with a range of housing options with different income levels and tenures; 
  • Providing new housing within a walking distance of existing and future transit routes; 
  • Providing shops, services, childcare, and employment space to support the new community and the rest of the City; 
  • Creating new parks and open spaces, and a comprehensive package of other community amenities to be determined through the process. 

The landowners’ design team, working in consultation with City staff, have created two conceptual site options. These site options are an illustration of how ʔəy ̓alməxʷ / Iy ̓álmexw / the Jericho Lands could look in the future. The city is looking for your input on these site options. Please take a few moments to read the Phase 3 engagement materials and complete the survey by Sunday, November 21st

A series of six information boards can be found below for more information. 

 

Heat Pump Retrofit Survey 

The City’s Climate Emergency Action Plan identified simplification of the permit process for heat pump retrofits as a key action to help reduce carbon emissions from buildings.  

The City has engaged AES Engineering to help identify opportunities to streamline the process for adding centralized, zero-emission heat pumps to existing multifamily and commercial buildings. AES will be engaging with contractors, mechanical designers and others who apply for these permits, looking for ways to improve the current process of obtaining permits to retrofit heat pumps. Please note that the City recently updated the process for heat pump retrofits in smaller Part 9 buildings, and may review distributed units in multifamily buildings in the future. 

To participate, please fill out this survey, or email hp-retrofit-permits@vancouver.ca. Feedback from engagement & research will be used to inform recommendations, which are expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2022. For more information on the project, visit: https://vancouver.ca/hp-retrofit-permits


 

November 2, 2021

Latecomer Policy 

At the Council meeting on October 19th, Council approved the report on the Latecomer Policy. The Policy and resolutions will be used as a framework to secure individual latecomer agreements with the development industry.  

Outcomes from the City’s engagement with UDI and its members can be found below: 

  1. Interest Rate: Prime+3% annual compounding interest rate was initially identified as preferred. Upon further review, it was determined that using a prime+ rate would be challenging to administer primarily due to the fact that the latecomer scheme as written in the Charter does not allow for a rate that changes frequently throughout the year.  As such, the City has landed on the rate currently applied for deferred cash CAC balances of the prime (currently 2.45%) plus 3.0%, which was 5.5% at the time the report was presented to Council. 
  1.  Subsequent Developer latecomer charges: The City proposed securing the latecomer charge for Subsequent Developers at Building Permit using cash security deposits.  The amount will be determined by the City Engineer and will consider such items as contingency and interest.  The security will be cashed at occupancy for the Subsequent Developer, with the funds transferring on the annual date to the Initial Developer and any additional security being returned to the Subsequent Developer. 
  1. Latecomer Agreement Administrative Recovery Payment: The City proposed requiring a latecomer agreement administrative recovery payment as part of settling the latecomer agreement.  This program needs to be cost recovered for the City. 
  1. Final Cost Acceptance: Notification of cost overages must be provided to Engineering promptly (not only at the end of the project). Acceptance of overage costs is at the discretion of the General Manager of Engineering Services. 
  1. Social Housing and other NPO exemptions: An option was presented on how the City could exempt parcels that are known to be owned by social housing providers and other similar organizations. Upon further review with our steering committee, it was determined to not bring this option forward.  These sites would only be paying their share into the program and the City should be transparent in how these types of developments are subsidized, such as supporting grant applications to cover these types of costs, or these entities can seek funding from other levels of government. 

If you have any questions, please contact Heather Park at hpark@udi.org. 

 

Vancouver Plan Public Engagement Launch 

The City is launching the next phase of public engagement to create the Vancouver Plan, a bold new plan for the city’s future to 2050.  
 
Vancouver Plan is our opportunity to create a city with equitable housing, complete neighbourhoods, and a thriving economy and healthy climate. Directions from the Vancouver Plan will also support the Climate Emergency Action Plan’s target of ensuring that 90% of people live within an easy walk or roll of their daily needs by 2030.  
 
As of October 25, members are able to pre-register for upcoming public engagements

The online survey will be available from October 27 through November 25, 2021. The Virtual open house will be available from October 27 through November 25, 2021. There will also be a series of Virtual Neighbourhood Area Workshops that can be registered for here

 

Streamlining Rental Around Local Shopping Areas – Public Hearing November 2 

As previously noted, City of Vancouver staff will be presenting a report for Public Hearing on November 2, as part of the Streamlining Rental Initiative. The report proposes two key changes to support the Secured Rental Policy:  

  • Allow up to 6-storeys of secured rental housing in C-2 zones without a rezoning process.  
  • Standardize requirements for new rental zones in lower density areas (RS/RT zones).  

 The background on the changes and additional details are available on the City’s website.  

These changes represent an important and positive step forward for the City’s rental incentives and UDI is very supportive.  

 Public Hearing details are listed on the City’s website, along with options to participate in the hearing. If you have any questions, please contact Cassandra McColman

 

2022 Fee Increases for Rezoning, Development, Building, and Other Related Permits 

On November 2, Council will receive a report requesting the approval of new fees for development, construction and other related matters. The report recommends that Council provide direction to: 

  • Implement productivity increases to reduce costs by $3.0M; 
  • Increase most permit and rezoning fees by 5%; 
  • Adjust budgeted salary and benefit costs by approximately $6.0M to reflect typical attrition patterns; and 
  • Temporarily draw approximately $10.0M from the general revenue stabilization reserve committed to completing permit work. 

If approved, builders can expect to see fees increase by approximately 5% effective January 1, 2022. There is an exception for the fee for owner-initiated policy amendment requests for large sites as part of the rezoning process, which will see higher increases to cover the additional planning costs associated with these applications. 

Staff will continue their work to increase efficiency with initiatives like Regulation Redesign and the Development Process Redesign already underway. To further mitigate the anticipated cost increases for the next year, staff are proposing to make adjustments to the annual salary budget and draw approximately $10.0M from reserves to cover the projected program deficit. 

The full report including a list of all existing and proposed fees (Appendix B) is linked here. If you have any questions regarding this report, please contact Cassandra McColman


 

October 19, 2021

Future of False Creek South 

As noted in previous newsletters, the City of Vancouver conducted a consultation process for 80 acres of City land in False Creek South in early 2021 to determine how the lands “… could be used to help address the housing crisis, and contribute to achieving other priorities …”. On October 21, a Report on The Future of False Creek South: Advancing a Conceptual Development Plan and Addressing Lease Expiries will be brought forward to Council, as a majority of the leases in the area will expire over the next 15 to 25 years.   

The Report includes a potential conceptual development plan and phasing strategy over the next half century – although it has not been reviewed by the Planning, Urban Design & Sustainability Department. Currently, the area’s density is 1.3 FAR. The City reviewed strategies that would increase FAR to between 3.3 and 3.7.  Staff are proposing a “New Sites and Open Space” plan, which would result in a 3.4 FAR at buildout (the nearby Senakw project’s FAR would be approximately 6.0). Please see the unit breakdown below: 

In the first phase, which would be completed sometime in the 2040s, new development would occur primarily near the Olympic Station and through “… new parcels along the north side of West 6th Avenue by repurposing the existing berm parallel to the False Creek spur line and Charleson Road.” Then residents living in buildings to be redeveloped will be offered opportunities to relocate to new units in these projects, so the redevelopment of existing co-op, rental and non-profit buildings can occur. In Phase 2 (post 2040), the City will be looking to redevelop the strata lease sites. Please see the staff presentation on the proposed development plan.  

 

Streamlining Rental Initiatives Referred to Public Hearing 

On October 5th, Vancouver City Council referred two key changes to the City’s rental initiatives to Public Hearing. These changes would: 

  1. Allow new 6 storey rental buildings through the same process as new 4 storey condo buildings (without rezoning), in C-2 zones; and  
  1. Simplify the rezoning process in low-density areas (RS and RT zones) by standardizing regulations through new rental zones, focusing on areas within walking distance of public transportation, shopping and other daily needs. 

UDI is supportive of these changes, which stem from the Secured Rental Policy approved in 2019. The Public Hearing will take place at 6pm on November 2nd, and speakers can sign up to participate beginning at 8:30am on October 22nd.  

For more information on the proposals visit the City’s website or if you have questions, please contact Cassandra McColman.  


 

October 5, 2021

UPDATED: Broadway Plan Engagement 

Phase 3 of engagement for the Broadway Plan is being moved from the end of September, to early November 2021.  

During this upcoming phase, there will be opportunity to review 3D elements of the plan which will include building heights, a draft public realm framework, housing and job projections, and additional details on some area-wide policies like housing, transportation, public benefits and community well-being. 

During the last couple of months, the City has been reviewing, summarizing and analyzing everything they heard during the Phase 2 Emerging Directions virtual open house. To read the engagement summary click here

For Phase 3 – Refining Directions, the City will continue to use a virtual open house model. They are hoping to provide some in-person engagement opportunities pending public health measures. We will be monitoring the City’s website for details on the Phase 3 launch. 

 

UDI Letter – Issuance of Building Permit for Excavation and Shoring  

The proposed amendment to enable issuance of a Building Permit for excavation and shoring (Stage I Building Permit) before a Development Permit was referred to Public Hearing by Council on July 20th. The item went to Public Hearing on September 21st, and was carried unanimously. This will now allow the City Building Inspector to issue a building permit, limited to excavation and shoring, before issuance of the development permit for specified projects.   

UDI wrote a letter to the City which can be read here

 

Cambie Corridor Plan Implementation 

The City of Vancouver is continuing to implement the Cambie Corridor Plan. This Fall, they are launching a public consultation for a new initiative on Alberta Street West 43rd Avenue and Columbia Park – the Alberta Street Blue Green System & Columbia Park Renewal Project. It is intended to ensure that “… the drainage and sewer servicing needs for the growing Cambie Corridor neighbourhood …,” are met and improve the park space along the Corridor. City staff are asking people who live and work in the area to complete an online survey by October 21, 2021. If you have any questions about the project, please contact City staff by email at: albertacolumbia@vancouver.ca

 

Vancouver 2050: An Expert Discussion on Planning and Growth 

On September 28th, 2021, as part of The Vancouver Plan process, the City of Vancouver held an expert discussion on long-term planning and growth in the City. The experts who participated in this discussion are listed below.  

  • Mary W. Rowe, President & CEO – Canadian Urban Institute 
  • Dr. John Rose, Instructor – Department of Geography and the Environment, KPU 
  • Marc Lee, Senior Economist – Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives 
  • Andrew Ramlo, Vice President, Advisory Services – rennie group 
  • Dr. Julia Harten, Assistant Professor – School of Community and Regional Planning, UBC 

Topics covered in this discussion include housing supply, affordability, rental housing, environmental sustainability, demographic shifts, and housing targets. The link to the recorded discussion can be found here

 

New Policy Enquiry Process Launched 

On October 1, the Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability Department lunched a new Policy Enquiry Process for development proposals that do not comply with by-laws and policy related to rezoning. A new Policy Enquiry Process has been created, providing information on background, how the process will work, and steps to making a policy enquiry, including a link to an application form.  

Staff advise to please review this page and the application form carefully before deciding to apply. Completed applications can be sent to policyenquiry@vancouver.ca. Staff will review submissions and aim to provide an initial response (including fee payment details and next steps) within 5 business days.  

Staff will endeavour to provide a formal response to policy enquiry submissions within a 3-4 month timeframe, and will keep applicants apprised of any changes otherwise. 


 

September 21, 2021

Marine Landing Review – Draft Guidelines 

Initiated last fall, the City of Vancouver is undertaking an area analysis for Marine Landing in response to new Council directions for affordable housing and intensification of job space. The area analysis builds on the existing vision established for Marine Landing in the Marpole Community Plan and Cambie Corridor Plan.  

The review has established a set of draft guidelines to inform both affordable housing and intensive employment projects through the rezoning process as sites come forward for redevelopment in the area.  The City is currently seeking feedback and the draft guidelines are available for review and comment online until September 30th.   

Visit the project page at https://shapeyourcity.ca/marine-landing-review


 

September 7, 2021

Issuance of Building Permit for Excavation and Shoring (Stage I Building Permit) 

The proposed amendment to enable issuance of a Building Permit for excavation and shoring (Stage I Building Permit) before a Development Permit was referred to Public Hearing by Council on July 20th. The proposal seeks to: 

“Amend Section 4 to permit the Director of Planning to recommend that the City Building Inspector issue a building permit, limited to excavation and shoring, before issuance of the development permit for projects including Dwelling Uses developed as Social Housing or Secured Market Rental Housing, Institutional Uses, and select Cultural and Recreational Uses.” 

If approved, these amendments would provide additional flexibility in construction scheduling for eligible projects. Eligibility would be based on proposed land use(s), the complexity of the site and context, and the proposed redevelopment plans. Sites with existing rental residential units will not be eligible.  

The full report that went to Council can be read here. This item is scheduled for Public Hearing on Tuesday, September 21. 

New VanMap  

The City of Vancouver’s VanMap is a platform for people who live and work in Vancouver to access City information on interactive apps and maps.  

The City has updated the VanMap platform and now Legacy VanMap is being replaced with the new VanMap, which includes a new VanMap Viewer (all-in-one viewer) and new apps that are faster and mobile friendly.  

If you used Legacy VanMap in the past, please shift to the new VanMap, as Legacy VanMap will be retired and no longer available as of October 31, 2021. The new VanMap will enable you to view all same datasets available in Legacy VanMap. 

To try VanMap, visit the VanMap page. If you’re new to VanMap or would like to contact the City, please check out the VanMap Help page


 

August 24, 2021

Broadway Plan Phase 3 – Refining Directions

The Broadway Planning Team is excited to announce that Phase 3 – Refining Directions will begin in late September 2021. During this upcoming phase, there will be opportunity to review 3D elements of the plan which will include building heights, a draft public realm framework, housing and job projections, and additional details on some area-wide policies like housing, transportation, public benefits and community well-being.

During the last couple of months, the City has been reviewing, summarizing and analyzing everything they heard during the Phase 2 Emerging Directions virtual open house. To read the engagement summary click here.

For Phase 3 – Refining Directions, the City will continue to use a virtual open house model. They are hoping to provide some in-person engagement opportunities pending public health measures. We will be monitoring the City’s website for details on the Phase 3 launch.


 

August 10, 2021

Latecomer Agreement Program

On September 22, 2021 a virtual UDI session will be held from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm where the City will provide UDI membership with an overview of the Latecomer Agreement Program in development. This will include eligibility of applications, as well as approaches to determining benefitting areas and cost apportionment prior to the presentation of the proposed policy to Council for approval.

For more information on the interim latecomer policy, read here. Please note that the webpage also has a form at the bottom for applicants seeking advice on a specific rezoning application.

If you are interested in attending this session, please email Heather Park at hpark@udi.org by September 13th.

 

Requirements for Electric Vehicle Charging in New Non-Residential Buildings

Last month, Council approved in principle changes to their EVC requirements for non-residential buildings as part of Big Move 3 under the City’s Climate Emergency Action Plan “… to ensure that by 2030, 50 % of the kilometres driven on Vancouver’s roads are by zero emissions vehicles.”

Currently, Vancouver mandates that 10% of stalls in commercial buildings have Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging in place. The new requirements will allow more flexibility with regard to the use of energy management systems, so the City estimates that they will typically have lower costs than Vancouver’s current non-residential EVC requirements. The new requirements will “… come into force and take effect on June 1, 2022,” and are listed in the table below.


 

July 27, 2021

Vancouver Plan Update and Quick Start Actions

On July 21, 2021, Council received a presentation from staff and reviewed their recommendations from a Report on the Vancouver Plan and several housing related Quick Start Actions. UDI wrote a supportive letter to Council regarding the recommendations.

With regard to the Vancouver Plan, the City will be now be developing a Land Use Plan in addition to a Strategic Policy Framework, which will likely be brought forward for approval next June; although the Public Investment Framework will not be addressed until 2023. Please see the timeline for the Plan below:

There were also several affordable housing Quick Start Actions noted in the Report. Staff requested that Council allow them to proceed with work on the Streamlining Rental Initiative, so it can go to Public Hearing in the Fall. The Initiative includes two incentive programs that UDI has been working with the City on for several years (see previous newsletters):

  • “Changes to C-2 district schedules to allow new six storey rental buildings through the same process as new four storey condo buildings (without rezoning); and,
  • Changes to the policy for rezoning low-density areas (RS or RT zones) to simplify the process by standardizing regulations through new rental zones and identifying locations within walking distance of public transportation, shopping and other daily needs.”

Several improvements were recommended to the affordable housing and vacancy control requirements under the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP) to attract more interest in it, as only 11 of the targeted 20 applications have been approved by Council with only one other project in process. Council did not support the vacancy control changes, but increased the initial rents for the affordable units under the Program. They agreed to amend the initial rents for the below market units that were previously based on 2017 rates, so they can be increased by the allowed Provincial amount each year to time of project completion. The Program will also receive an extension to the end of January next year; although projects will no longer be accepted in several zones: C-1, C-3A, RT and RS. MIRHPP applications will now be reviewed on a first come first serve basis and the special pre-enquiry evaluation process has been removed. Proponents will need to have “… a full rezoning enquiry or application package …,” into the City by January 31 to meet the deadline of the Program

Changes were also proposed for social housing projects in the Downtown Eastside. A Public Hearing for them is expected in the Fall.

There was also an update on the priority actions from the Employment Lands and Economy Review (ELER). Half of the ten actions approved in October have been completed. This includes additional flexibility for artist studios; neighbourhood grocery stores; ground floor uses in the Downtown Eastside; industrial/office uses in Mt. Pleasant; and with parking requirements. Staff will be consulting on the other initiatives, including “Actions to Mitigate Impacts of Redevelopment on Commercial Tenants.” Under the ELER they will also be developing an Industrial Area Modernization and Intensification Framework and regulations for self storage. 

Transportation Update: Late last month, staff provided Council with an update on the City’s transportation policies, investments and trends (including the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic). The presentation includes details on the mode shifts occurring in Vancouver. Decreases in transit usage and active transportation were made up by the increase in remote work. Car sharing declined due to the departure of Car2go and ZipCar from Vancouver.  Staff also reviewed several road, cycling and transit related projects and noted that transportation and street use represent 15% of the City’s capital budget. 

Items from the Climate Emergency Action Plan related to transportation were reviewed such as the Climate Emergency Parking Program, which includes residential on-street parking fees and a pollution charge that could be implemented next year. The City will be conducting a feasibility study for road pricing and engaging stakeholders. There will be an update to Council on the issue in Spring 2022. 

 

Permitting Modernization Task Force Recommendations and New Website

On July 20, City of Vancouver Council referred to public hearing recommendations from the Internal Development Application and Permitting Modernization Task Force, which will amend the City’s Zoning and Development Bylaw to enable the issuance of a Building Permit for excavation and shoring prior to the issuance of a Development Permit. This change would only apply to specific types of projects, which are:

  • Secured Market Rental Housing;
  • Social Housing;
  • Institutional uses; and
  • Select Cultural and Recreational uses.

This added flexibility for construction scheduling would provide specific exemptions from the standard DP before BP process and allow applicants to start below grade excavation and construction work earlier.

The full report is available here: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210720/documents/rr1.pdf

The City has also launched a new webpage to provide updates on actions that the City is taking to reduce the current permitting backlog.

 

Interim Latecomer Agreement Policy

The City of Vancouver is in the process of developing a new latecomer agreement policy, and has recently published a webpage providing details on their interim approach. The webpage provides potential applicants with information on key policy terms, eligibility of projects, and our methodology for determining benefitting areas. Please note that this policy is still subject to approval of City Council, and staff are expected to present the final latecomer policy to Council for approval later this year.


 

July 13, 2021

Regulation Redesign – Simplifying Height Regulations and Miscellaneous Amendments Approved

As noted in previous newsletters, UDI is participating on an External Group to advise the City on the Regulation Redesign Review, which is working with staff to simplify and clarify the City’s regulations and improve “… the user-friendliness of the Zoning and Development By-law.” Please see the latest update from City staff on this important initiative below:

At a Public Hearing on July 6, Council approved amendments to update and clarify height regulations and to make miscellaneous amendments to various by-laws and land use documents.

These amendments will come into effect late July 2021. The specific amendments include:

  • new definitions for building height and decorative roof in Section 2 of the Zoning and Development By-law and a revision to the base surface definition;
  • updates to section 10.18 height regulations in the Zoning and Development By-law to modernize language, provide more flexibility for roof access and roof-top amenity features and clarify decorative roof regulations; and
  • miscellaneous amendments to various by-laws and land use documents to correct errors.

Read the Council referral report and memorandum for more information on the changes.  If you would like more information about these amendments, please contact the Regulation Redesign team at regredesign@vancouver.ca.

To learn what we’re doing to modernize the zoning by-law format and language, visit Regulation Redesign: Modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law on Shape Your City (survey deadline extended until July 13, 2021).

 

Streamlining Rental and Proposed MIRHPP Extension

City of Vancouver staff met with UDI members last month to provide an update on the proposals to streamline rental applications in the City and extend the MIRHPP program. As previously mentioned, the City is seeking to:

  • Amend C-2 commercial zoning to allow 6 storey rental buildings without a rezoning; and
  • Update the rezoning policy for low density areas (RS and RT zones)
    • To simplify the rezoning process by standardizing regulations through new rental zones
    • To focus on areas within walking distance of transit, shopping and other daily needs.

A survey on these changes is open until July 27th.

Accompanying these proposals will be a third potential change which would re-open the City’s MIRHPP program with adjusted parameters. The proposed amendments are as follows:

  • Re-open pilot until January 31, 2022 and consider up to 20 projects, no pre-enquiry application;
  • Update rent requirements for moderate income units to achieve maximum affordability, while ensuring project viability; and
  • Narrow eligibility of locations to focus on buildings above 6 storeys & update guidance for existing CD-1 zoned sites to exclude sites with large numbers of existing renters.

The rent requirements would be adjusted to so that average starting rents are set at a maximum of 10% below the CMHC market average, or 20% below for large projects greater than 14 storeys. Rents may be increased by the RTA maximum allowable rent increase annually and can be re-indexed to discount to the current year’s CMHC market average less 10% or 20% at turnover.

Further details are covered in the linked presentation slides.

Both the Streamlining Rental proposals and the MIHRPP changes will be presented to Council with the Vancouver Plan Quick Start Actions Report on July 21st.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact Cassandra McColman at cmccolman@udi.org.

 

New Policy Enquiry Process 

Council approved a report regarding the Policy Enquiry Process, Guiding Principles and Criteria on July 7th, 2021 

UDI also submitted a letter in support of the policy, which can be found here.  

Policy Enquiry is a new process for considering development concepts that depart from Council-adopted policy or by-laws related to rezonings, but that advance important goals and priorities of the City Council.  The process and staff’s advice will be guided by the principles and criteria established by Council. The Criteria focus on key themes and priorities for the City, such as Reconciliation, Housing, Jobs / Economy and Cultural/Social and other city serving amenities. They also capture other important priorities relating to neighborhood design, sustainability, ecology, and municipal infrastructure. Proposals that meet or exceed these criteria will be prioritized for Council’s consideration and direction.  

Council will have the opportunity to consider these proposals through the policy and/or rezoning application phases of the review process, including how those proposals may further advance the City’s vision for a more inclusive, complete and sustainable City of Vancouver. 

The public will have the opportunity to participate in the process through the application phases, including council meetings, public open houses and public hearings.  

A flow chart detailing these pathways can be found in Appendix B, on p. 14 of the linked report.  

Staff will be turning their attention to finalizing the implementation work associated with this new Process, including submission requirements, fees, review timing expectations, and process expectations.  This work will take a few months to finalize, and staff are targeting a launch of the new Policy Enquiry Process after the summer break.   

Staff will be working with enquirers and applicants in the interim for those who have previously submitted policy non-compliant enquiries, and to work with those applicants to align their proposals with the newly approved Council criteria.  Staff will advise applicants of any additional submission or fee requirements in this regard as well. 

The ability and timing for staff to review policy non-compliant enquiries in the interim will be subject to finalizing those earlier noted implementation efforts discussed above. 

Please direct your questions and information to policyenquiry@vancouver.ca or contact Templar Tsang-Trinaistich, Issues Manager for Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability (Templar.tsang-trinaistich@vancouver.ca)  

As a reminder, any applicants seeking to submit a standard rezoning enquiry or rezoning application can do so through the Rezoning Centre at rezoning@vancouver.ca, and additional information can be found on the City’s rezoning website. More information regarding the Policy Enquiry process will be provided on the City’s website in the coming weeks. 

 

Density Bonus Rate Annual Reports Approved

Further to the previous updates, on July 6th Council approved the updated Density Bonus Zoning Contributions, which will take effect on September 30, 2021.


 

June 29, 2021

UPDATED: Streamlining Rental- Industry Office Hours

As mentioned previous, the City of Vancouver is considering policy and zoning changes to streamline the development process make it easier to build secure rental housing in more neighbourhoods in Vancouver. 

The proposal includes two primary actions:

  1. Changes to C-2 zoning to allow new 6 storey rental buildings through the same process as new 4 storey condo buildings (without rezoning)
  2. Changes to policy for rezoning in low-density areas (RS and some RT zones) to simplify the process by standardizing regulations through new rental zones, and by focusing change in areas within walking distance of public transportation, shopping and other daily needs

These changes consolidate, updates and strengthens rental incentive policies that have been in place in Vancouver for over a decade.

The feedback survey deadline has been extended until July 27th– please take a few moments to provide your comments by visiting the Shape Your City page.

Industry Office Hours (July 6-8)

Interested developers and applicants may sign up for 30-minute office hour sessions with Staff to discuss proposal enquiries – sign up here.

 

Street and Traffic Bylaw – Section 30 Updates

City of Vancouver Engineering Department has been working on proposed Street and Traffic Bylaw changes that are being brought to Council on July 6th. Engineering’s current regulatory redesign work, led by Kevin Cavell, involves updating a section of the Street and Traffic By-law that allows for temporary occupancy of streets and boulevards for construction related activities.

Staff have updated the regulation to make it more user-friendly by:

  • simplifying and clarifying this heavily used section of the Street and Traffic By-law
  • establishing clear fees for use of the street, sidewalks, lanes, and traffic lanes throughout the city
  • amended enforcement regulations through ticketing
  • consolidating the most frequently used regulations into a single location for ease of use by moving the Street Occupancy regulations currently in the Vancouver Building Bylaw (VBBL) to the Street and Traffic By-law
  • including indemnification of the city through insurance provisions for all street use and street occupancy permits (The provision for insurance currently exists in the by-law but is to be extended for all street use/occupancy permits.)

If you have questions please email RegRedesign@vancouver.ca or Cassandra McColman at UDI.

 

DCL/CAC/Density Bonus Rate Annual Reports

On June 11, the City the released the 2020 Annual Report on Development Cost Levies and on June 16, the 2020 Annual Reporting on Community Amenity Contributions and Density Bonus Zoning Contributions. Both reports include details regarding the money collected from development projects last year and how revenues from Development Cost Levies (DCLs), Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) and density bonuses were spent. Please note that this year’s rate adjustments for DCLs, CACs, and density bonuses will be 1.2%. The rate adjustment for DCLs and CACs takes effect September 30, 2021, while the Density Bonus Zoning Contributions were referred to public hearing on July 6, 2021. If approved at public hearing, new rates would take effect September 30, 2021. For further information, please see the following reports:

Since the inception DCLs in the early 1990s, total receipts the City has received from the program is over $1.1 billion. Last year, the City approved 8.1 million ft2 of permits for new construction (down by 1 million ft2 from 2019), and collected $115 million in DCLs. This is up substantially from 2019 because last year was the “… the first full year when projects paid Utilities DCLs …”. There were a total of $6.2 million of DCL exemptions/waivers/reductions in 2020. Staff note in the DCL Report that “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, DCL revenue contemplated in the 2019-2022 Capital Plan is forecast to decrease by ~$157 million (from ~$672 to ~$515 million).” The Report also includes information on the capital projects completed with DCLs between 2009 and 2020. 

In terms of CACs and density bonuses, only $16 million of cash-in-lieu contributions were received in 2020 – just over a third of what was received in 2019. However, the Public Benefits secured from approvals of additional density last year were valued at $307 million from 4.7 million ft2 of net additional floor area. In 2019, it was $86 million. It should be noted that over 75% of the $307 million came from three large rezonings, and $220 million will be going to housing. Details of the total benefits received and how they were allocated is outlined in Appendix B of the Report. In addition, several secured market rental and social housing projects that were approved did not provide CACs or density bonuses, and as a result the City received:

  • 2,413 secured market rental units, including 290 below-market units
  • 2 land dedications to the City for social housing
  • 801 social housing units from non-profits secured in-kind
  • 134 shelter units
  • 4 social service centres
  • Expansion of a social/cultural space.”

Council questioned staff about whether there were delays in rezoning projects reaching enactment. Staff reported out that 92% of these projects were enacted within two years and 99% within four years.

The City has also released a short video about CACs for Vancouver residents.


 

June 15, 2021

Development and Permit Process Improvements

Council recently directed that an Internal Development Application and Permitting Modernization Task Force be established. On June 8, they received their first bi-monthly presentation/report from staff. Staff identified four steps they have taken to speed up the development application process, and reduce the current backlog:

  • Enable temporary staff overtime;
  • Pilot a new data collection model for ASHRAE compliance;
  • Limit penalties for some instances of previously unpermitted work for residential and commercial renovations; and
  • Shift the onus of landscape maintenance during the construction process to applicants for demolitions, renovations and field reviews.”

They also received approval from Council for two of three initiatives, which UDI supported (please see the attached letter):

  • Relaxations of the design guidelines for some neighbourhoods; and
  • Temporary relaxation of some provisions in the Trees By-law.

Council did not approve the third proposal to delay the implementation of the mandatory zero emission building construction guidelines for Part 9 homes in the Building By-law for one year. 

Staff also noted they are “Increasing opportunities for electronic submissions and doing everything we can to make all permit and licensing applications digital.” Details are provided in their presentation. They also provided an update on the Development Process Redesign Review (DPR) which UDI, with other stakeholders, have been assisting the City with. The focus of the DPR work is on “Rezoning enquiry, Policy enquiry, application, enactment, public consultation, customer service, policy framework.” In a September report to Council, staff will be will be bringing forward proposals for:

  • New options for Rezoning Enquiry;”
  • A “New Policy Enquiry process for policy non-compliant proposals;
  • New procedures for non-compliant rezoning applications;” and
  • A “comprehensive project review assessment process.”

The presentation also included an update on issues and initiatives that the Engineering Department is managing, including the impact of the Professional Governance Act and a new Latecomer Agreement Framework that will be going to Council for approval this Fall.

 

Regulation Redesign Review

As noted in previous newsletters, UDI is participating on an External Group to advise the City on the Regulation Redesign Review, which is working with staff to simplify and clarify the City’s regulations and improve “… the user-friendliness of the Zoning and Development By-law.” At the June 8 Council meeting, staff presented a Regulation Redesign – Simplifying Height Regulations and Miscellaneous Amendments Report which has been referred to Public Hearing on July 6.  Staff are proposing to:

  • Add new definitions for building height and decorative roofs;
  • Amend the base surface definition;
  • Update the height regulations; and
  • Clean up the Zoning and Development By-law with other housekeeping amendments.

In addition, the City will be conducting an online engagement regarding the modernization of the Zoning and Development By-law between June 15 and July 6, 2021. They will be requesting feedback on:

  • Four sample residential district schedules (RM – multiple dwelling districts) in the new interactive PDF format;
  • Ten proposed new defined terms to clarify and simplify the language in the district schedules; and
  • Two outdated regulations to be considered for removal.”

If you have questions or would like to submit ideas to improve the City’s planning and development regulations, please contact the project team at regredesign@vancouver.ca.


 

June 1, 2021

Broadway Plan

As noted in previous newsletters, the City of Vancouver is developing an Area Plan for the Broadway Corridor to accommodate the Millennium Line Extension. Staff are currently in Phase 3 of the PlanRefining Directions. As part of their work, they are “… refining the future street design within the future station areas along Broadway … to make Broadway a ‘Great Street’.” The City is seeking feedback on:

  • “… public space and street upgrades at the future Broadway Subway Station sites;”
  • The design elements on the blocks where the stations will be located;
  • Parklets/seating areas ;
  • Street trees;
  • Green infrastructure;
  • Patios; and
  • Loading, pick up and drop off.”

To provide feedback, please complete the City’s survey by June 15 or contact the City’s Broadway Plan staff at broadwayplan@vancouver.ca.

 

Proposed rate adjustments for Vancouver DCLs, CAC Targets and Density Bonus Contribution rates for Sept. 30, 2021

This year’s rate adjustments for Development Cost Levy (DCL), Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) Target, and Density Bonus Contribution rates are proposed to come into effect on September 30, 2021. Vancouver City Council will consider these rates on June 22, 2021. This year’s rate adjustment represents an increase of 1.2% across DCL, CAC Target, and Density Bonus Contribution areas.

The proposed rates are posted on the City’s website:

Background – Annual Inflation Adjustment System

All of Vancouver’s pre-set development contributions are adjusted annually for changes in property and construction inflation. The City uses public, third-party data to calculate the impact of annual inflation on these rates. This adjustment system was first approved by Council in 2010 for use on DCLs and then expanded in 2016 to apply to CAC Targets and Density Bonus Contributions. Rates are adjusted annually through a report to Council every June or July, with new rates effective on September 30th of every year. Visit http://www.vancouver.ca/financegrowth for more information.

Please note the 2020 Annual Reports on DCLs, CACs and Density Bonusing is anticipated to be released in early to mid-June.

If you have any questions or concerns related to the proposed rates, please contact Cassandra McColman.

 

Complete and Connected Neighbourhoods

A critical component of the City’s Climate Emergency Action Plan is the “… target to ensure that 90% of people live within an easy walk or roll of their daily needs by 2030.” As such, “Creating complete, connected and culturally vibrant neighbourhoods is a key goal of …,” the Vancouver Plan. The City is seeking to build neighbourhoods where the needs of residents (regardless of background) are all within walking distance of their homes. They are conducting a survey on what should be included in complete and connected communities.  Please complete the survey by June 15.


 

May 18, 2021

Policy and Zoning Changes to Streamline Rental Development Process

The City of Vancouver is considering policy and zoning changes to streamline the development process make it easier to build secure rental housing in more neighbourhoods in Vancouver. For almost three decades, very little new secure rental housing was built in Vancouver resulting in a significant shortfall that has contributed to the current housing crisis.

The proposed changes stem from the Council approved Secured Rental Policy, which provides incentives to encourage the construction of new rental housing. The proposal includes two primary actions:

  1. Changes to C-2 zoning to allow new 6 storey rental buildings through the same process as new 4 storey condo buildings (without rezoning)
  2. Changes to policy for rezoning in low-density areas (RS and some RT zones) to simplify the process by standardizing regulations through new rental zones, and by focusing change in areas within walking distance of public transportation, shopping and other daily needs

These changes consolidate, updates and strengthens rental incentive policies that have been in place in Vancouver for over a decade.

 

Virtual Information Sessions

We are holding two online information sessions for the general public to provide an overview of the Secured Rental Policy and information on the policy and zoning changes being considered to make it easier to build rental housing in more neighbourhoods. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and comment on the changes proposed in small group discussions as part of the session.  Additionally anyone can provide comments via the project webpage: shapeyourcity.ca/rental-rz

Please see the Eventbrite links above for more details.

 

Office Hours

In addition to the online information sessions, staff will be setting aside timeslots to meet with interested members of the general public or community groups about the Streamlining Rental work, to discuss particular parts of the proposal or to answer any specific questions. We will schedule these times for mid-June, please stay tuned to our webpage for more details.

 

Provide Your Comments

To learn more about the proposals and share your thoughts via a comment form, please visit our Shape Your City page.


 

May 4, 2021

New Senior Leadership Appointments

Late last month, the City of Vancouver announced two new appointments to its senior leadership team. Former Deputy City Manager, Paul Mochrie, was appointed as the City’s new City Manager and Theresa O’Donnell, who previously the Deputy Director of Current Planning was appointed as the new Director of Planning and GM or Urban Design and Sustainability. Both has assumed their new positions on an interim basis prior to the confirmation of their permanent appointments. UDI congratulates both Paul Mochrie and Theresa O’Donnell on their new roles and looks forward to continuing to work with them and their teams.


 

April 20, 2021

Rental Housing Stock ODP Extension to C-2 Zones

On April 1st, Vancouver City Council approved a motion to extend the RHS ODP to C-2 Zones. The approved motion also included amendments that directed staff to do consultation with landowners, residential and business tenants on maintaining affordable rental stock as part of the ongoing C-2 work.

In addition, Council also directed staff to report back on options for density transfers and offsets.

 

New Task Force on Development Application and Permitting Modernization

On March 31st, Council approved a motion taking measures to address the permitting backlog in the Development Building and Licensing department. The final motion also established a new task force to be headed by the City Manager with direction to report back on measures to address the backlog within 16 months, in addition to regular updates provided to Council.

You can read the full motion as approved here.

 

False Creek South Consultation

As noted in previous newsletters, the City of Vancouver conducted a consultation process for 80 acres of City land in False Creek South during the month of February to determine how the lands “… could be used to help address the housing crisis, and contribute to achieving other priorities …”. A False Creek South: Opportunities for the Future Engagement Summary Report has now been released. The findings include:

  • Overall support for the City to consider opportunities to address affordable housing and public priorities;
  • A “Majority of Vancouver residents see all housing types as very or fairly important, with family housing, accessible and adaptable housing, and purpose-built rental seen as most important overall.”
  • A majority viewed the public priorities as being important – especially environmental and social issues; and
  • Over two-thirds of residents agreed the City should use revenue from the development of market units in False Creek South to help pay for more non-market housing that is affordable …”.

 

April 6, 2021

50% Off Passive House Course at BCIT

The City of Vancouver supports a deeply discounted Passive House tradespersons course at BCIT for trades/builders/sub-contractors/energy advisors/architects/engineers etc, that work in the city of Vancouver. It’s a great opportunity to get intensive and hands-on Passive House training for half the regular cost. The next course session is taking place April 20-June 22, 2021.   

Course participants will: learn hands-on approaches to high performance buildings; earn BC Housing Group A CPD credits; and be eligible to write the exam to earn the Certified Passive House Tradesperson designation.

 Check out https://www.bcit.ca/construction/passivediscovery/ and https://www.bcit.ca/study/courses/cesa1501 for more information.


 

March 23, 2021

Broadway Plan: Industry Update

Further to the consultation plan noted previously, the City of Vancouver held a meeting with builders active in the Broadway Plan area on March 12, 2021, see the slides here. Staff provided an update on several key elements that will form part of the new Plan, including:

  • Places, such as designated villages, residential areas, centres, and industrial/employment areas;
  • Affordable housing
  • Community well-being including childcare facilities and social amenities;
  • Jobs and economy;
  • Transportation and street design; and
  • A One Water approach through the Rain City Strategy, blue-green systems, and rainwater management systems.

A Survey is running until March 31st, if you are active in the Plan area, please take a few moments to complete the survey here.


 

March 9, 2021

RHS ODP Extension to C-2 Zones Public Hearing March 11, 2021

As previously mentioned, the City of Vancouver is considering extending the Rental Housing Stock ODP to C-2 Zones. A report will be going to public hearing next Thursday, March 11 at 6pm.

The report that Staff has developed lays out many serious issues with the proposed extension and we are very concerned with the negative impact that it will have on builders and landowners.

If you would like to sign up to speak or submit comments online, please use the links below:

Request to Speak: https://vancouver.ca/your-government/request-to-speak-at-a-public-hearing-form-2.aspx

Send Comments Online: https://vancouver.ca/your-government/contact-council-public-hearing.aspx.  

If you would like to follow the meeting online there are a few options linked below:

 

Broadway Plan: Emerging Directions Engagement

The Broadway Plan’s Phase 2 Emerging Directions Virtual Open House is now live on the City’s website.

Open house materials detail proposed directions for land uses, housing, jobs, parks, public spaces and connections and amenities. The overall focus will be on how neighbourhoods will grow and manage change through a neighbourhood-based planning approach that recognizes the distinct communities, places, issues, and opportunities in Mount Pleasant, Fairview and Kitsilano.

How you can participate

  1. Get the highlights in the interactive StoryMaps
    The Broadway Plan’s StoryMaps are an interactive web-based tool that combines maps, pictures, videos, and text to show you the highlights of the Broadway Plan’s Emerging Directions.  To learn more visit our website.
  2. Read the full details in the online information boards
    A set of files in PDF format, similar to the information boards you’d find at the COV’s in-person open houses, is also available on the City’s website to provide you the details about the important contextual information and emerging directions for all three neighbourhoods and area-wide policies.
  3. Share your feedback
    What do you think about the emerging directions for Mount Pleasant, Fairview, or Kitsilano?  What do you think of the area-wide policies? 
  • Tell the City in the survey by March 31. Take the survey
  • Have a question? Sign up for our “office hours” to speak to a Broadway Plan team member. Sign up here
  • Have a question about the Emerging Directions? Leave us a question on the “Questions” tabs on the Broadway Plan ShapeYourCity website

Sign-up for our workshops
The City of Vancouver is holding a series of virtual workshops, which focus on the highlights of the Emerging Directions, covering the neighbourhoods of the Broadway Plan and area-wide policy. To sign up, visit:

 

Shape Your City Online Engagement: Proposed amendments to simplify height regulations

Regulation Redesign is working on simplifying and clarifying land use regulations to make them easier to understand. We’re proposing new definitions in Section 2 for “height” and “decorative roof”, and updating the definition for “base surface”. We’re also proposing amendments to Section 10.18 to modernize language and update terms, to provide more flexibility for rooftop amenity spaces and access, and to clarify decorative roof regulations.

Learn more about the proposed amendments to simplify and clarify height regulations and to share your feedback at Shape Your City. Comment form closes March 31, 2021.

Shape Your City: shapeyourcity.ca/regredesign-height

Website: vancouver.ca/RegRedesign


 

February 23, 2021

Broadway Plan 

Last week, the City launched its Broadway Plan’s Phase 2 Emerging Directions Virtual Open House, which will be running between February 16 and March 31. The Broadway Plan will be a 30-year plan for the areas adjacent to the Broadway extension of the Millennium Line – between 1st Avenue, 16th Avenue, Vine Street and Clark Street. There are several opportunities to participate, including:

If you have questions, you can sign-up to contact a Broadway Plan team member or email them to broadwayplan@vancouver.ca.

Staff also released detailed online information boards for the Emerging Directions, many of which will be of interest to UDI members, including:

  • Potential Adjustments to the View Corridors;
  • Provisions to ensure sunlight on streets continue as well as the protection of green leafy streets;
  • Exploring Commercial rent controls;
  • Exploring “… opportunities for additional height/density for renewal of aging social and rental buildings over the long term,” but “… prevent speculation by restricting new density to social, below-market and market rental;”
  • Continuing “… to require no net loss of rental housing and,” exploring “… options to replicate existing affordability levels or, with subsidies, achieve greater levels of affordability;”
  • Developing “Options for right of first refusal into new housing for local residents;”
  • Potential pre-zoning for rental and social housing;
  • Expanding “… groundwater and rainwater management requirements for new development,” and establishing Blue-Green systems to manage rainwater;
  • Establishing childcare targets, exploring opportunities for childcare being incorporated in work spaces; and integrating childcare into larger sites;
  • Mitigating the displacement of food businesses;
  • Having zero operating emission buildings including having zero emissions areas, and having “… allowances for simplified low carbon building forms;”
  • Developing “Design guidelines to integrate climate change and seismic goals,” as well as to ensure good indoor air quality, noise reductions, thermal comfort and to make buildings adaptable to changing climate conditions;
  • Developing embodied carbon targets for new construction;
  • Developing policies for deep energy retrofits;
  • An exploration of expanding the City’s District Energy System;
  • Requirements for Community Benefit Agreements for projects of many sizes;
  • Supporting “… additional density for strata ownership housing only to enable new below-market housing or other community amenities such as childcare or non-profit space;” and
  • “… Exploring innovative funding options and tools for Growth needs that do not rely on CACs typically provided with additional strata density.”

The draft Broadway Plan is expected to be ready for Council consideration at the end of this year, please see the timeline below. UDI will keep members informed as the Plan moves forward.

 

 

Women4Climate Mentorship Program

In 2019, Vancouver became the eighth city to launch a local C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program. Now in 16 cities worldwide, the W4C Mentorship Program aims to empower the next generation of climate leaders to create a healthier, greener, more resilient, and economically prosperous urban future.

Each year, mentees are matched with political and business sector leaders, as well as leaders from international and community organizations. Over the 10-month mentorship period, mentees:

  • Receive knowledge, experience, and support from their mentors
  • Partake in monthly leadership training and networking opportunities
  • Network with local and international women working on their own climate initiatives

Are you working on a climate initiative that is advancing low carbon buildings and materials, active transportation and transit , complete communities, EV infrastructure, or carbon sequestration? Does your climate initiative actively work to reduce the systemic inequities experienced by residents throughout the city while meeting the needs of communities disproportionately  impacted by climate change? If you live or work in Vancouver, this program may be for you.

To join this international community of emerging women climate leaders, apply before March 7th.

For more information about the mentorship program and to apply, visit vancouver.ca/w4c

For more information about Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, visit vancouver.ca/climateemergency


 

February 10, 2021

False Creek South Public Engagement

Between now and February 28, 2021, Vancouver residents and stakeholders are invited to participate in the False Creek South Lands: Opportunities for the Future consultation process. This public engagement seeks input about how 80 acres of City-owned lands in False Creek South could potentially be used to help address the housing affordability, and contribute to achieving other City priorities such as accelerating action on climate change; increasing the focus on equity and social issues; and protecting and building the local economy. 

 

How to participate

The City is seeking input about options for the future of City-owned lands in False Creek South, which will help shape Vancouver. This includes the role of market housing units. Here’s how you can get involved:

 

Online Events Schedule

Meeting Type Date Time
Small Group Meeting (False Creek South residents and stakeholders)   Tuesday February 16 12-1 pm 
Small Group Meeting (City-wide stakeholders) Tuesday February 16 6-7 pm
Small Group Meeting (City-wide stakeholders) Wednesday February 17 12-1 pm 
Public information and Q&A session Wednesday February 17 6-7 pm 
Small Group Meeting (False Creek South residents and stakeholders) Thursday February 18 6-7 pm 
Public information and Q&A session Thursday February 25 6-7 pm 

 

Please register for an online event by clicking the name of the event above. Interested individuals are encouraged to register in advance, as space is limited. The City will send a link to join the meeting when they confirm your registration. Please Visit ShapeYourCity.ca/FCSLands for more information.

 

 

Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan (ODP) Extension to C-2 Zones

As noted in previous newsletters, UDI has raised concerns to the City of Vancouver regarding proposals to extend the Rental Housing Stock ODP (with the one-to-one replacement of rental units) to the C-2 zones since a Council motion that was introduced in Spring 2019. Unfortunately, Council adopted the idea in November 2019 as part of the approval of the Secured Rental Policy, which was intended to provide builders incentives to build more purpose built rental (PBR) housing in the Vancouver. UDI has met with staff and written/spoken to Council throughout the process about the ramifications of extending the Rental Housing Stock ODP to the C-2 areas. Following the presentation of a referral report, these changes were referred to public hearing at the February 9th Regular Council Meeting. The Public Hearing date is expected to be in early March 2021.

 

In their Report, staff identify “… impacts and implementation challenges …,” if Rental Housing Stock ODP is extended to the C-2 Zones. This includes the potential loss of $400 million to $550 million dollars in combined value for the 380 properties affected by the proposed change with individual property losses ranging from 10% to 50%.

 

City staff met with financial institutions, and in the Report, they note several concerns lenders raised, including the potential of rental providers being forced to payout their financial institutions or face foreclosure due to the loss in value of C-2 properties with rental units. In addition, “… lenders also expressed concerns related to their perception that the proposed changes signal instability in the regulatory regime, which increases risk from an investment perspective. This may impact their future decisions to continue to invest in Vancouver.”

 

UDI will provide updates to our members as this issue progresses.

 

 

Broadway Plan

On February 3, the City of Vancouver Broadway Planning Team announced a Phase 2 – Emerging Directions Virtual Open House that will take place between February 16 and March 31 on the ShapeYourCity website. The website will include information on the emerging policy directions for the 30-year Broadway Plan, as well as opportunities for feedback and further participation.

Boundaries of the Broadway Plan in purple.


 

January 26, 2021

Employment Lands and Economy Review (ELER) Quick Start Actions

As noted previously, the City of Vancouver recently completed their Employment Lands and Economy Review Phase 2 in October 2020. One of the primary deliverables of the in-depth analysis and engagement work completed throughout the ELER were the Emerging Directions which summarized what staff have heard to date and are intended to help guide future planning and engagement in the Vancouver Plan process. Details on the Emerging directions can be found through the link below.

Emerging Policy Directions, Ideas for Potential Actions for Vancouver Plan Process

In addition, four quick start actions stemming from the Phase 2 Report were approved on January 21st, 2021:

  • Mount Pleasant I-1 Amendment and New I-1C District Schedule
  • Downtown-Eastside/Oppenheimer District Official Development Plan Text Amendment – Retail Continuity Policy Review for Flexibility of Ground Floor Uses
  • Development By-law Amendments to Remove Barriers to New Work-Only Artist Studios in Industrial Areas
  • Initial Zoning and Development By-law Amendments to Support Neighbourhood Grocery Stores

The report summarizing the recommendations for each action is available here.

 

Regulation Redesign

As noted in previous newsletters, UDI has been working with the City on its Regulation Redesign project, which is “… a comprehensive review of … land use regulations and related policy documents,” to simplify and clarify them. One of the issues addressed through the project is amendments made for balconies and decks that were approved last summer by Council. Please see the update below from the City Vancouver on the changes and a link to a recent bulletin they released on the issue.

“The City of Vancouver’s new bulletin on Balconies, Decks, Entries, Porches and Verandahs, Patios, and Roof Decks is live! Thanks to your input over the past two years, Council approved amendments on June 25, 2020 to update and improve consistency of regulations by introducing new definitions for balconies, decks, entries, porches and verandahs, patios and roof decks and updating regulations for these elements to make them more consistent between zones.

The new bulletin is a comprehensive document that explains the administration of these newly defined building elements. This topic-specific bulletin is available on the Zoning and land use document library at Vancouver.ca/zoning-library.

It will be used by applicants and staff to ensure a common understanding of these administrative practices. We invite you to use the new bulletin.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

The bulletin provides information on these building elements including:

  • Inclusions/exclusions from floor area calculations (e.g. for areas under balconies and decks, and for landings)
  • Projections into required yards (e.g. for landings, eaves)
  • Where patios can be located on site and how raised patios are regulated
  • How Roof Decks are categorized and administered

 

Click here to read the new Balconies, Decks, Entries, Porches and Verandahs, Patios, and Roof Decks bulletin.

For questions, please contact the Regulation Redesign Team:  RegRedesign@vancouver.ca

Webpage: vancouver.ca/RegRedesign


 

January 12, 2021

Regulation Redesign

As noted in previous newsletters, UDI is participating on an External Group that is advising City staff regarding the Regulation Redesign Project – an initiative “… to simplify the City’s land use regulations, policies, and online tools to improve and streamline permit processing.” It is one of many initiatives Vancouver is conducting to improve process times. It is linked to the Development Process Redesign Project. There are also improvements being considered and reviewed by the Engineering and Development, Buildings and Licensing departments.

The goals of the Regulation Redesign Project include:

  • Simplify and clarify land use regulations to make them easier to understand and implement;
  • Modernize regulations and language and improve the format of land use documents to make them more user-friendly;
  • Improve the consistency of land use regulations and policies;
  • Improve communication abo

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