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Municipal News- Vancouver

January 1, 2000

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.



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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