What is zoning?

    Zoning is the process of dividing land in a given jurisdiction into zones in which certain land uses are permitted or prohibited. In addition, the size and placement of buildings may be regulated. Zoning provides a regulatory framework to help local governments implement official community plans and determines what type of activities may occur on a given parcel of land and under what conditions.

    Where does the authority to establish zoning regulations come from?

    BC’s Local Government Act, Section 479, gives local governments the power to divide the jurisdiction into different zones and regulate within each zone the use and density of land, buildings and other structures; the siting and size of building and structures; the location of uses on the land and within structures; and dimensions and area of parcels created by subdivision. This legislation can be viewed here.

    How often is the City’s Zoning Bylaw updated?

    Technically, the City’s Zoning Bylaw is updated every time Council approves an application to rezone a property or to amend regulations to address current land trends, such as residential suites, retail cannabis sales, or food trucks. Such updates occur at least once a year and often more frequently. On the other hand, a comprehensive Zoning Bylaw update happens much less frequently. The City’s first Zoning Bylaw was adopted in 1979; the current Zoning Bylaw was adopted in 2001; and the proposed draft bylaw is anticipated to be adopted by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

    How does the Zoning Bylaw affect my property?

    Explore the zoning map link on the Let’s Talk page to check out the current and proposed zoning regulations applicable to your property.  You can also check Division 2: Interpretation; Division 3: General and Specific Use Regulations; Division 4: Off-Street Parking; and Division 5: Landscaping, Screening, and Fencing on the draft bylaw for more details on what is permitted on your property.

    How does the proposed Zoning Bylaw affect sustainable development?

    Sustainability features of the proposed Zoning Bylaw include the following:           

    • updated zoning for undevelopable hillside areas and drainage corridors from RS- (Single-Family Residential) zones and P-1 (Parks and Recreation) to OS (Open Space) zoning to match KAMPLAN designations and preserve natural areas
    • required readiness for electric vehicle and E-bike charging infrastructure
    • amended wording on lot coverage and building projections to facilitate increased insulation for energy efficiency required under the BC Step Code
    • revised regulations on projections to facilitate larger roof overhangs for passive solar protection
    • improved stormwater retention with the introduction of minimum front yard landscaping requirements in residential zones