Vancouver approves housing development changes around shopping areas

VANCOUVER — Vancouver is implementing a series of changes to make housing development around shopping areas faster and easier.

Officials said the changes are necessary to address the climate emergency and housing crisis. City council stated in a press release the policy and zoning changes will create more complete, connected and walkable communities in Vancouver by speeding up the delivery of rental housing in local shopping areas and low-density areas nearby. 

According to the city, the amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law and associated updates to the Secured Rental Policy will streamline and shorten the approval process, and provide greater clarity and certainty on the types of new rental buildings that can be built by:

  • Using residential rental tenure zoning for the first time to allow six-storey rental buildings in C-2 (commercial-mixed use) zones to proceed without a rezoning.
  • Standardizing rezoning options for new rental buildings in some low-density residential (RS and RT) zones around local shopping areas, including up to five-storey market rental apartments and six-storey apartments with 20 per cent below-market rental or 100 per cent social housing on arterial streets.
  • Encourage greener buildings through simpler building designs, which make it easier to use less carbon intensive construction materials like wood, and through enhanced green building standards and requirements for zero emissions space and hot water heating.
  • Improve public spaces in local shopping areas by requiring wider sidewalks and ensuring building designs on narrower streets minimize shadows on sidewalks.
  • Help revitalize local shopping areas and create more complete, walkable and less car-reliant neighbourhoods by locating new rental housing near existing shopping, transit and other amenities and daily needs.


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