BC Increases Zoning Density

Secondary Suites and Residential Upzoning

The provincial government has announced multiple pieces of legislation that significantly changes zoning bylaws throughout the province.

Secondary Suites

All communities throughout the province will be required to update their zoning bylaws to allow at least one secondary seat or laneway house on every single family or duplex zoned lot. Municipalities will have until June 30, 2024, to make these changes.

Transit Oriented Development

Communities throughout the province will be subject to minimum zoning requirements near major transit hubs by June 30, 2024. For the interior of the province these transit hubs are all bus exchanges. Minimum zoning requirements will be as follows:

In addition, these transit-oriented development areas will no longer be subject to parking minimums and will be negotiated on a project-by-project basis.

Transit Oriented Development Areas:

In our board jurisdiction the following areas have been designated as bus exchanges to be subject to the transit-oriented development framework. Some of these will see the zoning allowed immediately while others will take effect when updated (must be update by June 30, 2024, at the latest):

  1. North Shore Exchange – Kamloops
  2. Okanagan College Exchange – Kelowna o Rutland Exchange - Kelowna
By June 30, 2024:
  1. TRU Exchange - Kamloops
  2. Hospital Exchange - Kelowna
  3. Orchard Park Exchange – Kelowna
  4. Peachtree Square Exchange – Penticton 
  5. Penticton Plaza Exchange – Penticton 
  6. Downtown Exchange – Vernon
  7. Village Green Centre Exchange - Vernon

Small-Scale Residential Upzoning

The province will be requiring all communities with a total population of 5,000 or above to change their zoning bylaws to allow a minimum of 3 (or 4 depending on lot size) units on all single-family and duplex zoned lots. This is essentially ending single-family only zoning. The prescribed lot size is 280 m2 meaning lots this size and under will be allowed 3 units while lots overt his size will be allowed 4 units. Municipalities will need to bring their zoning bylaws into compliance by June 30, 2024. The province has released guidelines for municipalities to follow in regard to how these units can be built.

In addition to this, housing projects in compliance with a municipality’s Official Community Plan will no longer be subject to public hearings.

Links and Resources

SSMU and Secondary Suites (Upzoning) Press Release - More small-scale, multi-unit homes coming to B.C., zoning barriers removed | BC Gov News

TOD Policy Guidance Document - TOAProvincialPolicyManual.pdf (gov.bc.ca) 

SSMU Design Guidance Document and Standards -
SSMUH_Provincial_Policy_Manual_with_Alt_Text.pdf (gov.bc.ca)