City of Vancouver to Abandon CAC Negotiations on Commercial and Low-Density Rental Rezonings

Somewhat hidden behind the news of the Housing Vancouver Strategy announcement, is a new policy proposal for CACs for commercial and rental-only residential developments. The overall plan proposed in the policy report entitled “CAC Policy Update: Simplifying CACs on New Rental Housing and Commercial Development” is to cease negotiating CACs on commercial rezonings and some rental rezonings.

The City’s proposal is intended to “simplify the City’s development contribution system which includes DCLs, CACs, density bonusing and other mechanisms. The proposed changes will provide greater clarity and certainty on development contributions for rezoning applicants. The recommended changes will streamline the CAC process for both secured market rental and commercial-only rezoning applications to enable a majority of these project types to be brought to market sooner.”

The recommendations in the proposed policy include the following:

Recommendation A – Exempt routine, lower density secured market rental rezoning applications from CACs

The City would exempt rental applications from CAC negotiations where the density proposed is low, or consistent with area zoning. The table below shows where CACs would be exempt for rental based on height guidelines:

Recommendation B – Remove CAC negotiation on commercial-only rezoning 

The City intends on removing the CAC negotiation process (which can prolong the application timeline significantly) for commercial applications in the Downtown, Metro Core, Grandview Employment Area and South Vancouver Industrial Lands. This would not apply for proposed stratified commercial space.

The City will also introduce commercial linkage targets, which are intended to show the correlation between additional commercial space and workforce related childcare spaces and affordable housing. The commecial linkage targets will be fixed $/SF amounts calculated on the net additional density for commercial rezonings in the Downtown and Metro Core areas. 

The interim Commercial Linkage Targets will be as follows:As industry consultation has already occurred for these items, they could take effect almost immediately after Council adoption.

A full copy of the policy report can be viewed here:

Changes Coming for Vancouver’s DCL By-law

The City of Vancouver is updating its DCL by-law to include new rates, new by-law rate categories, updated DCL allocations, and select new uses for DCL relief following a comprehensive review of forecasted growth and DCL eligible growth costs.

The rationale for the changes is outlined in the City’s policy report:

“In July 2015, Council directed staff to review and update the City-wide DCL Bylaw. The City-wide DCL update is a based on a 10-year timeframe (2017-2026) and includes the following components:  

  • Updating population and job growth projections.
  • Identifying capital costs for corresponding DCL eligible public amenities and infrastructure (including sewer, drainage, and water programs as new items)
  •  Determining DCL allocations and rates
  • Establishing a new City-wide DCL by-law

As a result of the review, staff recommends that the City-wide DCL rates be adjusted to recover a share of the updated costs associated with the forecasted 10-year DCL capital program. The recommended DCL rates in this report are anticipated to generate approximately $1.0 billion that will help fund approximately 60% of the contemplated growth costs over the next 10 years (2017-2026), with the residual amount of approximately $0.8 billion across Engineering, Housing, Childcare and Parks to be addressed in the 2019-2022 Capital Plan.”

Recommendations include:

  • Adjustment of City-wide DCL rates (see below)
  • Addition of new DCL rate categories
  • Hold industrial and commercial DCL at current rates
  • Adjust DCL allocations
  • Reducing DCL rates for social and community uses
  • Replacement of Downtown South DCL with City-wide DCL ($17.36/SF)

The proposed rate changes and categories are outlined as follows:

DCL Rates 2017

The full policy report can be viewed here:

False Creek Flats Plan Nearing Final Approval

Next week the False Creek Flats Plan goes to Vancouver City Council for final approval of the draft. The plan encompasses 450 acres of land anchored by the future St. Paul’s Hospital and new Emily Carr campus.

FCFPThe False Creek Flats Plan planning process was originally launched two years ago and is now in final draft form after various stages of public input.

Here are a few details:

Existing Zoning

FCFP_1The Plan seeks to divide the plan area into four distinct sub-areas, as follows:

FCFP_2Health Hub

This area will be the main focus of development change; centered around the future St. Paul’s Hospital and will include uses that support health care and job space, as well as some new residential space.

Creative Campus

This area is located around three rapid transit stations and will be predominantly an employment area with some limited residential uses.

Terminal Spine

This area will see some modest density increases, but limited to industrial and employment uses.

Back of House

This area will continue to remain light industrial uses with a focus on food economies and a move away from low-employment uses like auto dealers and mini-storage.

For further information, take a look at the draft of the Plan here:

Social Housing Plans Unveiled for 58 West Hastings Site

A rezoning application has been submitted for a site owned by the City of Vancouver at 58 West Hastings Street. This is the large (32,228 SF) vacant lot on the South side of Hastings between Abbott and Carrall Street.

Plans for social housing on the site were first unveiled by the City back in 2016 after many years of discussion and several lengthy periods of the site being occupied as a homeless camp.

The proposal is for a ten-story mixed-use building with:

  • Seven floors of housing, with 222 social housing units;
  • 54 two-bedroom units
  • Retail and Health Care Office uses on floors 1-3;
  • One level of underground parking;
  • A total density of 6.6 FSR; and
  • A building height of 105 feet.

58 W Hastings 58 W Hastings_1 58 W Hastings_2The proposal includes a healthcare clinic and medical and dental offices will occupy the rear portion of the ground floor, as well as the second and third floors. Residential rental social housing with self-contained apartment units are located on the upper floors.

This rezoning application is being considered under the Rezoning Policy for the Downtown Eastside and the Downtown Eastside Community Plan.

The architect for the project is W.T. Leung Architects.

Market Update: City of Vancouver Adjusts DCL & CAC Rates

Next week the City of Vancouver will consider recommendations to revise DCL and CAC rates. This comes following a decision earlier this year to allow increases to CAC (Community Amenity Contribution) target rates that did not have an inflation mechanism similar to Development Cost Levies (DCL’s – which allowed inflation starting back in 2009). The intent of the increase rates is to keep revenues in line with inflation in property values and construction costs.

DCL Rate Adjustments

The City currently has a City-wide DCL District (which accounts for the majority of land area and development in the City). The proposed 4.6% annual inflationary rate adjustment would result in the following rate changes:
  • $0.60 per SF increase for higher density residential (>1.2 FSR) and commercial developments;
  • $0.20 per SF increase for industrial development; and,
  • $0.14 per SF increase for lower density residential (≤1.2 FSR) development.
  • For residential and commercial development over 1.20 FSR, the DCL rate equates to $13.91 per SF

DCL Target Rate Adjustments

For CAC Targets, the proposed inflationary increase includes a one-time catch-up for inflation not captured since target rates were first established. In the case of Southeast False Creek, the adjustment extends back to 2007 while in Little Mountain Adjacent, Norquay and Cambie the adjustment extends back to 2013, and in Marpole the adjustment dates back to 2014. The magnitude of the rate increase which includes the one-time rate catch-up ranges from 8% in Marpole, 11% in Cambie Corridor, Norquay and Little Mountain Adjacent, and 25% in Southeast False Creek ( as previously noted, the % increase is much higher in areas where the catch-up period is longer).
dcl-cacThe changes come into effect September 30th, 2016.

City of Vancouver Preparing Plan for False Creek South Land Leases

The City of Vancouver Council will receive a staff report this week providing an update and high-level strategy to deal with the long-term land leases covering much of the False Creek South neighbourhood. What will likely follow is a multi-year planning process that will pave the way for redevelopment of some portions of the land.

False Creek South covers 136 acres extending along the waterfront from the Burrard Street Bridge to the Cambie Street bridge (excluding Granville Island), and it includes 23 acres of parks. About 80% of the land is owned by the City and was developed primarily in the 1970’s as either market strata, rental apartments, or co-ops.


Most of the housing on City-owned land are on ground leases, the majority of which are set to expire between 2036 and 2046 (with one co-op expiring as early as 2022. This includes 669 residential strata units and 48 commercial strata units.


The City is now proposing to work over the balance of 2016 to establish a foundation before a new community plan is developed in the coming years. Overall work includes:

1. Lease-end Payment Methodology
City staff continue to work with the provincial government and to consult with False Creek South strata leaseholders to clarify the methodology for determining the fair market value of each strata leaseholder’s interest in the strata lot upon expiry of the strata lot lease.
2. Co-op and Non-profit Residential Leases
The GM, Community Services report back to Council in Fall 2016 with a timeline for negotiating False Creek South co-op lease renewals in context of a broader non -market housing end- of-lease strategy framework.
3. Landowner Due Diligence
In its role as the major landowner in False Creek South, the City will evaluate the costs, benefits and implications of various renewal, extension and redevelopment options while recognizing the importance of providing certainty for leaseholders.
4. Affordable Options to Remain in Neighbourhood
City staff work with the False Creek South Neighbourhood Association, to explore affordable housing options for False Creek South residents to remain in the neighbourhood, in line with the City’s affordable housing policies and programs.

Updated Grandview Woodlands Plan Unveiled

After initially launching the planning process for the Grandview Woodlands neighbourhood of East Vancouver in March 2012, the City of Vancouver has released what is expected to be the final draft of the plan that will go to Council for approval in the next few weeks.

The initial draft concept plan caused widespread opposition and resulted in the City pulling back by forming a Citizens’ Assembly and subsequently a two year process of community engagement.


The resulting draft plan, which was released this weekend, contains few surprises, but generally lays out how the area is likely to be developed in the coming years in an area forecast to grow to 43,500 people by 2041.

Here is a sub-area breakdown for those unfamiliar:

“The Drive”

GW31. Retain the existing mixed‐use zoning (4-storeys or less) throughout the core blocks of Commercial Drive.
2. Maintain the pattern of smaller, individual retail frontages to help keep The Drive eclectic and active.
3. Outside of core and only on larger sites at the East 1st Avenue node, allow buildings up to 6-storeys/3.0 FSR to provide new housing.



1. Modify regulations to discourage demolition of pre‐1940 houses.
2. Expand the duplex areas and revise regulations to encourage new infill housing.
3. Preserve the small‐scale local serving shops.
4. On arterial streets and in transition areas near transit routes on Hastings and on Broadway, allow a mix of four‐ storey apartments and rowhouses for families.
5. In the apartment district at the north end, allow buildings up to 6‐storeys / 2.4 FSR to provide renewed and additional secured rental housing while protecting character streetscapes.


1. Create a new gateway area near Clark Drive that incorporates renewed cultural, social and heritage assets, along with non‐market and other housing, with the tallest buildings at 18‐storeys. Range of densities highest at 4.0 to 5.6 FSR.
2. Improve pedestrian comfort along Hastings Street with public plazas that will activate and unify the street.
3. Support renewal and expansion of key social facilities such as those provided by the Urban Native Youth Association and the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre.
4. Step buildings down to heights in the 8‐ to 10‐storey range (3.0 – 4.0 FSR) as one goes eastward up the hill towards Victoria Drive and provide new rental and ownership housing.
5. Retain the existing mixed‐use zoning (4-storeys or less) in the Hastings Village shopping area near Nanaimo Street.
6. Allow for 100% secured market rental housing in buildings up to 6-storeys in the central portions of Hastings Street.

Cedar CoveGW5

1. Maintain the existing protected rental housing stock while allowing for managed rental replacement and new supply in buildings up to 6-storeys (2.4 FSR) in the area west of Nanaimo Street and up to 4-storeys on the eastside of Nanaimo Street.
2. Expand the neighbourhood shopping node at Dundas and Wall to allow for more services closer to home.
3. Preserve the significant character streetscapes that have been identified.
4. To the north of the shopping node, encourage expansion of Oxford Park by allowing for mixed‐use buildings in the 8 to 12-storey range (3.2 FSR).
5. Protect the city’s industrial and port‐related jobs while improving the interface with residential areas.

Britannia WoodlandGW6
1. Maintain the existing protected rental housing stock while allowing for managed rental replacement and new supply in buildings up to 6-storeys / 2.4 FSR.
2. Preserve significant character streetscapes that have been identified and allow infill housing to encourage retention of older buildings.
3. On selected blocks on Pender Street, adjacent to the new gateway neighbourhood along Hastings Street, allow buildings up to 10-storeys / 3.2 FSR  to achieve new non‐market and other housing.
4. Retain space for local jobs and improve the interface between industrial and residential uses.



1. Allow ground‐oriented housing, such as rowhouses suitable for families, along much of Nanaimo Street.
2. At commercial shopping nodes, allow mixed‐use buildings of between 4 and 6-storeys (2.0 – 3.0 FSR) to help bring new life to the local shopping nodes.
3. Improve pedestrian comfort in the public realm to activate and unify the street.

Commercial‐Broadway Station Precinct

GW91. Create a new social heart for the community with a new civic plaza as part of a renewed Safeway site with ground‐floor commercial uses and new housing in buildings ranging from 12‐ to 24‐storeys (up to 5.7 FSR).
2. Near the station, allow mixed‐use and mixed‐tenure buildings ranging from 6 to 10-storeys.
3. In the Station Precinct residential areas, maintain the existing protected rental housing stock while allowing for managed rental replacement and new supply in 4 to 6‐storey buildings and 10‐storey buildings (4.0 FSR) on larger sites, provided that all new units are secured as rental housing.
4. Allow 6‐storey buildings on East Broadway and rowhouses in selected areas to provide family housing close to transit.
5. In the low‐scale, traditional character area located west and south of the transit station, allow duplex and two‐family dwellings with a focus on infill housing to retain character buildings.
6. Create new office space close to the rapid transit station.

How quickly the Grandview Woodlands plan area develops will be partially dependent upon market conditions but will also be shaped by the way in which the City of Vancouver will allow development to proceed per the Plan.

As was the case with both the Marpole Community Plan and the West End Community Plan, the Grandview Woodlands Community Plan divides the plan area into different sub-areas; effectively rezoning many areas and leaving others to be rezoned by proponents in the future. This ensures that larger scale projects will go through a typical rezoning process and smaller duplex and rowhouse projects will simply require development permits.

The proposed two areas are broken down as follows:

City-Initiated Rezoning Areas

These areas will be effectively “rezoned” and therefore will not require a lengthy application process and public hearing for each development.

GW12Privately Initiated Rezoning Areas

The map below depicts areas that will require a developer or building owner to apply for a rezoning and go through a typical rezoning process.

GW10Community Amenity Contributions (CACs)

Below is a map outlining where there will be a fixed-rate CAC target and where CACs will be negotiated on an application basis.

GW11A full copy of the draft Grandview Woodlands Community Plan can be downloaded at the City’s website: