These proposed changes are part of the Homes For People Action Plan to create more housing that is within reach for people. This includes building homes for the “missing middle”.
The proposed changes will be province wide and local governments will be required to enable small scale multi-unit housing development by updating their bylaws to allow this.
This includes permitting:
These are meant to be applied to municipalities over 5,000 people and the number of units on a lot will depend on lot size.
Housing needs report: going forward, a standard method will be applied for this report across the province for a better understanding of housing needs currently and over the next 20 years.
Official community plans: the OCP will now be required to be updated every 5 years to plan for the growth over the next 20 years.
Municipal bylaws/zoning: small scale multi-unit homes will now be zoned upfront which eliminates the long zoning process for row and townhomes.
Rezoning is currently a lengthy process with public hearings and is occurring for many one-offs even if the rezoning application is in line with the official community plan (OCP). These changes will phase this process out if consistent with the OCP.
It is important to note that any building permitting and rezoning outside the scope of small scale multi-unit housing will still need to be approved by local governments.
More information can be found on the Government of BC’s website or at the technical briefing on this topic linked here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Housing_Tech_Brief_Nov_01_2023.pdf