City of Vancouver to pre-zone Cambie Corridor properties to speed up 1,600 new townhomes

Apr 6 2023, 9:33 pm

In an effort to speed up housing supply, the City of Vancouver will pre-zone 220 parcels within the Cambie Corridor Plan area to expedite the review and approval process for simple gentle densification applications.

The forthcoming municipal-initiated rezoning for properties that are currently RS-1 and RT-1 zoning to RM-8A/AN zoning will potentially expedite 1,600 townhome and rowhouse units. These changes would be in alignment with the prescribed uses outlined by the Cambie Corridor Plan.

Currently, proponents need to submit an individual rezoning application for the project, but the municipal-initiated rezoning would have the blanket effect of pre-zoning these properties.

With the necessary zoning changes already made, proponents for townhouse and rowhouse redevelopments on these sites — mainly currently occupied with single-family houses — would be able to skip the lengthy rezoning application process and go directly to the development permit application process. Without having to go through rezoning, the proposals would able to reduce about 10 to 12 months of processing time, plus associated fees.

cambie street corridor townhouse prezoning 2023 vancouver

2023: Areas highlighted in blue within the Cambie Street Corridor will be pre-zoned to allow townhouses. (City of Vancouver)

City staff chose the cluster of locations for pre-zoning based on an analysis that shows off-site utility upgrades are not required.

Such changes could also potentially allow City staff resources to be reallocated elsewhere, such as for reviewing and processing more complex rezoning applications. It would also significantly reduce the number of simple townhouse items that go to public hearings with City Council, with the time reallocated towards other more complex rezoning proposals.

“City-initiated rezonings minimize the need for individual site-specific rezoning applications. This approach streamlines the development process, provides certainty for future applicants, and helps reduce the costs and risks associated with developer-initiated rezoning,” state City staff.

Next week, City Council is expected to approve City staff’s request to initiate the process for pre-zoning the highlighted sites. The mass rezoning will ultimately be decided in a public hearing with City Council.

In 2018, the municipal government also previously pre-zoned 167 lots to RM-8A/AN zoning for townhouses — equivalent to 15% of the total townhouse-eligible areas within the Cambie Corridor Plan. These initial areas also did not require off-site sewer upgrades.

According to City staff, since 2018, RM-8A/AN areas in the Cambie Corridor Plan have led to 625 units approved, under construction, or completed. City Council has approved nearly 60 developer-initiated RM-8A/AN rezoning applications, which represent about 20% of all public hearing items in one year.

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