Provincial housing legislation changes

Overview

Staff provided a high-level summary of the key changes including the related provincial legislation at the April 9, 2024 Committee of the Whole Meeting.  

Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing

Bill 44 Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act
ItemSummaryTimeline
Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing (SSMUH) Zoning Amendment BylawThe RMOW is required to update the Zoning and Parking Bylaw No.303, 2015 to accommodate SSMUH requirements for parcels of land with zoning currently restricted to single-family detached dwellings, auxiliary suites and duplexes. Depending on parcel size, location and existing zoning, the prescribed requirements are to allow for: ,
• Auxiliary residential dwelling units on all parcels;
• A minimum of three housing units on parcels that are 280 m2 or smaller;
• A minimum of four housing units on parcels greater than 280 m2; and
• A minimum of six housing units on parcels greater than 280m2 AND within 400m of frequent bus service, as defined in the regulation. This does not apply to any parcels in Whistler.
• SSMUH zoning amendment bylaw to be completed by June 30, 2024.
 
•Staff have conducted an analysis of the applicability of SSMUH in the Whistler context and in relation to existing zoning for residential uses.

• Council endorsed a project approach and zoning bylaw framework presented at the Regular Council Meeting on April 9, 2024.
 
• Consideration of the first three reading of the updated Proposed Bylaw took place at the Regular Council meeting on Tuesday, May 14,  2024. View copy of the updated proposed bylaw here Zoning Amendment Bylaw (Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing) No. 2440, 2024.

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Areas

Bill 47 Housing Statutes (Transit-Oriented Areas) Amendment Act
ItemSummaryTimeline
Designate TOD AreaThe RMOW is required to designate the Whistler Gondola Exchange as a TOD area by bylaw.
 
A TOD area is an area within a set distance from a transit station, that allows for a minimum allowable residential building height and density that local governments must adhere to when considering rezoning applications for residential development.
 
The prescribed TOD area is applicable to parcels of land within 400 metres of the Whistler Gondola Exchange.
• TOD regulations come into effect June 30, 2024.
 
• Council endorsed a project approach presented at the Regular Council Meeting on April 9, 2024.

• Staff are completing an analysis to identify the parcels within the designated TOD area along with a zoning analysis to determine eligible residential properties.
Update Parking Requirements – Zoning Bylaw AmendmentA Zoning and Parking Bylaw No.303, 2015 amendment is required to remove residential off-street parking requirements in the TOD area.

Pro-Active Planning

Bill 44 Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act
ItemSummaryTimeline
Public hearing processPublic hearings are prohibited for residential developments that are consistent with the Official Community Plan (OCP).
 
Public hearings will continue to be required for zoning bylaw amendments related to non-residential amendments and OCP amendments.
• Now applicable
Interim Housing Needs ReportNew provincial guidance will be released to provide updated methodology for Housing Needs Reports, including 20-year housing needs projections. The RMOW must update the 2022 Housing Needs Report accordingly.
 
Moving forward, Housing Needs Reports are required to be updated every five years.
• Staff are awaiting pending provincial guidance, expected early 2024
 
• Staff anticipate presenting the Interim Housing Needs Report to Council in Winter 2024
 
• To be completed by January 1, 2025
Official Community Plan AmendmentAn OCP amendment is required to provide for housing needs identified in the Interim Housing Needs Report and align with SSMUH Zoning Bylaw amendments.
 
Moving forward, the OCP is required to be updated every five years to reflect the Housing Needs Report.
• Pending provincial guidance June/July 2024
 
• These items will be completed after the completion of the Interim Housing Needs Report
 
• Both the OCP amendment and zoning bylaw amendment are to be completed by December 31, 2025
Zoning amendment bylawThe Zoning and Parking Bylaw No.303, 2015 is required to be updated to align with the OCP and Housing Needs Report

Development Finance Tools

Bill 46 Housing Statutes (Development Financing) Amendment Act
ItemSummaryTimeline
Expanded Development Cost Charges (DCC) ScopeThe scope of infrastructure that can be funded by DCCs has been expanded to include fire protection facilities, police facilities and solid waste facilities.• DCCs and ACCs are under review by staff.
 
• Staff anticipate presenting a proposed project approach for Council consideration at a later date in 2024
Amenity Cost Charges (ACC) IntroducedACCs are a new optional finance tool to allow local governments to collect funds for amenities including community centres, daycares and libraries from new development.

Read more about the impacts of the provincial housing initiatives on Whistler below. 

The Province’s new Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing (SSMUH) requirements aim to provide a range of ground-oriented housing types that fit within existing single-family neighbourhoods. The RMOW is currently updating the Zoning and Parking Bylaw to allow more dwelling units in 40 zones, which are currently restricted to single-family detached dwellings, auxiliary suites, and duplexes. 

In most Whistler neighbourhoods this will allow up to three or four small-scale units per single-family or duplex lot, depending on the lot size. This could include attached and detached auxiliary residential dwelling units, triplexes, rowhomes, townhomes or apartments.  

The prescribed number of units allowed depends on the parcel size, location (within the Whistler Urban Development Containment Area), existing zoning, municipal water and sewer servicing, and proximity to a bus stop with frequent transit service.  

For example, in Whistler’s restricted zones the new rules allow for: 

  • An (attached or detached) auxiliary residential dwelling unit like a secondary suite, carriage house, lane/garage house, or garden suite on all parcels (in most Whistler zones, secondary suites are already allowed);  
  • A minimum of three housing units on parcels that are 280 m2 or smaller; and 
  • A minimum of four housing units on parcels greater than 280 m2 and smaller than 4,050 square metres. 

Council also endorsed guiding principles and an initial zoning framework with direction for the preparation of the necessary SSMUH zoning bylaw, as presented in the April 9 Council report.

Whistler’s Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing (SSMUH) Zoning Bylaw Amendment must be adopted by Council by June 30, 2024. 

Learn about small-scale multi-unit housing on the provincial website

Council updates

Bylaw testing

Once the SSMUH Zoning Amendment Bylaw is adopted, the RMOW will engage two to three teams of professionals with expertise in construction, building, architecture, and real estate valuation to test the bylaw. They will create and evaluate different development scenarios to help us understand the: 

  • practicality of the zoning regulations 
  • economic viability of development (including construction costs, pricing for market and employee-designated units, and potential return on investment), and 
  • potential uptake of SSMUH development opportunities. 

After this, we may share feasible and viable examples to encourage uptake in the community. If we identify any significant barriers through bylaw testing, we may recommend bylaw changes for Council’s consideration. 

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is a land use planning approach that locates high-density, mixed-used development within walking distance from frequent transit services. 

According to the new provincial rules, the RMOW must designate the Whistler Gondola Exchange as a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Area: 

  • This will allow for a minimum residential building height and density (including some six-unit parcels), when Whistler considers rezoning applications for residential development within 400 metres of the Whistler Gondola Exchange. 
  • In this TOD Area, the RMOW will be prohibited from requiring off-street residential parking spaces, except for use by persons with disabilities.  

The new TOD Area is already developed, so this zoning amendment bylaw will have little impact on Whistler. 

View a map of the Whistler Gondola Exchange Transit Oriented Development Area and an aerial view of this area. 

Next steps

  • The RMOW is required to designate the Whistler Gondola Exchange as a TOD area in its zoning bylaws. 
  • Council needs to adopt an amendment to its Zoning and Parking Bylaw by June 30, 2024 to remove off-street parking requirements for its Transit Oriented Development Area. 

Learn about transit oriented development areas on the provincial website

The new provincial housing initiatives require local governments to engage in more proactive planning to identify their long-term housing needs, and then update zoning to meet those needs. 

To do this, the RMOW must: 

  1. Update Whistler’s 2022 Housing Needs Report by January 1, 2025 to understand current housing needs and project anticipated housing needs for the next 20 years; 
  1. Engage the community and review and update Whistler’s Official Community Plan (OCP) by December 31, 2025 to provide for projected housing needs; and 
  1. Update the zoning bylaw regularly to allow for the uses and density required to meet anticipated housing needs for the next 20 years and align with the housing needs report and OCP.  

After their initial updates, the Whistler Housing Needs Report and OCP need to be updated every five years. Both documents need to forecast and plan for anticipated housing needs for the next 20 years. 

Public hearings prohibited for residential rezonings consistent with OCP 

To speed up development of additional housing units, the Province has prohibited public hearings for residential rezoning applications that are consistent with the Official Community Plan. Instead, community members will be engaged during OCP updates every five years. 

Public hearings will continue to be required for the Official Community Plan updates or rezonings for projects that are not consistent with the OCP. Community members can still engage with Council about housing projects through other municipal channels.  

Next steps

  • In summer 2024, the Province will provide guidance to municipalities for updating their housing needs reports, Official Community Plans and zoning bylaws. 
  • The RMOW needs to complete an interim Housing Needs Report by January 1, 2025. This will help to inform updates to the Official Community Plan by December 31, 2025. 

Learn about proactive planning on the provincial website.

The Province recognizes that increasing the supply of residential housing will result in increased demand for municipal services and infrastructure.  

With the new provincial housing initiatives the RMOW will have access to updated development finance tools including: 

  • expanded scope of infrastructure that can be funded by Development Cost Charges (DCCs) to include fire protection facilities, police facilities, and solid waste facilities; and  
  • new Amenity Cost Charges (ACCs) that can be used to collect funds from new development for amenities like communities, daycares, and libraries. 

Whistler currently imposes Works and Services Charges on new development and will need to adopt bylaws related to DCCs and ACCs. 

Next steps

  • Staff needs to analyze how the SSMUH and TOD Area changes will affect demand for municipal infrastructure and services, including: 
  • An early review of infrastructure capacity in larger single-family neighbourhoods, and  
  • Long-term updates to water and wastewater plans, which will inform discussions about development cost charges and the OCP update due by December 31, 2025.  
  • Staff plan to present a proposed project approach for Council consideration later in 2024.  

Learn about development finance tools on the provincial website