The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) will begin the process of terminating land use contracts, which guide the use of many properties in the community, this year following a presentation to Council on May 3.
In Whistler land use is regulated by the zoning and parking bylaw or by land use contracts.
A land use contract is a contract between a property owner and a local government that governs the use and development of property (i.e. how the land is used, building siting and density).
Provincial legislation enabling land use contracts was only in effect for a short period of time during the 1970s; however, more than 2,600 properties in Whistler are still regulated by eight land use contracts.
Until recently, property owners and the municipality had to agree to amend or terminate a land use contract. In 2014, the Province of British Columbia passed legislation, which specifies that all land use contracts in British Columbia will automatically be terminated on June 30, 2024. Municipalities are required to enact zoning regulations for all properties affected by land use contracts before this, and municipalities may choose to terminate contracts prior to 2024, if zoning is in place for the affected lands.
The RMOW will begin the zoning and termination process for properties affected by land use contracts this year, and one to three land use contracts will be terminated each year, until the process is completed.
What does this mean for property owners?
If your property is regulated by a land use contract, it will be terminated before 2024. Each land use contract termination and rezoning requires a bylaw approved by Council. A public hearing and notification of property owners is required before Council can approve bylaws that would confirm the rezoning and land use contract termination.
Once a land use contract is terminated, the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s (RMOW’s) zoning and other municipal bylaws will govern the use and development of the property. Zoning takes effect one year from the date the land use contract is terminated.
How do I determine whether I have a land use contract for my property?
You can check to see if your property is in a land use contract area using Whistler’s GIS interactive mapping tool. Copies of land use contracts are registered on the title of the affected properties and can be obtained from the BC Land Title and Survey Authority.
Does the RMOW require the consent of landowners before a land use contract can be terminated?
No, unlike the previous land use contract termination process, which required the consent of the landowner, new provincial legislation allows the RMOW to terminate a land use contract without the consent of the landowner. Property owners and tenants will be notified by mail and a notice will be placed in the local newspaper. In addition, property owners, tenants and members of the public will have the right to make representations at a public hearing.
How will the municipality keep property owners informed?
Updates, including draft zoning regulations and schedules for terminating the land use contracts, will be posted at whistler.ca/landusecontracts.
The RMOW will host two public meetings annually during the land use contract termination process:
- A general information session on the land use contract termination process
- A property owner information session where property owners with land use contracts scheduled for termination that year can obtain specific information about the proposed zoning and termination process.
Residents can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will the land use contract termination affect the ability to develop my property?
Wherever possible, the RMOW will “transfer” the regulations from each land use contract into the zoning bylaw; however, this is not an exact process. Also, many rules in land use contracts are no longer lawful and cannot be transferred to zoning or other bylaws (e.g. land use contracts that exempt properties from all future land use bylaws or do not meet current environmental regulations).
The RMOW will make every attempt to ensure that existing development will comply with the new zoning regulations. If this is not possible, existing buildings and structures, which were lawfully built, will have legal non-conforming protection under Division 14 of the Local Government Act.
Can property owners appeal the termination of the land use contract affecting their property?
While all land use contracts will be terminated by 2024, property owners can appeal to the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s Board of Variance for temporary exemption from early termination of a land use contract.
The Board of Variance may grant an exemption if it finds that early termination of the land use contract will cause undue hardship. The application must be made within six months of the adoption of the land use contract termination bylaw.
Download answers to other Frequently Asked Questions.