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Density Bonusing

The creation of new amenities in a growing community is intended not only to help offset the impacts of development but to help make the community more livable for the longer term. In 2015 Council endorsed the Density Bonus and Community Benefits Policy in 2015 to provide a greater degree of certainty regarding the purpose and value of community benefit contributions that occur in conjunction with development applications.

A review of the policy one year later led to consideration of an increase in the cash contribution rate, alignment of the policy with the City’s new Housing Action Plan and additional wording to improve clarity of the policy. Input on the proposed changes was sought from the community and key stakeholders in the spring of 2017.


Policy Update

Following the review process, in July 2017 Council endorsed a revised Density Bonus and Community Benefits Policy which will come into effect on January 1, 2018. The major changes on the updated policy include an increase in the Community Benefit contribution rates, clarification in the wording of the policy and its applicability and other adjustments as outlined in the staff report.



Complete Communities

Density is the ratio of the building size to the lot size. By increasing density, less land is used to house more people.

 

By creating dense, "complete" communities, the City can provide better service and support at less cost. When people can find everything they need in one place, they depend less on cars. Public transit and walking become viable transportation options, contributing to the overall environmental health of the community. By concentrating growth in centres, the City aims to build more efficient communities and reduce urban sprawl.

More and more people are choosing to live and work in the City as it offers a quality of life that is attractive to both residents and businesses. But population growth means higher demand for City resources and services, which in turn places pressure on community infrastructure. Taking into account that the City has limited land to develop, the City must consider innovative, sustainable ways to effectively manage growth.


Delivering Community Amenities & Public Benefits through Development

Density Bonusing benefits can be found throughout the City.

Seismic Upgrades

Ridgeway and Queen Mary Elementary Schools

City Library
The City Library building was built with funds achieved through density bonuses.
Public Amenities

Public access to the Pinnacle Hotel pool through North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission was made possible by density bonuses.

Public Art
Public art in the City is made possible through density bonuses.


Density Bonus & Community Benefits Policy

In 2015 Council endorsed a new policy (updated in 2017) that provides a greater degree of certainty regarding the purpose and value of community benefit contributions that may occur in conjunction with development applications. The policy outlines the types of community benefits possible through development applications and in conjunction with the 2014 Official Community Plan. The policy guides Council in making decisions to density bonus requests and includes guidance on the following types of community benefits:

  • Amenity Fund Contributions (funds that help pay for civic amenities)
  • Secured Rental Housing (ensuring there is quality rental housing options for future generations)
  • Employment Generation (creating jobs close to where people live)
  • Heritage Conservation (ensuring the cultural heritage of the City is not lost during redevelopment)

Density Bonusing: Allowing an additional level of density as outlined in the OCP in exchange for amenities or housing needed by the community.



The policy is intended to ensure that new development contributes to the long-term livability of the community by providing contributions towards major civic amenities which could include:

  • Harry Jerome Community Centre
  • Waterfront Amenity Spaces (Lot 5)
  • Park and public open space improvement
  • Child Care Facilities
  • Museum
  • Other Civic Amenities

 

Density Bonuses vs Infrastructure Upgrades – What’s the difference?

 

 

Infrastructure upgrades are part of all development projects and need to be factored into the costs. Upgrades to a single family home, duplex, mid or a highrise, all necessitate infrastructure upgrades which are a requirement. Some of these upgrades are requirements of City bylaws, some can be paid for by developer fees and contributions, and some may be additional requirements by the City to mitigate the impacts of new density.

Density bonuses or amenity contributions should be an expected part of nearly all projects that seek rezoning and added density allowance as set out in the Density Bonus and Community Benefits Policy. Amenity contributions are therefore typically in addition to the infrastructure upgrades costs for each project.

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