Zoning Bylaw Update

Join us to learn about how we will update our Zoning Bylaw and how you can provide input!

Community Pop-Up| Saturday, June 3, 10am-2pm, Civic Plaza (14th and Lonsdale)

Learn about how zoning shapes the city
Provide your input
Games, a Lego Station and prize draws

The City is modernizing its Zoning Bylaw.

What the Zoning Bylaw is and What it Does

If you’ve renovated your home, or started a business in the City, you likely have had to access the Zoning Bylaw. The Zoning Bylaw is a primary tool for guiding how the City changes over time. It regulates how land is used, including the size, shape and location of buildings, and what uses are permitted within them. 

For example, before a license can be approved for a new business, or a building permit can be issued for a renovation or new construction, these must be reviewed by City staff and deemed consistent with the Zoning Bylaw.

Why We're Modernizing the Zoning Bylaw

This project gives us an opportunity to modernize the Zoning Bylaw and make it a more accessible document for everyone who needs to use it.

The City’s first Zoning Bylaw was adopted in 1953 and was replaced in 1967. Our current Zoning Bylaw was adopted in 1995, but the structure and content were largely kept the same as the 1967 Bylaw. A great deal has changed over the last several decades and, while there have been amendments to the Zoning Bylaw over the years, a comprehensive update has not been undertaken.  

We Need the Community's Input in this Process

There will be several opportunities for the community and stakeholders to get involved and provide input throughout this project over the next two years. Your input is important because it helps us create a Zoning Bylaw that meets your needs when you need to work with it.

Watch for upcoming ways to get involved: 

What the New Zoning Bylaw Could Look Like

The City will be transitioning from a traditional Zoning Bylaw that is heavy on text and technical jargon to a more modern Zoning Bylaw that is simplified and easy to use, with more visuals and a greater focus on how buildings frame the street and other public spaces. This is called a “form-based” approach to zoning. 

    What if you want to add a coach house to your property or renovate your home?

    Imagine a Zoning Bylaw that's easy to navigate, which includes graphics and diagrams that clearly communicate what you can do with your building and property.. 

    What if you want to open a business in the City and need to plan where to locate your business?

    Imagine a Zoning Bylaw with a web-based interface that allows you to better understand the technical application of concepts such as building setbacks, density calculations, and parking requirements.

    What if you're a developer wanting to know how to plan a new property development in the City?

    Imagine a Zoning Bylaw that clearly outlines the City’s land use and urban design objectives, with visual graphics and diagrams, and intuitive organizing tables.

Take a look at a page from the existing Zoning Bylaw:

example of existing Zoning Bylaw

Here are some example Zoning Bylaws that demonstrate how we could improve our Zoning Bylaw:

example of aspirational Zoning Bylaw

What We'll Achieve Through this Project

The city’s objectives for this project include:

  • Quality Urban Design and Placemaking: Greater focus on strengthening the relationship between the street, public realm, and the shape and form of buildings.
  • Engaging and Accessible: Plain language that's easily understood, with highly accessible language, greater use of visual graphics, diagrams, tables and charts, which is available print and interactive online formats.
  • Simple to Use and Easier to Administer: A more user-friendly Zoning Bylaw that contains useful zones, allows a streamlined permitting process, is hyperlinked, and has a clearer amendment record system.
  • Integrated Approach: A Zoning Bylaw that supports the implementation of the Official Community Plan and other policy and guideline objectives, such as the Council Strategic Plan, the City’s Mobility Strategy, and the Housing Action Plan.
  • Innovative and Equitable: A Zoning Bylaw with flexibility and social consciousness in mind, to enable innovative and equitable responses to emerging and future social issues, including a broader range of housing forms, climate resiliency, and economic development, among others.

What a Modernized Zoning Bylaw Allows Us to Do

What does success look like once we have modernized our Zoning Bylaw? A modernized Zoning Bylaw will help us to achieve our policy goals:

Building Complete and Sustainable Communities by enabling access to daily needs closer to where people live and work, with a focus on sustainable city building;

Improving Housing Diversity and Livability by allowing for a greater mix of housing types;

Aligning Parking Requirements based on context and the different ways people move around the City for both conventional and electric vehicles, bicycles, and other mobility devices;

Improving the Way Buildings and Streets Work Together using a design-focused approach so that new buildings help to improve the street and other public spaces;

Streamlining Development Approvals by making the bylaw itself more clear, accessible and easy to use; and

Supporting Future Opportunities by creating a more resilient and adaptable zoning bylaw that can respond to emerging and future needs of the City.

What Zoning Looks Like in the City

What does zoning look like in our City? Take a look at these neighbourhoods: 

Zoning of Central Lonsdale (mid- to high-density mixed-use)

examples of Central Lonsdale zoning
examples of Marine Drive zoning

In areas like Central Lonsdale and Marine Drive, commercial uses like restaurants, salons and cafes are permitted, and the buildings are built right to the property line. If the zoning also allows for residential use, the buildings may have residential units above restaurants, service, retail and office uses. These streets can feel lively, with lots of people walking around and many shops and businesses. 

Zoning of Grand Boulevard & Tempe Neighbourhoods (low-density residential)

house - example of residential zoning
example of residential zoning

In these neighbourhoods, the Zoning Bylaw permits only single-family dwellings and accessory units. Houses are set back at least 15 feet from the property line. These neighbourhoods typically feel less busy due to limits on building size and the lack of restaurants, retail and employment opportunities. 

Other Zoning Types

example of other zoning - Victoria Park
example of other zoning - industrial

Other areas are zoned for industrial uses, like the waterfront lands east of the Shipyards, institutional uses, like schools and Lions Gate Hospital, or parks, which include streams, playgrounds and the numerous outdoor facilities and open spaces like Mahon Park, Grand Boulevard, Victoria Park and other neighbourhood parks. 

Project Timeline and Engagement Opportunities

The project will be completed in three phases - with opportunities for engagement throughout.

Phase 1 – Building Awareness & Input | Spring-Fall 2023

Building awareness of the project and providing opportunities for the public to participate in the update of the Zoning Bylaw.


Phase 2 – Developing the New Zoning Bylaw | Fall 2023-Summer 2024

Drafting the new Zoning Bylaw, and testing the visual communication approaches to ensure that it meets the needs of potential users.


Phase 3 – New Zoning Bylaw Approvals and Implementation | Summer-Fall 2024

Preparation of the updated draft zoning bylaw, and development of the interactive online Zoning Bylaw. 

Stay Informed

For more information on this initiative please subscribe to our mailing list by emailing ZoningUpdate@cnv.org.


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