Province introducing legislation to speed up delivery of homes near transit hubs

Housing, transit must mix

Municipalities in B.C. will be required to speed up the approval of housing applications near designated transit hubs if new proposed legislation is passed.

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon announced the proposed new legislation Wednesday as a way to "speed up the delivery of homes and encourage more communities near the transit, services and amenities that make life better for people."

If it passes, he says the legislation would build on work already underway to facilitate more transit-oriented development while tackling the housing crisis.

The province says it is working at leveraging public land to build more affordable housing within connected and livable communities.

While some higher density neighbourhoods have been established around transit hubs, the province says in other instances delayed approvals and restrictive zoning bylaws have slowed delivery of other projects.

To combat this, the province says legislation will also require municipalities to designate Transit Oriented Development Areas near transit hubs.

Those are defined as land within 800 metres of a rapid transit station and 400 metres of a bus exchange where passengers transfer from one route to another.

In those areas, municipalities will be required to:

  • permit housing developments that meet provincial standards for allowable height and density. The minimum allowable height and density is based on tiers - at its highest in the centre of the TOD Area - and will differ based on the type of transit hub (SkyTrain stop/bus exchange) and a municipality's size, population and location.
  • remove restrictive parking minimums and allow for parking to be determined by need and demand on a project-by-project basis.
  • utilize standards and details in the provincial policy manual to provide consistency in the approach to developing TOD Areas.

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