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The End of Single Family Zoning in BC

The BC government has proposed a radical zoning reform which will end the era of single family zoning. The new legislation and regulations will allow one main residence and a secondary suite or laneway house on every property in BC. Additionally, in communities with a population of over 5000 people, the legislation will also require municipal bylaws to allow for:

  • 3-4 units to be permitted on lots currently zoned for single family or duplex

  • 6 units permitted on larger lots currently zoned for single family or duplex and close to transit stops.

Municipalities will be allowed to permit more density but not less. The new laws will also require municipalities to expedite and streamline permitting processes and phase out one-off public hearings for rezonings that are consistent with the official community plans. If a project aligns with the official community plan, then no public hearing will be required.

To support the new legislation the government will provide $51 million dollars to municipalities to support all the changes required for compliance.


Most new developments are either single family homes or high rise condos. Currently the bylaws to build a triplex or fourplex are extremely cumbersome, time-consuming and costly, leading the majority of builders to focus on the single family homes or high-rises. This new legislation aims to address the "missing middle". These small-scale multi unit developments are called SSMU.


This means that local governments will no longer be able to zone a neighbourhood for exclusively single-family homes. For SSMU projects within 400m of a transit stop there will be no minimum parking requirements. Local governments will have until June 30, 2024 to update their bylaws to align with SSMU zoning.


Additionally, after this legislation is rolled out the BC government will also be doing a pilot project offering up to $40,000 rebate for people who have built a secondary residence on their property.


If you have questions about what all this could mean for you, please contact us!


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