Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Commuters paradise: BC introduces requirements for housing density near transit hubs


In another concerted effort to reign in the housing crisis and provide more homes for more people, the BC government has introduced legislation for new requirements surrounding housing density near transit hubs. 

What this means is, within a certain distance from certain transit hot spots, new buildings will have to be up to spec on how many people can be housed there. 

“Building more homes near transit is good for people, communities, and helps make the most of transit, infrastructure and services,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. 

“But layers of regulations and outdated rules are stopping this kind of development from becoming a reality in too many municipalities. That’s why we are taking action to remove barriers and deliver more transit-oriented communities, faster,” he continued. 

BC says they have committed around $400 million to build thousands of homes around transit centres in the next 10 to 15 years. 

However, the Province has hit many roadblocks thus far in this plan. They say that restrictive zoning bylaws, parking requirements and delayed development approvals are all slowing down progress.

This new legislation would require municipalities to designate Transit Oriented Development Areas (TOD Areas) near transit hubs. 

These TOD Areas would be within 800 metres of any rapid transit station, such as a SkyTrain station, and within 400 metres of a ‘transit station.’

In this bill, a ‘transit station’ is defined as bus stop, bus exchange, passenger rail station or other transit facility.

This could potentially include all 2354 bus stops in the Victoria Regional Transit System alone.

According to the new legislation, within 400 metres of those areas, all new builds will have to be between up to 6 and 10 storeys and be either a mid-rise building or townhouse. 

In addition to that, restrictive parking minimums will be assessed on a project-by-project basis.

According to BC, preliminary analysis could see around 100,000 new units in TOD Areas over the next 10 years.

A policy manual will be created to support municipalities in navigating these new policies. 

Curtis Blandy

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