OCP Implementation Projects

A number of major projects will be conducted over the next five years that will implement the actions and policies in the OCP. Key implementation projects that are planned or underway are described below.

    The City is monitoring the implementation of laneway and carriage houses, and townhouses and rowhouses.

    The goal is to understand the progress of the Infill Housing Program: Phase One in providing more housing choice for New Westminster residents. The following kinds of information will be evaluated:

    • number of laneway/carriage houses and infill townhouse/rowhouses approved and constructed
    • distribution of these projects across the city
    • property or site characteristics of projects
    • quality of physical design
    • common difficulties encountered by applicants
    • feedback from neighbours and other community members


    Staff will make recommendations to Council about refinements to the program based on this evaluation. This could include refinements to the design guidelines, zoning regulations, and/or approval process. Staff may also recommend changes to the Official Community Plan (OCP) Land Use Designation Map should findings suggest that more properties be designated to allow for ground oriented infill housing.

    A one-year interim report was presented to Council on February 2, 2019, which included a summary of the first year of the Infill Housing Program and zoning changes to improve the design of laneway and carriage houses, and infill townhouses and rowhouses.

    The changes to the laneway and carriage house zoning allow larger accessible garage spaces for fully accessible units, and additional permitted area for covered front entry landings, un-covered upper level decks and externally-accessed bicycle storage areas. The changes to the infill townhouse and rowhouse zoning allowed for increased floor area in basements. Please review the Council report and Zoning Bylaw amendments to learn more.  

    Community consultation about more comprehensive revisions the program will take place in 2019. The feedback received will be considered alongside other data to inform recommendations for program refinements. The proposed refinements will be presented to Council for their consideration. 

    Do you and your neighbours think infill townhouses, infill rowhouses or other types of ground-oriented infill housing are right for your block?

    As part of the monitoring program, the City is considering limited changes to the OCP Land Use Designation Map to designate more properties Residential – Infill Townhouse (RT) or Residential – Ground Oriented Housing (RGO). These changes would only be recommended if there were substantial support among the landowners of multiple adjacent parcels, and the location was consistent with other City policies and regulations. Changing the OCP land use designation would create an opportunity for affected property owners to apply for a rezoning to permit the construction of infill housing.

    To identify your block for consideration, please contact plnpost@newwestcity.ca


    Phase One Infill Housing Forms

    Laneway and Carriage Houses

    Laneway and carriage houses are small, detached, ground oriented dwellings located in back yards. Laneway houses are located on properties that are accessible from a lane. Carriage houses are located on properties without lanes. Laneway and carriage houses can be used for family or as rental units.

    Interested in building a laneway of carriage house? Click here to learn more.

    Townhouses and Rowhouses

    Townhouses and rowhouses are attached, ground oriented units. Rowhouses are fee simple developments with parking on each fee simple lot. Townhouses are strata title developments which may have shared or designated parking typically at the rear of the property.

    Interested in building infill townhouses or rowhouses?


    Providing more housing choice is a key focus of the Official Community Plan. In New Westminster, this means encouraging more ground oriented housing forms. Typically a ground oriented unit has a separate, exterior door directly onto the street (without passing through a common lobby or corridor).

    The forms of ground oriented housing that received the most support during the development of the OCP were laneway and carriage houses, and townhouses and rowhouses. These forms were the focus of Phase One of the Infill Housing Program, and are now permitted within the appropriate land use designations and zoning districts. Council adopted the following amendments to implement the Program:

    Adding two new land use designations to the OCP to enable infill townhouse and rowhouse development and other types of ground oriented housing

    • Changing the land use designation in some parts of the city to the new Residential – Infill Townhouse (RT) or Residential – Ground Oriented Infill Housing (RGO) designations
    • Changing the Zoning Bylaw to permit and regulate laneway and carriage houses in most single detached dwelling districts in the city
    • Adding a new district to the Zoning Bylaw to permit and regulate infill townhouse and rowhouse developments
    • Creating guidelines for laneway and carriage houses, and for infill townhouses and rowhouses, that apply to new development in the associated Development Permit Areas

    Because these housing forms are new to New Westminster, in October 2017 Council also endorsed a two-year monitoring program to collect data about its progress and assess whether any refinements should be made.

  • Bent Court is designated as a Study Area in the OCP because of its unique heritage assets. In the future, Bent Court is envisioned as a mixed use and mixed density area with preserved heritage features and streetscape characteristics. Reaching this vision requires the City to facilitate consolidation options that can help to preserve heritage assets while providing viable options for achieving existing development entitlements.

    The City will work to develop a plan for the area that identifies appropriate tools and incentives for conserving heritage assets through viable development. Tools may include a Heritage Revitalization Agreement or density transfer program. Incentives may include more flexible parking requirements, waiving the required commercial space requirements, or sale of City-owned rights of way. To facilitate consolidation options which preserve heritage assets and which provide opportunity to achieve development entitlements, an Advance Consolidation Plan will be created.

    The City anticipates work on the Bent Court Study Area will begin in 2019. 

  • Lower Twelfth and Sharpe Street are designated as a Study Area in the OCP because of the unique mix of uses in both areas. In the future, these areas are envisioned to provide a non-traditional mix of uses including ultra-light industrial, residential, retail and service commercial within individual buildings and projects. Reaching this vision requires the City to develop a Master Plan, including guidelines and a strategy for appropriately transitioning the mix of uses, location of uses and general expected densities in the area. Further, this Master Plan will explore adaptive reuse of existing heritage buildings and the provision of affordable ‘maker spaces’. This Master Plan is subject to a public consultation process.

    The City anticipates work on the Lower Twelfth and Sharpe Street Master Plan will begin in 2020, and will include a public consultation component. Catalyst projects may be considered in advance of the Master Plan if the project meets the objectives of the area and sets a high standard for design and development patterns. Other catalyst projects in the area that strongly support other City priorities may also be considered.