We have put together a list of frequent questions we hear during the Master Plan process. We will continue to add to this list as more questions arise.
CAN MY PROPERTY BE REDEVELOPED DURING THE MASTER PLAN PROCESS?
Yes. Landowners can apply to develop their property according to current zoning regulations at any time. The master planning process is intended to inform the future development of the area from a variety of perspectives, including land use, urban design, transportation, parks and open space, and servicing. To make sure that development projects are consistent with the overall planning objectives for the area, City staff has recommended to Council that the Master Plan be adopted, with appropriate changes amended into the Official Community Plan, prior to any rezoning applications being considered within this area.
WHAT CAN I BUILD ON MY PROPERTY WHEN THE MASTER PLAN IS ADOPTED?
Landowners will be able to apply to build the same things they are allowed to build today, according to their existing zoning. After the Master Plan is adopted, the zoning of the property would need to be changed (through a rezoning process) before a landowner can build the new land uses envisioned in the Plan. The proposed redevelopment would need to be consistent with the Master Plan for Council to consider supporting the application.
CAN I CONTINUE WITH MY CURRENT LAND USE ON MY PROPERTY AFTER THE MASTER PLAN IS ADOPTED?
Yes. There is no obligation for landowners to change their existing land use. For many people their current land use, such as a single detached house, is right for them and will continue to be part of the neighbourhood. Regardless of whether a landowner is thinking of selling their property, changing its land use or keeping the current land use, landowners can make an appointment to discuss their options with City staff by emailing .
HOW AND WHEN WILL DEVELOPMENT HAPPEN?
Gradually over time. Redevelopment only happens when several elements combine to make a feasible project. First, a developer must be interested in proposing a project in the area, which means they feel confident that their proposal fits with City policy, that the project would be financially viable, and that there is sufficient market demand for the built units. Second, redevelopment requires lot assembly, which means current landowners must be willing to sell their properties to a developer to allow for consolidation. Finally, redevelopment requires rezoning and a Development Permit, which are subject to community consultation and Council approval.
HOW DOES REDEVELOPMENT HELP PAY FOR COMMUNITY AMENITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE?
The City uses a combination of tools to ensure that development helps pay for the capital costs (i.e. the new or upgraded streets, sewers, affordable housing, parks and other services) generated by population growth.
First, a developer is obligated to provide (or upgrade) all the infrastructure within and immediately adjacent to the development site, as well as other services that the development triggers for an upgrade. This includes water, electrical, sidewalks, street lighting, etc. All infrastructure must be constructed to meet current City standards.
Second, Development Cost Charges (DCCs) are levied on new development to fund City transportation, drainage, water and sanitary infrastructure, as well as parkland acquisition and development. The DCC rates are based on a detailed analysis of the infrastructure investment that will be required to support the expected growth. The City also collects DCCs on behalf of Metro Vancouver to pay for regional sanitary sewer and drainage works, and school site acquisition charges on behalf of New Westminster School District No. 40 to purchase new school sites or expand existing school facilities.
Third, the City often secures additional amenities (or cash in lieu) to benefit the community where redevelopment occurs. A Financing Growth Strategy will be prepared as part of the master planning process, which will identify specifically what a developer must contribute towards additional amenities and infrastructure.
HOW DOES THE CITY MANAGE CONSTRUCTION IMPACTS?
Construction is disruptive to the community. The City has a number of development requirements that help to mitigate the impacts of construction, including traffic management plans, Street Occupancy Permits, and the regulations of the Construction Noise Bylaw. Additional policies, procedures and bylaws are in place to control such construction issues as truck traffic, tree protection, erosion and sediment control, site lighting, and construction hoarding (i.e. temporary fencing).
HOW DOES THE CITY PROTECT RENTERS DISPLACED BY NEW DEVELOPMENT?
The City of New Westminster is committed to minimizing the impacts of displacement for renters throughout the city. The City provides education, information and funding to help other organizations assist renters in need. This has included partnering with the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC) in 2016 and 2017 to host workshops about tenants’ rights, and distributing TRAC’s Tenant Survival Guides to inform tenants about their rights when facing an eviction. Additionally, the City helps connect renters with various housing organizations and provides funding to the New Westminster Rent Bank, which supports renters who may be in a temporary crisis and have difficulty paying for rent, security deposit and/or utilities.
In addition, the Province has recently amended the Residential Tenancy Act to extend protection for renters, such as requiring a four-month notice to end tenancy for demolition, renovation or repairs to the dwelling unit, or for conversion of the unit to another use. Tenants also now have 30 days to dispute the notice with the Residential Tenancy Branch.
HOW WILL PROPERTY VALUES CHANGE WHEN THE MASTER PLAN IS ADOPTED?
The market value of a property should reflect what is possible to do under existing zoning entitlements, i.e. the highest and best use of the land consistent with the Zoning Bylaw. The Master Plan will not change the zoning entitlements in the 22nd Street Station Area.
It is risky to determine the value of a property based on zoning entitlements different from those in the Zoning Bylaw, as Council is under no obligation to approve a rezoning, even if it is consistent with the Master Plan. There are also significant amenity and transportation improvements required in this neighbourhood, so the amenity contributions expected from redevelopment will be high.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR DEVELOPERS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN BUILDING IN THE 22ND STREET STATION AREA?
First, developers must wait until the Master Plan is endorsed by Council and the proposed land use designations have been amended into the Official Community Plan. Only once those two steps are complete could a developer determine whether their project aligns with the City’s policies for future development in the area. Until that time, applications that require rezoning of any property in the Area would be considered premature.
Should the Master Plan be endorsed by Council, and if a developer believes that their project is viable and consistent with the Master Plan and other City policy, then they should schedule a Pre-Application Review (PAR) before moving forward with a formal application. Formal Rezoning and Development Permit applications would be required to go through the standard development review process, which includes City staff review and consultation with the public, committees and other stakeholders before being presented to Council for consideration. Council will then consider the rezoning bylaw and Development Permit, a process that requires several bylaw readings, a public hearing and final consideration of whether to adopt the rezoning bylaw and issue the Development Permit.
More information about the development application process and requirements may be found on the City of New Westminster website.