Frequently Asked Questions


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.



WHY DO WE NEED A MASTER PLAN?

The Master Plan will build on the Official Community Plan by further exploring the best way to accommodate the future land uses anticipated  in the 22nd Street Station Area. The Master Plan is an opportunity to explore, in more detail, the complexities of the area, as well as the concerns raised during OCP consultation. The added detail will provide a guide for how the City evaluates and approves future development.

HOW WILL MY INPUT BE USED?

There are a number of different inputs that are considered when creating a new Master Plan including: community members like you, stakeholders such as TransLink and the School District, technical expertise and studies, and Council. Each of these sources of input are woven together to shape the Master Plan.

The extensive feedback received through the OCP review process will also be considered.  

top

CAN MY PROPERTY BE REDEVELOPED DURING THE MASTER PLAN PROCESS?

No. The Master Plan must be adopted before any redevelopment can take place within the 22nd Street Station Area. However, you can renovate or rebuild your house during the process. 

top

WHAT CAN I BUILD ON MY PROPERTY WHEN THE MASTER COMMUNITY PLAN IS ADOPTED?

You will be able to build the same things you are allowed to build today (in keeping with your existing zoning). After the Master Plan is adopted, the zoning of your property would need to be changed (through a rezoning process) before you can build something different. The proposed redevelopment must be consistent with the Master Plan for Council to consider supporting the application.

top

CAN I CONTINUE WITH MY CURRENT LAND USE ON MY PROPERTY AFTER THE MASTER PLAN IS ADOPTED?

Yes. There is no obligation for you to change your 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 New Westminster neighbourhoods.

top

TRANSPORTATION IS ONE OF THE TOP ISSUES IN CONNAUGHT HEIGHTS. HOW WILL THE MASTER PLAN IMPROVE TRANSPORTATION?

As described in the Mater Transportation Plan, Council has adopted an ambitious target of having 60% of all trips made by sustainable modes of transportation. This means making walking, biking and taking transit more viable and attractive options. This also means having well located shops, services, and other amenities.

The Master Plan process will include a detailed transportation study, which will build on the Master Transportation Plan and the Connaught Heights Traffic Calming Plan.

top

WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD THAT THE MASTER PLAN WILL RESULT IN MORE AMENITIES IN THE AREA?

An important part of planning for growth in the 22nd Street Station Area is to consider the requirement for new amenities and how they will be financed. Through the Master Plan process, the City will identify what financing growth tools should be used and will explore the community’s priorities regarding new amenities. For example, is new park space or a community meeting space a higher priority?

top

HOW WILL PROPERTY VALUES CHANGE WHEN THE MASTER PLAN IS ADOPTED?

The adoption of the Master Plan will include revising the land use designations in the OCP (currently the area is shown as a Comprehensive Development Area). The land use designation generally indicates the types of uses (e.g. high density residential, commercial, etc.) that may be considered in an area. While the land use designations may indicate potential for higher value forms of development, the connection between the designations and property values is more complicated.

How Property Values are Determined

A property’s assessed value, which is used for taxation purposes, is determined by BC Assessment. In determining an assessed value, BC Assessment looks at actual property transactions (sales) in the area and compares the many factors noted above (location, lot size, etc.). More information on the assessment process is available on the BC Assessment website.

Distinguishing the Impact of Zoning and Land Use on Property Values

The OCP is different from the Zoning Bylaw, which specifically indicates what is permitted on a property. The Zoning Bylaw regulates factors like what type of building may be built (e.g. single detached dwelling, townhouse, apartment building, etc.), the size of that building and other factors related to the specific design of the building and site. These factors are often referred to as “entitlements”.

A property’s value is determined by a variety of factors – location, lot size, size of building, condition of building, market demand, supply, etc. The City controls some of these variables (e.g. type of building, size of building, number of dwellings) through the Zoning Bylaw, and so changes to a property’s zoning can often create changes in land value.

A change to the OCP land use designation, however, does not change the zoning of properties or the property’s entitlements. In other words, even if there is a change in the OCP that allows additional types of uses in an area, a property owner must first apply to have their property rezoned to permit that use to be developed. Property owners are not obliged to apply to rezone or change development entitlements on their property. Further, Council is not obliged to approve any such application even it fits with the OCP land use designation, so there is a risk that a rezoning application would not be approved. Because a rezoning is still required, assuming property values based on an OCP land use designation is speculation and is not advisable.

The Impact of Speculation

Despite this distinction between land use designations and zoning entitlements, speculation can occur based on a land use designation. Speculation is when a property is sold at a value that reflects what the property would be worth if it were already rezoned to allow more entitlements (such as a bigger building with more dwelling units), even though no such rezoning is guaranteed.

Property value is further distorted in speculation because the costs associated with a rezoning, including amenity contributions, are not properly taken into consideration. Amenity contributions are an important mechanism to ensure growth is accommodated in a livable manner, such as providing the new public park space needed in a growing neighbourhood. One of the tools the City can use to reduce the impact of speculation is to create clear amenity contribution expectations. This ensures clarity for all parties, including property owners, land venders, real estate agents, land purchasers and developers, and ensures that all know the value of amenity contributions that they will need to provide as part of their rezoning application. Knowing these costs is an important piece which should be factored into property purchase prices, and can help combat speculation, keep property values realistic and keep assessed values accurate.

top