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March 8, 2024, 4:18 pm

Transit-Oriented Area Manual Updated for Local Governments, Development Sector

Ministry of Housing
VICTORIA - The Province has updated the Provincial Policy Manual: Transit-Oriented Areas (TOA manual) to ensure local governments are supported in delivering the housing and amenities people need in areas near transit hubs.

On Dec. 7, 2023, the Province released the TOA manual that local governments must consider when implementing the requirements of the new Housing Statutes (Transit-Oriented Areas) Amendment Act, 2023, S.B.C. 2023, c.48 legislation, also known as Bill 47. The TOA manual has been recently updated to reflect changes on the use of the density bonus tool in TOAs.

Density bonus is a zoning tool that permits developers to build additional density in exchange for public amenities or affordable housing. Local governments use this tool to help deliver much-needed affordable housing and public amenities that support community growth.

The TOA manual sets the expectation that density bonus in TOAs would use a base density consistent with the minimum allowable densities established in the TOA regulations. Since the release of the TOA manual, several local governments have shared concerns that this approach would significantly limit their ability to use the density bonus tool in TOAs and secure affordable housing and public amenities through TOA development.

In response to feedback and as an interim measure, local governments will be permitted to use existing base densities established in their respective zoning bylaws, even if they are below the minimum allowable densities, when using the density bonus tool.

This approach will provide greater clarity for developers and ensure local governments can continue to secure the benefits of the density bonus through TOA development in the near term, while the Province shifts toward an increasingly proactive land-use planning framework in the long term.

It is anticipated that by mid-2025, local governments will transition to using new proactive planning tools to secure affordable housing and community amenities through TOA development, such as amenity cost charges and other tools under development.

Learn More:

To access the updated TOA manual, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/local-governments-and-housing/housing-initiatives/transit-oriented-development-areas

To learn more about local government housing initiatives to help build homes faster, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/local-governments-and-housing/housing-initiatives

To learn about government’s Homes for People action plan, visit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit:
https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/housing/
 

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