B.C. mandates super density near transit stations
November 15, 2023
The government of British Columbia has planned legislation to speed up delivery of homes and mandate very high density near transit hubs.
“Building more homes near transit is good for people, communities, and helps make the most of transit, infrastructure and services. But layers of regulations and outdated rules are stopping this kind of development from becoming a reality in too many municipalities.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,” said B.C. Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon in a statement.
The proposed legislation will require municipalities to designate Transit Oriented Development Areas (also called TOD Areas) near transit hubs. Transit hubs are land within 800 metres of a rapid transit station and within 400 metres of a bus exchange where passengers transfer from one route to another.
Municipalities will be required to permit housing developments that meet provincial standards for allowable height and density based on tiers—with the highest in the centre of the TOD Area—and type of transit hub. Municipalities must also remove restrictive parking minimums and allow for parking to be determined by need and demand on a project-by-project basis.
In Metro Vancouver, this legislation has prescribed a distance of 200 metres or less from a SkyTrain rapid-transit hub—minimum density up to 5.0 FAR (floor-area-ratio) with a minimum height up to 20 storeys. At 400 metres, the minimum height is up to 12 storeys; and at 8 storeys of residential, the minimum is 800 metres.
At Metro bus exchanges, the minimum density is 12 storeys within 200 metres of a bus hub.
In Kelowna and other mid-size cities, minimum housing density is 3.5 FAR and a minimum height of 10 storeys within 200 metres of a transit or bus hub.