Amend an RS-1 district subdivision category

Amending a subdivision category in the RS-1, RS-3, RS-3A, RS-5 and RS-6 districts

To reflect the historic and prevailing subdivision patterns of neighbourhoods throughout the City, Vancouver City Council amended the Subdivision By-law on January 19, 1988. The amendment creates seven categories of minimum parcel width and area for subdivisions in the RS-1, RS-3, RS-3A, RS-5, and RS-6 Zoning Districts. As a result, properties zoned RS-3 and RS-3A were each assigned three of those categories, properties zoned RS-5 were assigned six of the categories and properties zoned RS-6 were assigned four of the categories.

Subdivision Category Minimum Width Minimum Area
A 30 feet 3,000 square feet
40 feet 3,600 square feet
C 50 feet 5,000 square feet
D 60 feet 5,400 square feet
E 75 feet 6,750 square feet
F 100 feet 12,000 square feet
G 150 feet 18,000 square feet

When Council amended the By-law for RS-1, it agreed to review requests to reclassify properties. All lands in these five zoning districts may be considered for reclassification. The following procedures must be followed by anyone who proposes to amend the category for their property.

How to initiate an amendment

You can enquire about proposing a reclassification by:

  • Calling 604-871-6627 or 604-873-7556.
  • Visiting the Rezoning and Subdivision Counter at the Development and Building Services Centre, Ground Floor 515 West 10th Avenue.

Subdivision staff can give advice on the Subdivision By-law, the intent behind the seven categories, and any applicable policies or by-laws effecting subdivision.

How to Make an Application

To apply for a reclassification, you must do the following:

  1. Write a letter to the "Subdivision Approving Officer."  The letter must contain the following information:
    • the applicant’s name, address and telephone and fax numbers;
    • the applicant’s interest in the property (e.g., property owner, prospective property owner, or agent);
    • the legal description and street address of the property or properties proposed for reclassification;
    • the present subdivision category of the property or properties proposed for reclassification;
    • the requested subdivision category;
    • a statement of rationale giving reasons why the applicant feels that the property or properties should be reclassified, why the proposed category has been chosen, and what effects reclassification will have on the surrounding area.
  2. With the letter, provide a map (suggested scale 1:1000 metre, or 1 inch = 100 feet) which shows the properties to be included in the amended category.
  3. Also with the letter, provide a cheque made out to the "City of Vancouver" in the amount of $7,100. The payment is a non-refundable processing fee.
  4. Deliver to the Development and Building Services Centre (see below for address).

What happens next

Subdivision staff may notify owners of the properties in the subject block, owners of properties adjacent to or across the street from the subject block, and other property owners deemed affected, asking for their comments and reasons why they support or oppose the proposed reclassification. If a proposal is complicated, staff may convene a public information meeting in the neighbourhood.

The applicant’s proposal, a summary of comments from the notified property owners, if applicable, and recommendations from the Subdivision Approving Officer, will then be reported to City Council. When Council considers the proposed reclassification, all parties affected will be given the opportunity to make submissions or to address Council.

If Council agrees with the proposed reclassification, then the Subdivision By-law will be formally amended to reflect the change. Subdivision applications could then be accepted and reviewed in accordance with the new minimum parcel width and area standards.

Useful note:

The subdivision parcel-size category is only one of several criteria that the Approving Officer considers before approving or refusing an application to subdivide land.

Compliance with the parcel-size category does not assure subdivision approval. Individual subdivision applications are reviewed for compliance with a number of other by-law requirements and standards, including issues such as access and servicing, the affect of the subdivision on adjacent lands and the impact of the subdivision on buildings which might be retained on the property. For information on whether or not the property in question has subdivision potential, please contact the Subdivision Group at the numbers listed below.

Proposals can be delivered to the Development and Building Services Centre, Ground Floor (515 West 10th Avenue), to the attention of the Subdivision Group, or mailed to:

The Approving Officer, Development Services
City of Vancouver
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V5Y 1V4

For further information, please call 604-871-6627 or 604-873-7556, or email

The information contained in this website is intended as an overview about the Subdivision and Strata Title process. This information should not be construed as legal documentation. It departs from the necessary legal and technical terminology used in the Vancouver Charter and applicable City by-laws. Any contradiction, dispute, or difference between the contents of this website and applicable City by-laws, policies or guidelines will be resolved by reference to the by-laws or other official documents.

Contact our subdivision and strata team


Mailing address
Subdivision and Strata
453 West 12th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4