Regulation Redesign: simplifying rules for city building

Updated and simplified land use regulations and policies will result in more streamlined review processes.

Regulation Redesign is a comprehensive review of our land use regulations and related policy documents. The aim of this work is to:

  • Simplify and clarify land use regulations and policies to improve ease of use and clarity in order to reduce permit processing times
  • Modernize and update the rules, language, and format or land use documents; and the processes to create/amend them
  • Improve consistency among land use policies and regulations
  • Improve external and internal communication on the land use planning framework and its systems
  • Establish a robust and enduring land use framework (including regulations, policies, protocols, and procedures) that is able to adapt well into the future

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Outcomes of Regulation Redesign will be:

  • An updated Zoning and Development By-law with a user-friendly format
  • More consistent regulations across district schedules
  • More clarity on the purpose of various land use documents (for example, guidelines, bulletins) and how they relate to each other and land use regulations

Recent updates

Modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law online engagement

June 15-July 13, 2021: Over 300 people visited our engagement site, and over 75 people participated online to learn more and provide feedback on the proposed new district schedule format and language, new defined terms, and removal of outdated regulations. Comments and feedback are being used to modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law to make it easier to use and the regulations easier to find and understand. 

Review the presentation

Read the engagement summary report (3.7 MB)

Amendments to simplify height regulations and miscellaneous amendments approved

July 6, 2021: Council approved amendments to update and clarify height regulations and to make miscellaneous amendments to various by-laws and land use documents at public hearing. These amendments came into effect at the end of July 2021. The specific amendments include:

  • New definitions for building height and decorative roof in Section 2 of the Zoning and Development By-law and a revision to the base surface definition
  • Updates to section 10.18 height regulations in the Zoning and Development By-law to modernize language, provide more flexibility for roof access and roof-top amenity features and clarify decorative roof regulations
  • Miscellaneous amendments to various by-laws and land use documents to correct errors


Memo to Mayor and Council: Retractable balcony enclosures

July 2, 2021: Council directed staff on June 26, 2020, to review opportunities to permit retractable balcony enclosures. Staff reviewed options and prepared a memorandum to provide Council with information on the opportunities for retractable balcony enclosures through existing regulations and guidelines. 

Memorandum: Retractable balcony enclosures (593 KB)

Regulation Redesign zoning webpages

Zoning and Development By-law
The landing page for the Zoning and Development By-law containing general information on the by-law and its functions.

Zoning and land use document library
Your single reliable source of land use regulations and policies currently in effect.

Zoning and land use amendments
Your single reliable source outlining recent changes to the City's land use by-laws, policies, guidelines, and bulletins.


Here is our process and anticipated milestones

Through out the process, we are consulting with development and building industry professionals, other businesses, the general public and City staff.

  • Spring 2018 -
    winter 2019

    Project launch

    • Review regulatory framework and best practices
    • Seek feedback to identify issues with land use regulations and policies and ideas to simplify and clarify them
    • Public consultation, listening sessions, kiosk at the development and building services centre, stakeholder roundtable, pop-up events in the community
    • Report to Council with first round of regulatory amendments to clarify approval authorities, update regulations and repeal outdated land use documents
  • Winter 2019 -
    spring 2020

    Develop options and directions

    • Prioritize issues and explore options to simplify and clarify regulations based on engagement feedback
    • Develop work streams to address modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law, simplifying regulations and clarifying the land use framework
    • Report to Council with regulatory amendments to update sections 2, 10, 11 of the Zoning and Development By-law into a new modernized user-friendly format, simplify regulations, remove gendered terms and repeal outdated land use documents
    • Clarify land use framework through creation of an on-line land use document library, new document naming conventions and introduce a new user guide for the Zoning and Development By-law
  • (We are here)
  • Spring 2020 -
    fall 2022

    Further develop and implement solutions

    Modernize by-law structure and format

    • Develop options and prototype a user-friendly Zoning and Development By-law structure and format
    • Draft Zoning and Development By-law in a modernized format
    • Report to Council in fall 2022 with a draft reformatted Zoning and Development By-law for adoption
    • Implement the by-law and training

    Simplify and clarify regulations

    • Report to Council in spring 2020 with amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law:
      • Introduce new definitions for balconies, porches and decks, update and improve consistency of regulations
      • Update sections 3,4, 5 to simplify and organize regulations so they are easier to find and understand
    • Report to Council in spring 2021 with amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law on height and horizontal angle of daylight regulations

    Endurance of land use framework

    • Clarify the purpose and format of land use documents (e.g. guidelines, bulletins)
    • Update protocols and procedures for developing regulations and policies
    • Improve the search-ability of land use documents
    • Update and maintain land use document library webpage

What is Zoning?

Watch the video to learn more: Zoning 101

Zoning and Development By-law

The Zoning and Development By-law 3575 establishes regulations for the development of land in the City of Vancouver.

Housing Vancouver strategy

Learn how our 10-year strategy provides a strong foundation for the future in Vancouver.