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

What's happeningOnline engagement: modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law

We are working on modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law to make it easier to use and to make the regulations easier to find and understand. 

Next phase of engagement will be online from June 15 to July 6, 2021.

We are preparing the following for your feedback:

  • Four sample residential district schedules (RM - multiple dwelling districts) in the new interactive PDF format
  • Ten proposed new defined terms to clarify and simplify the language in the district schedules 
  • Two outdated regulations to be considered for removal 

Project update to Council – June 8, 2021

We will report to Council with a project update and the next round of proposed regulatory amendments on June 8, 2021. The project update will be part of a multi-department presentation to Council on development and permit process improvements. The proposed amendments include simplifying height regulations and making various miscellaneous amendments to correct errors. These are incremental changes towards simplifying and clarifying our land use regulations.  

Watch for updates

Recent updates

Proposed amendments to simplify height regulations

March 1 to 31, 2021: Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback in March as part of our work to simplify and clarify land use regulations to make them easier to make them understand. Comments received from the virtual Shape Your City open house and the information session with Chinese speaking small-scale builders and designers will be summarized in a staff report for Council, which will be made public in June 2021. Watch for updates.

New bulletin: Balconies, Decks, Entries, Porches and Verandahs, Patios, and Roof Decks in RS, RT and RM Districts

Council approved amendments on June 25, 2020, to update and improve the clarity and consistency of land use regulations by introducing new definitions for balconies, decks, entries, porches and verandahs, patios and roof decks and updating regulations for these elements to make them more consistent between zones.

The new bulletin “Balconies, Decks, Entries, Porches and Verandahs, Patios, and Roof Decks” is a comprehensive document that explains the administration of these newly defined building elements. This topic-specific bulletin is available in our zoning and land use document library.

The bulletin provides information on these building elements, including:

  • Inclusions/exclusions from floor area calculations (for example areas under balconies and decks, and for landings)
  • Projections into required yards (for example landings, eaves)
  • Where patios can be located on site and how raised patios are regulated
  • How roof decks are categorized and administered


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.