What you need to know
Development in Vancouver is guided by a collection of regulations and other related documents that set out the rules and expectations for what is possible.
Rules generally vary depending on where a property is located, and the type of project that is being proposed.
To determine what can be built on a property, find the regulations and policies that apply for an address.
When you are ready to design a project in preparation for a permit application, review the applicable guidelines and bulletins.
Looking for other regulations or development-related resources not included in this document library? Other resources that may be helpful:
- The Vancouver Charter
- Zoning and Development Fee By-law PDF file (954 KB)
- Find a by-law
- Building and renovating forms, checklists, and bulletins
Find out what’s changed recently with our by-laws, policies, guidelines, and bulletins. Review amendments
Zoning and Development By-law
The use and development of land in Vancouver is regulated by the Zoning and Development By-law and the official development plan by-laws.
- How to use the by-law
- Reference Guide PDF file (208 KB) – former and updated locations for regulations in the Zoning and Development By-law
- Land Uses by Zoning District PDF file (358 KB) - a reference guide of where each land use is permitted
Important note If this document format is not accessible to you, contact 3-1-1 to request the document in an alternative format.
Sections 1 to 15 include administration, definitions, general regulations, use-specific regulations, and enforcement.
Zoning district schedules
The city is divided into zoning districts, which are organized into five broad categories (limited agriculture, residential, commercial, industrial, and heritage), and comprehensive development districts, which are either area specific or site specific.
General schedules include regulations on landscaped setbacks, building lines, costs schedules, and stipulated rents at initial occupancy for secured market rental housing.
All sections, zoning district schedules, and general schedules in one document for convenience only.
Official development plan by-laws
Development plans are plans for the future physical development of the city or a certain part of the city. Official development plans (ODPs) are development plans that Council has adopted by by-law. After Council adopts an ODP, Council cannot authorize, permit, or undertake any development that is contrary to or at variance with that ODP.
Rezoning policies provide guidance for developing or using a property in ways that existing rules or zoning do not allow.
Guidelines are statements that provide guidance on how discretion in the Zoning and Development By-law is applied, or how policies are interpreted.
The guidelines below are organized by location and project type.
City-owned or leased facility guidelines
These guidelines are issued by the Real Estate, Environment, and Facilities Management Department to provide guidance for planning and developing City-owned or leased facilities.
Bulletins are documents that explain how a regulation is applied and how discretionary decisions under the regulation are made by the Director of Planning. They can include background information and summaries of related regulations or policies, and may include procedural information.