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City improving permit process to be more responsive, service oriented

March 7 2017 City improving permit process to be more responsive, service oriented

Apartment building

We have made significant investments in improving:

  • Development processes
  • Wait times to improve workflow and overall customer experience in 2016, including launching online permit services and mobile inspections

Our plans for 2017

These investments have had impact but we plan to do more in 2017, including:

  • Improving the permit process.
  • Launching a full regulatory and policy review.
  • Reviewing city-wide planning tools.
  • Reviewing of advisory bodies.

“We continue to receive a record number of applications and are putting a high priority on improving our processes so these developments can get built as soon as possible,” says Kaye Krishna, General Manager, Development, Buildings, and Licensing. “We have worked with industry stakeholders to identify ways to improve the process and we will put many of these ideas into action this year, including prioritizing affordable housing and streamlining small home development.”  

In 2016, we saw a 2% increase in permit applications over 2015, the second highest volume we've seen to date. For 2017, initial data shows that permit applications may out-pace last year. 

Our priorities for improving the permit process

2017 priorities for further improving permit processing include:

  • Prioritize affordable housing development.
  • Simplify policies and regulations for low density housing.
  • Create more district schedules to replace rezoning policies in community plans.
  • Review the system for establishing development charges.
  • Expand new online tools to allow developer support and communicate service targets.

Our 2016 successes

  • Housing development reached an all-time high from 2014 to 2016, peaking at over 7,500 units in 2015 and over 7,100 in 2016.
  • 2, 602 multiple dwellings were added to the market.
  • There are currently 1,458 residential new construction projects with applications in process.
  • 500 laneway homes were approved.
  • Roughly 8,300 building permit applications were processed in 2016.
  • Building construction revenues were close to $2.8 million in 2016.
  • Since 2013, major development project development permit wait times have improved significantly. 

Housing demand to grow

Metro Vancouver projects housing demand to grow by 32,000 households by 2026. We expect that it will exceed this projected demand by 50% by approving permits for 47,000 new housing units over the next 10 years. Almost 60% of these units are currently in the development pipeline as rezoning or development permit applications. 

“Although we have a record number of permits being processed, we want to ensure that housing is being built to meet the demands of people who want to live in our city. We want to ensure that they have access to different types of housing and are close to transit and amenities to make their lives more affordable,” says Gil Kelley, General Manager, Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability. “Through land use changes, community planning and rezoning policies the City is able to focus on the needs for the future and creating the right supply of housing.”