New Housing Legislation Reshapes Burnaby Landscape

Burnaby, British Columbia, is about to undergo a significant transformation in its housing landscape. New provincial legislation enacted in November 2023 will dramatically change the approval process for residential projects, allowing for much higher densities than traditionally permitted in single-family neighbourhoods. This blog post aims to unpack the key aspects of these changes and their potential impact on Burnaby residents.

Increased Density in Single-Family Neighbourhoods:

  • Single-family neighbourhoods will now allow for “Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing,” including secondary suites, laneway homes, and garden suites.
  • Minimum density requirements range from 3 to 6 units per lot, depending on size and proximity to frequent bus stops.
  • Off-street parking requirements are relaxed for developments near frequent bus stops, prioritizing transit-oriented development.

Transit-Oriented Areas (TOAs):

  • Areas around SkyTrain stations and major transport hubs will see even higher density and mixed-use development.
  • Minimum heights for residential buildings range from 12 to 20 storeys, depending on proximity to the transit hub.
  • Minimum densities also increase, reaching 5.0 FAR (Floor Area Ratio) for towers near rapid transit stations.
  • Similar to single-family areas, off-street parking requirements are minimized, encouraging transit use.

Infrastructure & Amenities:

  • The increased density raises concerns about the capacity of existing infrastructure, like water, sewer, and electrical systems.
  • Upgrades could cost upwards of $1 million per 100 metres in single-family neighbourhoods.
  • Additional amenities like recreation centres, parks, and libraries may be needed to accommodate a growing population.
  • New funding tools like Development Cost Charges (DCCs) and Amenity Cost Charges (ACCs) are introduced to support these requirements.

Public Engagement & Assessments:

  • Public hearings for most housing projects compliant with the Official Community Plan are eliminated.
  • Alternative avenues for community input, like feedback on the ongoing Official Community Plan update, will be explored.
  • Property assessments and potentially taxes may be affected by changes in development potential.
  • Residents can stay informed through signage, online information, and direct communication with City staff.

Overall Impact:

These changes aim to address housing affordability by increasing supply, but concerns exist about their impact on neighbourhood character, infrastructure, and community engagement. The City of Burnaby is committed to managing this transition carefully, ensuring sustainable growth and prioritizing resident needs through open communication and strategic planning.

Stay Informed:

For more detailed information and updates, visit the City of Burnaby’s official website: https://www.burnaby.ca/our-city/programs-and-policies/housing

Remember, this blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with relevant authorities for specific concerns.

Gary Gao, licensed Realtor® with Grand Central Realty, a licensed real estate brokerage in BC. Gary is also the principal of CitiDesign Build Inc., which is not affiliated with Grand Central Realty. CitiDesign and Gary are licensed builders in BC. Contact Gary.

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