What are rezonings?
In Vancouver, a lot of new housing is built via rezonings (in a nutshell, the City changing what can be built on a given piece of land). This is necessary because most of the city is already built up to the limits of what is allowed under existing zoning (or close enough that rebuilding for a slightly larger building would be uneconomical).
Many Vancouver rezonings are small and site-specific; it's quite common for rezonings to be tailored to a single development proposal, while adjacent lots are left with very different rules. AHV does not generally endorse this approach of "spot rezoning", and in the long term we're hoping for rezonings across larger swathes of Vancouver (like the recent Norquay rezoning). However, we appreciate that systemic change may not be seen as politically feasible yet – and with that in mind we strongly suggest supporting rezonings that allow more housing even if their scope is limited.
Stay informed about upcoming rezonings
We aim to keep people informed about chances to advocate for more housing; please follow us on Twitter or join our mailing list to keep up to date. The City of Vancouver lists all rezoning proposals here, and upcoming public hearings (where council finally decides on the proposals, with input from the public) are listed here. Public hearing agendas are typically posted online about 5 days before the hearing.
How to comment on a rezoning
Rezoning proposals are typically considered by city staff for months before being referred to council, with many chances for community input along the way. We suggest commenting at any stage of a proposal, from the initial announcement to the final public hearing. The webpage for the proposal will indicate what stage the proposal is at, and the preferred way to comment at the current stage.
Ultimately the final decision to allow or deny a rezoning is made by mayor and council at the public hearing. With that in mind, here are some guidelines for commenting at public hearings:
- Comments can be provided via email (good) or in person (even better!)
- To provide comments via email, contact email@example.com before the hearing starts. Be sure to mention which rezoning application you are referring to.
- To comment in person, email firstname.lastname@example.org before the hearing to have your name added to the list of speakers. We hope to see you there!
- Clearly state whether you support the proposed rezoning, and why.
- If you have a personal connection to the proposal – perhaps you grew up nearby, perhaps you want to live in the neighbourhood but can't or you know someone who does – that can add a memorable personal touch to your comment.
- If you support the proposal but think it doesn't go far enough, say so. Your comments may be able to influence the scope of this proposal and others in the future.
Here are a few examples of comments that our members have submitted for rezoning applications. Feel free to take inspiration from them!
I’m a renter in East Vancouver and I’d like to register my strong support for this project. It will give my landlord some much-needed competition, and it will give 109 extra households the chance to live in this great area. Those are real, tangible, human benefits and I hope you approve this project and others like it. Thank you for your time.
I'd like to express my support for this development. We desperately need more housing in central, transit-accessible neighbourhoods and small buildings like this are a great start.
It’s unfortunate that this is being done via a site-specific rezoning instead of a larger area-wide plan, and that the majority of the housing is being placed on busy arterial streets. However, this is still much better than the status quo and I hope you approve it.