The BC Court of Appeal found the City of Vancouver’s bylaw authorizing its director of planning to relax zoning bylaw provisions for development proposals that include low cost housing to be valid

15. May 2018 0

Administrative law – Decisions reviewed – Director of Planning – Permits and licences – Judicial review – Appeals – Standard of Review – Correctness – Municipalities – Change of by-laws – Planning and zoning – Building permits

Caring Citizens of Vancouver Society v. Vancouver (City), [2018] B.C.J. No. 400, 2018 BCCA 87, British Columbia Court of Appeal, March 9, 2018, P.D. Lowry, D.F. Tysoe and P.M. Willcock JJ.A.

The City of Vancouver enacted a bylaw authorizing its director of planning to relax provisions of zoning bylaws pursuant to s. 565A(e)(iv) of the Vancouver Charter in cases where at least 70% of the dwelling units in a proposed development are to be used for low cost housing for persons receiving assistance. The rationale for this was to streamline development approval processes and help address the intensifying housing crisis. Pursuant to this bylaw, a permit was issued for the construction of temporary modular housing on a developer-owned property in a Marpole neighbourhood that was not zoned for this use. Prior to the permit being issued, the City had notified residents of the proposed construction through a local newspaper, and held four information sessions where some members of the public raised objections.

The Caring Citizens of Vancouver Society applied for judicial review seeking to have the development permit quashed, and a declaration that the bylaw was invalid. The petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. After the Society’s arguments to the contrary, the Court concluded that the power to relax the provisions of zoning bylaws did extend to the provisions of the bylaws relating to use of property, and that the notice of public hearing provided in the newspaper was not considered inadequate notice.

This case was digested by Kara Hill, and first published in the LexisNexis® Harper Grey Administrative Law Netletter and the Harper Grey Administrative Law Newsletter.  If you would like to discuss this case further, please contact Kara Hill at

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