On October 26, the BC Government announced that they will be making legislative amendments that provide local governments with the ability to simplify and improve their development approval processes. The goal is to increase housing supply, reduce red tape, and lower costs to development.
“The Surrey Board of Trade believes that these changes will help to streamline the development process,” said Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “One of the biggest concerns of the development industry, and in general for all businesses, is how long they have to wait for Council or other committees to make decisions on minor variance permits. The proposed changes will hopefully help to reduce the amount of time it takes for development to occur, thus lowering the cost of the development itself.”
The amendments will update the Local Government Act to:
- remove the default requirement for local governments to hold public hearings for zoning bylaw amendments that are consistent with the official community plan; and,
- enable local governments to delegate decisions on minor development variance permits to staff.
To ensure transparency, the proposed amendment for public hearings requires local governments to provide public notice of the rezoning bylaw before the bylaw is considered at the first reading by a municipal council or regional district board.
The Surrey Board of Trade asks the BC Government to provide an increased level of staffing at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to review environmental applications based on the level of service needed by cities and the private sector and encourage municipalities to re-establish an environmental review committee with municipal staff, provincial regulators, and industry representatives. These changes will further improve the development process and reduce the costs of housing. The backlog seems to be with the Provincial Government when it comes to developments that have water-bearing or other environmental impacts.
Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342, firstname.lastname@example.org