City amends Zoning Bylaw to permit higher residential densities throughout Burnaby

Last updated: June 11, 2024

The City is amending its Zoning Bylaw to align Burnaby’s residential land use regulations with new provincial requirements that come into effect July 1, 2024.

Burnaby City Council has amended Burnaby’s Zoning Bylaw to allow for increased density in neighbourhoods across the city. Effective July 1, 2024, residential lots currently zoned for single- or two-family homes will be allowed to accommodate up to 3 or 4 housing units — depending on lot size — and lots near frequent transit service may accommodate up to 6 housing units.

The Zoning Bylaw changes, driven by the Province’s new housing legislation, consolidate the City’s 12 existing Residential (R) Districts into one new R1 Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing District and rezone current R-District lots, and parts of split-zoned lots with R-District zoning, to the new R1 Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing District. Effective July 1, 2024, the Zoning Bylaw will allow small-scale multi-unit housing to be built on all lots currently zoned for single- and two-family homes, including:

  • Single-family homes with or without a secondary suite (including laneway homes)
  • Duplexes with or without secondary suites
  • Multiplexes (buildings with 3 or more primary units)
  • Cottage courts or cottage clusters (multiple single-family homes on the same lot)
  • Rowhouses

Council will also be designating Transit-Oriented Areas (TOAs) by bylaw, another requirement of recent provincial housing legislation. TOAs are the areas surrounding SkyTrain stations or bus exchanges where building heights from 8 to 20 storeys and densities ranging from 3.0 to 5.0 floor area ratio will be required to be permitted by provincial legislation, depending on the distance from the Skytrain station or bus exchange. Zoning Bylaw amendments to update existing multi-family residential (RM) zoning districts, including within the TOA boundaries, will be brought forward later in the year to create a more transparent, user-friendly development framework that provides clarity on building height and form.

Other changes resulting from recent provincial housing legislation changes include:

  • Elimination of residential parking minimums for lots within 400 metres of transit stops with frequent service (at least 15 minutes average frequency during core hours) and lots within TOA boundaries.
  • A new Amenity Cost Charge will be added to Burnaby’s Development Funding Program to help build the infrastructure and amenities needed to support population growth.
  • Public hearings are prohibited for rezoning applications for primarily residential developments.

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