Longbus Zoning Amendment

Final Update (May 2018):

The following zoning amendment bylaws were adopted on April 18, 2017:

 The following zoning amendment bylaws were not adopted:

Note that Amendment Bylaws No. 2513 and No. 2515 were not adopted, but that some of the content from these proposed bylaws was carried forward and included in the Downtown Zoning Changes project. See the full details on this project here.

Important Dates:

December 7 and 8, 2016: Public Information Open Houses were held at Squamish Public Library and Brennan Park Recreation Centre.  

February 21st, 2017: Proposed amendment bylaws were given first and second readings. For more information please see the Staff Report.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017: Public Hearing held.


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The 2017 Zoning Bylaw update aims to re-evaluate the following zoning provisions (click on each link for drop-down information):

  • 1. Mini Storage and Drive-Through

    Proposed Bylaw No 2511, 2016 - view the proposed bylaw.

    Restrict location of mini storage facilities, drive-through restaurants, and other drive-through facilities.

    Mini Storage

    The Zoning Bylaw does not currently define storage facilities for personal goods (mini storage or self-storage) rather it includes the use in the definition of a ‘warehouse’, which is included under the ‘light industrial’ use definition. As a result, mini- or self-storage facilities are currently a permitted use in I-1, I-8 and I-9 zones.

    While personal goods storage facilities will continue to be an important use of land considering the strong trend towards multi-unit housing in Squamish, the use typically generates low jobs to building space ratio and new facilities should be considered on a case-by-case basis. This proposed amendment limits storage facilities for personal goods to locations where they currently exist.

    Proposed Bylaw Amendments:

    • Create a new definition for ‘storage facility’.
    • Update the definition for ‘warehouse’ to clarify that storage facilities used for storage of personal property is excluded from this definition.
    • Permit storage facility use only on Light Industrial (I-1) zoned parcels containing existing storage facility or mini storage buildings.

    Proposed Definition:

    • STORAGE FACILITY means a building or group of buildings used for storage of personal property in self-contained storage units. A storage facility may have an outdoor storage area component for storing vehicles, recreational vehicles, boats and other personal property items too large to fit into a storage unit or building.


    Drive-through restaurants and other facilities (such as banks or pharmacies) are thought to promote dependence on vehicles, which can have a negative impact on physical health. Allowing new drive-throughs would not be consistent with current District initiatives aimed at improving options for alternate transportation and promoting physical health.

    To limit the number of future new drive-throughs in Squamish, and to give the District greater control over where they could be considered, it is proposed that drive-through restaurants and other drive-through facilities be limited to those locations on which a drive-through is currently located or an application for a new drive-through is in process.

    Drive-through restaurants are currently permitted anywhere in the Tourist Commercial (C-3) zone, and in a few other property-specific zones/locations. Proposed changes would remove drive-through restaurant as a permitted use in the C-3 zone, and instead limit drive-through restaurant use to those properties that already contain a drive-through restaurant.

    For zones in which drive-through restaurant is a permitted use only on a few specific properties, the proposed changes would remove this use from properties on which there is not currently a drive-through restaurant or an application in process for a new drive-through restaurant. Updates to legal descriptions of properties on which a permitted drive-through restaurant is currently located are also proposed, so that these properties are accurately described in the Zoning Bylaw.

    This amendment also proposes adding a definition to the Zoning Bylaw for Drive-Through Facility, and limiting this use to the locations in which a drive-through facility is currently located. There are currently two drive-through facilities in Squamish, both of which are banks. One is located in the Downtown Commercial (C-4) zone and the other is in Comprehensive Development Zone 74 (CD-74).

    Proposed Definition:

    • DRIVE-THROUGH FACILITY means the use of land, buildings, or structures, or parts thereof, to provide products or services through an attendant, window, or automated machine to persons remaining in motorized vehicles that are in a lane designated for that purpose, excluding a drive-through restaurant, gasoline service station, electric vehicle charging station, and automobile-oriented commercial.

    Proposed Bylaw Amendments:

    • Remove drive-through restaurant as a permitted use in the C-3 zone, with the exception of those three lots on which a drive-through restaurant is already located.
    • In the Downtown Commercial (C-4) zone, remove drive-through restaurant as a permitted use for Lot H, Block L, District Lot 486, Plan 4107, which is a legal description that no longer exists and there is no drive-through restaurant in this location (38167 Cleveland Avenue).
    • Remove drive-through restaurant as a permitted use in the Specialized Highway Commercial (C-9) zone, as there is not currently a drive-through restaurant in this zone, or any active development applications (39210, 39300, and 39400 Discovery Way).
    • In the Light Industrial (I-1) zone, a drive-through restaurant is permitted on one parcel (located at 38930 Progress Way) and there is a drive-through restaurant in this location. This amendment proposes updating the legal description for the parcel on which a drive-through restaurant is permitted, to reflect a past lot consolidation.
    • Add a definition for Drive-Through Facility.

    Only permit drive-through facility in the locations in the C-4 and CD-74 zones in which a drive-through facility is currently located.

  • 2. Miscellaneous Amendments

    Proposed bylaw 2512, 2016 - view the proposed bylaw.

    • Housekeeping amendments,
    • Add new uses permitted in all zones,
    • Update Building Height definition,
    • Increase flexibility for new detached dwelling units on existing structures,
    • Add requirement for screening of HVAC systems,
    • Add retaining wall height limits when close to property lines,
    • Remove access requirements where there is overlap with the Subdivision and Development Control Bylaw,
    • Clarify open space requirements in new multi-unit residential developments,
    • Clarify definition and opportunity for caretaker suites in industrial zones.

    Housekeeping Amendments

    • Replace “duplex” with “dwelling, two unit” throughout the bylaw to provide consistency.
    • Update language in the General Regulations section to clarify that General Regulations apply to all zones in Squamish.
    • Add setback requirements for accessory structures, which is currently missing from the General Regulations section.
    • Clarify the intent of subsection 4.7(c)(iii) (screening) by re-organizing bullet points. The intent of subsection 4.7 is to require commercial, industrial or institutional uses to provide visual screening from residential zones or development.
    • Clarify that the gross floor area of garages can only be exempted once per dwelling unit, with the exception of a secondary suite that is located within a single unit dwelling. It is currently unclear whether this exemption applies to both a principle residence with attached garage and a detached garage located on the same property, and whether it can be used more than once for duplexes or townhouses.
    • To increase design flexibility, update gross floor area calculation exemptions to include covered balconies, decks, patios, and porches that are open on two sides (rather than three).
    • Add regulations for accessory buildings to the Residential Mobile Home Park (RMH-1) zone to bring into alignment with the other residential zones.  
    • Change the permitted use “home occupation, multiple unit” to “home occupation, residential” in the RMH-1 zone and “home occupation, office” in the Artisan Village (C-10) zone, because “home occupation, multiple unit” is not a defined term in the bylaw.

    Uses Permitted in All Zones

    Proposed Bylaw Amendments

    Add the following uses permitted in all zones to allow new energy-related and public art uses in appropriate zones:

    • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations permitted in all zones, except Residential;
    • District Thermal Energy System permitted in all zones; and,
    • Public Art permitted in all zones. 

    Building Height Definition

    The definition of height is proposed to be updated to increase clarity. No changes to the permitted height of structures in any zones are being proposed. The amendment simply clarifies the definition and calculation of building height. A diagram is also proposed.

    Proposed Definition:

    • HEIGHT with respect to a building or structure refers to the maximum vertical distance from the Height Datum to:
      • the highest part of a building with flat, domed, A-framed, or Quonset roofs;
      • the mid-point between the highest ridge of the building and the top of the lowest support wall for a building with a pitched roof;
      • the mid-point between the ridge and the point immediately below the ridge where the pitch changes for a building with a gambrel roof;
      • the point midway between the highest ridge of the building and the lowest roof transition for a building with a butterfly roof;
      • the highest point of all other structures.

    roof structure diagram

    Setbacks for New Detached Accessory Dwelling Units on Existing Structures

    Setback requirements have changed over the years. In some cases, existing accessory buildings were built according to the required setback at the time, but are closer to lot lines than current setbacks permit. Under the current bylaw, a vertical coach or carriage unit addition would have to meet current setbacks, even if the existing accessory building upon which the unit is proposed to be located does not comply. 

    Proposed Bylaw Amendments:

    Allow detached accessory residential dwellings (coach or carriage houses) to be located above existing accessory buildings, regardless of current setbacks, if the detached accessory building was completed prior to the date of the 2016 Zoning Bylaw Update (March 15, 2016) and met the accessory building setback requirements of the day.

    HVAC Screening

    Heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) systems for multi-unit residential, commercial, and industrial buildings can be a noise nuisance to adjacent residential properties. To help dampen the sound generated by this equipment, solid screening around the equipment is proposed.  

    Proposed Bylaw Amendment:

    Add a requirement to subsection 4.7 of the General Regulations section for screening around outdoor HVAC equipment.

    Retaining Walls

    To reduce the potential negative visual impact to adjacent properties of a combined retaining wall and fence (often needed for new developments to meet FCL requirements), this amendment proposes limiting the height permitted for fences on top of retaining walls, when located along any property lines.

    Proposed Bylaw Amendment:

    Modify section 4.26(c) to limit the height of combined retaining wall/fences to 2.44 m when located within 1.22 m of any lot line.

    Access Requirements

    As a result of changes incorporated into the last update to the Subdivision and Development Control Bylaw, parking access design criteria (driveway design, location, and dimensions) in the Zoning Bylaw are not aligned with the Subdivision and Development Control Bylaw. The Subdivision and Development Control Bylaw should be the authority on road design.

    Proposed Bylaw Amendments:

    Remove sections from the Zoning Bylaw in order to eliminate conflicting overlap between the two bylaws.

    Office Use in Specific Buildings in the Business Park

    While the Business Park should remain primarily light industrial, demand for office spaces appears to be outstripping supply as Squamish rapidly grows. At the same time, a few existing buildings in the Business Park have underutilized office spaces located on the second storey.

    Proposed Bylaw Amendment:

    Allow office use in appropriate Industrial 1 (I-1) zoned existing buildings to increase the supply of office space in Squamish, without reducing space available for light industrial uses, and without incentivizing the development of new office buildings in the Business Park by permitting office use in new buildings with I-1 zoning.

    Useable Open Space

    New multi-unit residential projects have to provide common open space, typically a park or green space that is accessible to residents. In addition, private open space for each individual unit in the form of a patio, deck, or private yard is required. The current definition of open space in the Zoning Bylaw does not distinguish between these two types of open space.  

    Proposed Bylaw Amendment:

    Create new definitions to clarify the difference between ‘common’ and ‘private’ open space, without changing the amount of open space that must be provided as per the current bylaw.

    Proposed definitions:

    • COMMON USEABLE OPEN SPACE means a compact, level, unobstructed area or areas, providing maximized access to sunlight, having no dimension less than 6.10 metres, no slope greater than 5 percent to ensure universal access, and being available for the safe and convenient use by the occupants or users of a building or lot for recreation or leisure activities, and excludes areas used for off street parking, off street loading, service driveways or a required front setback, and without limitation. Common Useable Open Space may be accessible to the public in the case of a statutory right of way agreement and covenant in favour of the District or other similar means.
    • PRIVATE USEABLE OPEN SPACE means a compact, level, unobstructed area or areas, providing maximized access to sunlight, and being available for the safe and convenient use by the residents of dwelling unit. Private useable open space may be located on roofs or structures or at finished grade excluding areas used for off street parking, off street loading, service driveways and the required front setback.

    Accessory Dwellings in the Light Industrial (I-1) Zone

    Generally, zoning bylaws aim to separate residential and industrial land uses, as these activities are deemed incompatible; however, industrial buildings may have ‘caretaker’ suites to provide human presence and additional security. The Zoning Bylaw lacks clarity about the number of accessory dwelling units permitted on a single lot in the I-1 zone.

    The intent of this proposed amendment is to clarify that only one accessory dwelling unit per lot is permitted. While a single residential unit is deemed appropriate in the I-1 zone, allowing greater residential density would threaten to change the nature of industrial areas, increasing land values, rents, and threatening the viability of industrial activities.

    Proposed Bylaw Amendment:

    Clarify in subsection 4.3 of the General Regulations section that a maximum of one accessory residential dwelling is permitted on a lot

    03142017 PH bylaw 2512 map

  • 3. Downtown Commercial and Setbacks

    Proposed bylaw 2513, 2016 - view the proposed bylaw.

    Increase the requirement for office space in mixed-use buildings Downtown, and change the building setbacks to accommodate new streetscape standards.

    Downtown Commercial Space

    The Official Community Plan considers that Downtown Squamish is the commercial heart of the community. This update proposes increasing commercial space downtown by clarifying that commercial space is required at ground level along all building frontages in the Downtown Commercial (C-4) and Artisan Village (C-10) zones, and by adding a requirement for commercial space along all street frontages in an additional storey of the building other than the first.

    Proposed Solutions:

    • Clarify that commercial use is required at grade along all street frontages in the C-4 and C-10 zones; and
    • Add requirement for an additional storey with commercial space, in addition to first storey, to increase commercial office space Downtown.
    • Add a minimum depth of 10 m for all commercial spaces.

    Downtown Setbacks

    The District’s Official Community Plan (OCP) Downtown Policies strongly support downtown streetscape enhancements (landscaping, furniture, public art, etc.), vibrant pedestrian friendly environments, and streetscape design that reflects the needs of transit, cyclist and pedestrians. The OCP also supports adequate levels of off-site public parking throughout Downtown in accordance with Smart Growth principals.

    The recently adopted Active Transportation Plan has identified future separated bike lane corridors Downtown. The existing 20 m road right of way along these identified corridors currently does not offer enough space to accommodate separated bike lanes, two lanes of parallel parking and still accommodate a vibrant and accessible streetscape.

    Proposed Solutions:

    • Increase front building setbacks from 0 m to 2.5 m on lots abutting Pemberton Avenue, Victoria Street, Vancouver Street, Third Avenue and Second Avenue within the area shown on the map below.
    • Decrease rear laneway setback from 3.5 m to 1 m on lots abutting Pemberton Avenue, Victoria Street, Vancouver Street, Third Avenue and Second Avenue within the area shown on the map below.
    • Increasing the front building setbacks on Pemberton Avenue, Victoria Street, Vancouver Street, Third Avenue and Second Avenue would allow for an enhanced standard of streetscape accommodating active transportation objectives while still maintaining two lanes of on-street parking. Decreasing the rear laneway setback from 3.5 m to 1 m will ensure that the majority of lots along these key transportation corridors will not lose any buildable area.

    3 downtown commercial image

  • 4. Cleveland Commercial Height

    March 7, 2017 Update: Council has rescinded second reading of this bylaw. It will no longer be included in the March 14th Public Hearing.

    Proposed Bylaw No. 2515, 2016 - view the proposed bylaw.

    Decrease the height of commercial zoned properties along Cleveland Avenue, between Buckley Avenue and Vancouver Street.

    This update proposes to decrease the height of commercial zoned properties along Cleveland Avenue between Buckley Avenue and Vancouver Street from 20 m (66 ft) to 10 m (33 ft) or two storeys, whichever is less. Elements of the 2014 Draft Downtown Neighbourhood Plan are in the process of being incorporated into the current OCP update, including policies on the use, density and height of downtown development along Cleveland.

     4 cleveland commercial

    There is concern of a lag between forthcoming development and the adoption and subsequent implementation of the updated OCP, and a desire to protect the downtown core as Squamish’s main commercial area. This concern informed the creation of the Cleveland commercial height amendment as directed by the following motion, from the December 20, 2016 Committee of the Whole meeting:

    “THAT Council direct staff to prepare an amendment to the Zoning Bylaw to limit the maximum height of building fronting Cleveland Avenue, from Buckley Avenue to Vancouver Street.”

    Proposed Solution:

    • Decrease maximum height permitted in the C-4 or CD-37 zones, only for properties fronting Cleveland Avenue, between the cross streets of Buckley Avenue and Vancouver Street, from 20 m to 10 m or two storeys, whichever is less.
  • 5. Paco Road

    Proposed Bylaw No. 2517, 2017 - view the proposed bylaw.

    Update the zoning for Paco Road to better fit the current land use.

    The District of Squamish is proposing to rezone the Paco Road area from Multiple Unit 2 (RM-2) to a new Light Industrial zone that would incorporate some appropriate residential uses (live/work). The 2015 Employment Lands Strategy identified rezoning Paco Road to support employment and jobs in Squamish. This area was rezoned in 1990 to allow multi-family residential development, which restricted the existing businesses from expanding or upgrading their facilities. The District of Squamish wants to resolve the non-conforming issue faced by Paco Road owners and tenants, and legitimize the current uses to support this important industrial hub.

    Proposed Solution:

    • Creation of a new Light Industrial Small Lot (I-10) zone to permit continued light industrial use of these lands.

    03142017 PH bylaw 2517 map

Post your comment


  • Jon Polman Jan 3, 2017, 6:10 PM (5 years ago)

    Re mini storage. There needs to be more storage options. Increased population, secondary suites, carriage homes, apartments, subdivision, small lots etc etc. people will need storage. The storage facilities can pay taxes.

  • Jeff Levine Dec 22, 2016, 9:07 AM (5 years ago)

    Existing permitted accessory buildings conversion to Carriage House.
    If an accessory building was built under a DOS building permit (prior to the current bylaws governing the same ~ 2016), the setbacks for the side and rear should be the same set backs as when the accessory building was built under permit.

    Our community needs more rental options and with the current waiving of all DOS permit expense to construct Carriage Houses the current bylaw with the larger setbacks is not fair to those who built accessory buildings prior to any Carriage House setback bylaws. Now in some cases the accessory buildings are out by 2 feet or less to allow a second floor Carriage House.

    I am of the opinion that modifying the bylaw to reflect the proposed change will create more infill rental housing and avoid numerous 'Board of Variance' applications that are expensive and time consuming for both DOS and the homeowner.

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