Zoning Bylaw Update 2018

2018 Zoning Bylaw, Business Licence Bylaw, and Fees and Charges Bylaw Update (2018 Omnibus)



The 2018 Zoning Bylaw Update was adopted on July 24, 2018. These changes have been included in the most recent consolidation of the Zoning Bylaw.




To keep up with the community’s changing needs, the District of Squamish undertakes an annual update of the Zoning Bylaw. This year we are also updating the Business Licence Bylaw and Fees and Charges Bylaw.   

A Public Hearing on the 2018 Omnibus will be held on July 17, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at the District of Squamish Municipal Hall, 37955 Second Avenue, Squamish, B.C.

We invite you to attend the Public Hearing to voice your comments and concerns.

The following Zoning, Business Licence, and Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaws are proposed:

Zoning Bylaw:

Amending Bylaw (Miscellaneous Amendments) No. 2607, 2018

Amending Bylaw (Electric Vehicle Charging) No. 2610, 2018

Amending Bylaw (Cannabis) No. 2611, 2018

Amending Bylaw (Cannabis Production) No. 2618, 2018


Business Licence Bylaw:

Amending Bylaw (General Amendments) No. 2592, 2018


Fees and Charges Bylaw:

Amending Bylaw (General Amendments) No. 2591, 2018

Community feedback on the 2018 Omnibus is valued and appreciated, and will help us to work toward solutions that are thoughtful and reflective of community input. If you are unable to attend the Public Hearing, or want to provide further input, comments can be submitted to the Community Planning Department at planning@squamish.ca

The District of Squamish hosted an open house on Thursday, June 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Co., 37801 Cleveland Avenue. Materials from the open house are included within the topic categories below. 

Stay up to date on the progress of the 2018 Omnibus by following this page
or contact the Community Planning Department at planning@squamish.ca or 604-815-5002 to learn more.

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2018 Omnibus Bylaw Update

  • Cannabis regulations


    • The District of Squamish has regulated Medical Marihuana Production Facilities since 2012. They are currently allowed in most Industrial Zones (I-1 to 1-5 and 1-8 to 1-10) in Squamish. In anticipation of the forthcoming legalization of cannabis (Cannabis Act), the District is revisiting these regulations. Proposed changes include adding a 150 m buffer from schools and parks, and a 60 m buffer from residential properties. Proposed changes also include a definition for ‘schools’, addition of cannabis production specific parking regulations and addition of regulations to address concerns with glare/light nuisance.

    Retail sales (dispensaries)

    • The District of Squamish has regulated Dispensaries since 2016. In anticipation of the forthcoming legalization of cannabis (Cannabis Act), the District is revisiting these regulations. Proposed changes include adding a 300m buffer to Brennan Park to prevent dispensaries from opening nearby and to clarify that the use is not permitted in the I-9 Zone. Other changes include changing all references to ‘marijuana’ or ‘marihuana’ to ‘cannabis’ to ensure consistency with the Cannabis Act.

    View the materials.

  • Residential Housing regulations

    Flex units in duplexes and townhomes

    • Flex units were introduced as an alternative form of housing during the 2017 Zoning Bylaw update. Flex units are a form of suite that are permitted in duplexes and townhomes. Staff are proposing allowing these in all RS-2 zoned lots, so long as the suite can both meet the parking requirements and meet BC Building Code requirements for fire separation.

    Residential small lot (RS-3 Zone) housing siting and size

    • The current RS-3 siting and size regulations have led to larger homes being developed on smaller lots. This does not align with the original intent of the RS-3 Zone which was to encourage smaller, more affordable dwellings on small lots. The current RS-3 density, height, and lot coverage regulations are all proposed to be reduced. These reductions would produce smaller homes that are aligned with the intent of the RS-3 Zone and a better fit on a small lot.  

    Secondary suites

    • Staff propose specifying a maximum of 70 m2 of habitable (living) space in carriage houses to ensure that the remainder of these buildings are used as a garage rather than additional habitable space. A maximum of 90 m2 of habitable space will be stipulate for energy efficient construction.

    • Staff propose amending the zoning bylaw to ensure that garages built below secondary suites can be accessed by vehicles.

    • Staff propose renaming ‘Accessory Residential Dwelling’ to ‘Caretaker Dwelling’ to clarify the distinction of this use from ‘Accessory Dwelling Unit’.

    Missing middle housing forms in residential zones

    • Staff are considering amendments to the RS-1 zone that would enable the development of ‘missing middle’ housing forms. These changes include the following options:
      • Combine RS-1 and RS-2 zones to add two-unit dwellings as a permitted use in the RS-1 zone for all properties except large, undeveloped lots where sub area planning should be completed.
      • Permit triplexes to be built on corner lots within the RS-1 zone. Triplex development would meet same general form and massing as single-unit dwellings but may require a reduction to the exterior side yard setback, driveway access from both roads and/or a minor increases to the floor area ratio.
      • Limit the maximum floor area ratio on RS-1 lots to 0.45 for single unit dwellings and 0.5 for two unit dwellings to maintain a scale that is compatible with existing neighbourhoods and provides an incentive for developing a range of housing forms.
      • Permit ‘cottage clusters’ in the RS-1 zone. Cottage clusters are multiple small homes on individual lots. Proposed regulations include: minimum parcels size of 1296 m2, 1 unit/320 m2, maximum floor area per unit 90 m2, maximum height 6.7 m, reduced setbacks, 1 parking space per unit, clusters only permitted outside floodplain or overland flow areas (potentially with a height bonus to accommodate FCL).

    Open space requirements in multi-family zones

    • The existing requirement for common useable open space only applies to Multiple Unit and Comprehensive Development zones. Staff propose extending these requirements to all townhouse and apartment land uses outside the downtown area.
    • Currently there is no requirement for indoor amenity space in apartment buildings. Staff propose a requirement of a minimum of 37 m2 of indoor amenity space for apartments of 10-20 units and an additional 2.0 m2 per dwelling unit in excess of 20 units.

    View the materials. 

  • Environmental and Energy regulations

    Electric vehicle charging stations

    • The 2017 Zoning Bylaw update introduced a requirement that 30% of all parking stalls in new multi-family developments have access to an electric vehicle charging receptacle. The District is exploring whether it’s feasible to require access for 100% of all parking stalls in new multi-family buildings.

    Energy efficiency incentives

    • Currently, the Zoning Bylaw incentivizes more energy efficient buildings by providing density bonuses and height bonuses for buildings that meet a certain insulation value (Zone 6: Whistler). To align the Zoning Bylaw with the BC Energy Step Code, the incentives will remain, but will require that buildings go one step above the applicable base step to receive the bonus.
    • Current calculations of gross floor area do not vary for walls built to a thicker standard, which creates a disincentive for energy efficient construction. Staff propose excluding a portion of wall thickness in these situations from gross floor area calculations.


    • For housekeeping purposes to improve bylaw clarity staff propose synchronize the ‘Thermal Energy System’ use and ‘Neighbourhood Energy Utility’ terms for clarity within the Zoning Bylaw.

    Ecological Conservation and Groundwater Protection

    • The draft Official Community Plan includes support for the development of new zones to reflect land use intentions. Staff propose drafting an ecological conservation zone and a groundwater protection zone to support long term sustainable protection of natural resources within the community.

    Uses and Development in Hazard Lands

    • Currently the definition of habitable area differs between the Zoning Bylaw and Floodplain Management Bylaw. Staff propose synchronizing the definition in the zoning bylaw to clarify what is included in habitable area and can be built below the flood construction level.

    View the materials.

  • Employment and Business Park regulations

    Vehicles associated with home occupations

    • Home Occupations are required to provide 1 parking stall for each full time employee. To prevent businesses that may create a nuisance outside of the home, the District is proposing limiting the number of ‘work vehicles’ allowed to be associated with the business to two. 

    Residential child care facilities

    • The Business Licence Bylaw requires that new residential child care facilities provide notification to their neighbours that a new facility will be operating, but does not clarify how many days advanced notice to give. The changes will require that new residential child care facilities provide neighbours with notice 10 business days prior to the first day of operation.
    • To be consistent with the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, the Business Licence Bylaw will not require a business licence for residential child care facilities that care for 2 or fewer unrelated children.

    Downtown commercial (C-4 Zone) area extension

    • Recent amendments to the Downtown Commercial (C-4) Zone around density, upper storey setbacks and frontage on Cleveland were brought in to help maintain the existing character of Cleveland Avenue. These amendments apply to properties fronting Cleveland Avenue south of Pemberton Avenue, but there is a desire to include development between Pemberton Avenue and Buckley Avenue to ensure the character of Cleveland Avenue is also maintained in this gateway area.

    Intensification of employment zones

    • Staff propose zoning amendment to support more intensive use of employment lands through increased Floor Area Ratios and building heights while balancing impacts to the economic impacts of employment activities.

    Bike and change facilities in employment zones

    • Staff propose zoning bylaw amendments to require the provision of shower and change room facilities in employment zones in order to support employee use of active transportation options for commuting to work.

    Open space requirements in employment zones

    • Currently the zoning bylaw does not include any open space requirements for employment land within the Squamish Business Park. Staff propose adding an open space requirement for large developments to provide support health and wellness of employees within the Business Park.

    View the materials.

  • Quest University Zoning Regulations

    Housing forms and densities (UH-1 and UC-1 Zones)

    • Currently the UH-1 and zone includes single-unit dwellings as permitted a permitted use. The University Sub Area Plan specifies that the majority of development at the university be multifamily development. Staff propose removing single-unit dwellings as a permitted use from undeveloped land where no subdivision applications have been made in order to ensure the intentions of the Sub Area Plan area achieved.
    • The current zoning lacks clarity in the allocation of permitted housing units across the UH-1 zone. Staff propose allocation the permitted units across the UH-1 zone based on existing private agreements which currently govern where housing can be built.
    • The University Sub Area Plan stipulates that a commercial centre be developed adjacent to the university campus; however, the zoning regulations are not drafted in a manner to ensure the commercial development occurs. Staff propose amending the zoning so that the land suitable for development of the commercial centre is preserved for that use.
    • Currently the UH-1 zone permits uses from UC-1 zone with no minimum lot sizes which could result in land use incompatibilities. Staff propose developing minimum parcel sizes for specific land uses.
    • Currently the UH-1 zone does not include setbacks for single-unit and two-unit dwellings Area 2 of the zone. Staff propose clarifying the setback by applying the setbacks for Area 1 to Area 2.
    • Currently the UC-1 zone includes does not include comprehensive zoning regulations for Student and Faculty Housing. Staff propose amending the UC-1 zone to include clarify Student and Faculty Housing does not include single unit development, and to add a minimum lot size, maximum lot coverage, and maximum floor area ratio for student and faculty housing on UC-1 zone, similar to RM-3 zoning.

    Park space

    • The University Sub Area Plan stipulates that a large neighbourhood park and potential school site be dedicated within the University area. Currently the zoning does not reflect these land uses. Staff propose amending the zoning so that the land suitable for development of the park and school is preserved for that use, in line with a covenant registered on title of the properties.

    View the materials.

  • Business Licence Bylaw and Fees and Charges Bylaw