Creating a Vibrant Downtown Squamish

Temporary Floor Area Ratio regulations for Large Lots on Cleveland Avenue

The District has identified that the emerging direction of the current public engagement efforts on the Downtown Core Zoning update is quite different from what the current C-4 zoning allows with respect to Floor Area Ratio (Building Volume). Current zoning, particularly on lots larger than 0.2 hectares, could jeopardize the achievement of the Downtown Cleveland vision of a main street, and the community engagement efforts to date. In order to avoid the issue of immediate development applications short-circuiting public feedback on this important topic, the District is proposing a temporary introduction of a Floor Area Ratio maximum of 1.5 for four large properties/sites on Cleveland Avenue. This will allow the District four months to conclude the Downtown Zoning update and ensure that applications in the interim don’t thwart the intent of community engagement. The proposed Bylaw expires in April 2018. If the District hasn’t completed the Downtown Zoning update at that time, the zoning will revert to the current C-4 zone provisions.

It is important to note that the proposed temporary Floor Area Ratio maximum of 1.5 does not prevent development of these properties, it simply limits potential building volume, facilitating more open space and stepping back of upper storeys. Temporary Floor Area Ratio of 1.5 does allow for taller buildings.

Read the Report to Council


Public Open House

The District of Squamish is hosting an open house engagement event to discuss Cleveland Avenue Character. This event will build on the previous downtown zoning workshop that occurred last month, on October 25, 2017.

The event will focus on how we can capture the existing main street feel of Cleveland Avenue while ensuring that the Downtown core continues to grow and revitalize. The following zoning topics will be covered:

  • Introducing building volume regulations (Floor Area Ratios or FARs)
  • Stepping back upper storeys of new buildings from Cleveland
  • Setting narrow frontages (maximum commercial unit widths)

The proposed zoning changes would apply to properties on Cleveland between Pemberton Avenue and
Main Street (see map below).

Drop-In Open House:  

Date: Monday, November 27, 2017
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Location: Municipal Hall, 37955 Second Avenue

The event will be a drop-in, open house format, with poster boards summarizing the proposed zoning topics and staff available to answer questions and discuss each topic area.

Community feedback on this initiative is valued and appreciated, and will help us to work toward solutions that are reflective of community input. If you are unable to attend the event, or want to provide further input, the posters and an info package will be posted on the project webpage by Thursday, November 23, and comments can be submitted to the Community Planning Department at


Workshop #2

October 2017 Update: On October 25, the District of Squamish hosted a second community workshop to discuss downtown zoning changes. This workshop built on the previous downtown zoning workshop that occurred in May 2017.

At the workshop we shared what we heard from the community in the first round of engagement, and how that input has informed the District’s proposed downtown Zoning Bylaw amendments that focus on:

  • Employment space
  • Setbacks (for Second, Third and Pemberton Avenues)
  • Cash-in-lieu parking regulations
  • Cleveland Avenue character preservation (building heights)

For more information on these topics, please look at materials from the October 25 workshop.

Community feedback on this initiative 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 workshop, or want to provide further input, the workshop presentation, posters and info package will be posted on the project webpage by October 27 and comments can be submitted to the Community Planning Department at

** Please submit comments by November 10, 2017. **

Materials from the October 25 workshop:

Downtown zoning changes updated Map 10122017

Council Update

September 2017 Update: Zoning options based on public input were brought to the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, September 12 for discussion purposes. At this meeting, Council endorsed the following options:

Employment Space:
Option B – Flexible Employment Space. Require a percentage or proportion of a building’s floor area to be employment space.

Option D – 2.5m setback along Third Avenue.

Option E – No setback along Second Avenue.
Option G – 1.5m setback along Pemberton Avenue.

Option K – Maximum buy out of 4 commercial stalls with option to increase buyout on a 1:1 ratio of on-site commercial stalls to cash-in-lieu stalls.
Option L – Unlimited buy out of commercial stalls for small lots.

View the Staff Report which contains details around the zoning options brought for Council’s consideration.

View the video of the Committee of the Whole meeting. 

Workshop #1

May 2017 Update: A May 4th workshop took a deep dive into the proposed zoning changes through a round-table discussion format. Stakeholders were invited to discuss the proposed changes with staff and fellow community members, and explore alternatives and options that will help us transform the Downtown into the vibrant and flourishing heart of our community.  


The District is proposing changes to specific Downtown commercial zones to implement the vision of the Downtown Neighbourhood and Active Transportation Plans and achieve the following:

  • Increase commercial and office space Downtown to foster local employment;
  • Improve Downtown streetscapes by making them more green and pedestrian and bike friendly, while maintaining parking.


Downtown Squamish has been the focus of multiple plans, visions and strategies throughout the years. With Squamish among the fasted growing communities in Canada, and an influx of recent development concentrated Downtown, we must seize this opportunity to bring the vision and plans towards fruition. The District recently completed a draft Downtown Neighbourhood Plan and an Active Transportation Plan; our Official Community Plan update is also moving towards completion this year. Now is our chance to ensure these new developments align with the community’s Downtown vision.


The District is reaching out to the community, and is working in partnership with the Downtown Squamish Business Improvement Association and Squamish Chamber of Commerce to involve as many stakeholders as possible in this Downtown engagement workshop. We will be looking for input from land owners, business owners, and tenants, as well as the wider community.   



 Thank you to everyone who made it out to the May 4 workshop and completed the online survey. Click here to view the survey results summary.

Stay up to date as we work towards implementing our Downtown and Active Transportation visions through zoning changes and other initiatives, by following this page. 

logos for 05042017 event

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  • Matthew McClenaghan May 02, 2017

    Downtown Squamish needs more density and people to create a vibrant pedestrian friendly community that can support local shops. At its current state the shops and streets look tired. New buildings and more people will bring the area back to life.

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