Land Use Contracts in Richmond


Blog by Arnold Shuchat | November 24th, 2015


Tonight, the Richmond City Council adopted the bylaw to terminate as early as possible the Land Use Contracts that affected many lot parcels in the city.
Originally enacted by the provincial government, the Land Use Contracts (LUCs) were designed to expedite rapid development on the affected parcels and in many cases provided for increased densities than what would be allowed under current zoning law.  As a result there were some abuses by builders and owners of these lots whereby what many perceive to be "hotel-like" homes were built in neighbourhoods that did not share the aethetics envisioned by those builders.  In short, they thought that the new homes were huge and ugly and that they completely disregarded the character of the neighbourhoods.

Tonight that kind of abuse was reigned in by eliminating all LUCs within one year, the minimum time allowed by the provincial enactment.  Those property owners seeking to take advantage of their existing LUC density rights will need to have a completed building application within one year, i.e. November 23, 2016 or they will lose whatever rights were conferred upon them the by original LUC enactment.

One year is not that much time to engage the right building professionals, tweak the design so as to make it readilly marketable and ensure that the super-dense floor space proposal of yours gets through a likely over-worked and reluctant city hall development department, who are yearning for November 23, 2016.  I am sure that any "character-questionable" design proposals will be required to be vetted by City Council within that year as well.  Don't count on it happening so fast!

What we did witness tonight was the most civilized civic exchange in the most admirable, multi-lingual and multi-cultural cities.  The sincerity of our elected officials' responses and my own experience with city staff give me much comfort that with respect to individuals who might be negatively affected by this process, the right decisions will be made down the road to rectify any possible injustices due to a single bylaw which affects so many properties simultaneously.