COQUITLAM, B.C., Feb. 10, 2021 – New regulatory improvements will provide residents and developers in Coquitlam with more clarity, consistency and flexibility when moving through the City’s development application process.
As a result of the City’s Development Application Review Process (DAPR) the City is considering a number of bylaw amendments that will improve development regulations in four key areas:
- Amendments to regulations in the Zoning Bylaw that frequently receive variance requests, in order to minimize these requests, reduce the overly prescriptive nature of the regulations and modernize parts of the bylaw.
- Housekeeping text amendments to the Zoning Bylaw in order to address administrative issues and improve the clarity and intent of the bylaw.
- A Policy to expand the use and acceptance of Letters of Assurance as a standard form of security. This will help to reduce costs for public and non-profit projects.
- A Policy and Procedure that sets out assessment criteria to evaluate development variance requests.
The feedback from the development community indicates that the proposed criteria for development variances will provide clear guidance and increase clarity and consistency for the process. Similarly, the amendments to the Zoning Bylaw will streamline the process and provide clarity for applications.
Supporting Growth and Economic Recovery
Coquitlam initiated the DAPR in 2018 to streamline processes, reduce processing times and enhance customer service through greater use of technology and changes in policies and procedures.
Through the DAPR, the City introduced a range of permanent initiatives, as well as temporary measures through 2020 in order to support the construction industry, which creates economic spinoffs such as jobs and purchases of goods and services.
The measures to date have reduced pre-application processing times by 15 per cent and building plan revision turnarounds by 40 per cent, even in the midst of the global pandemic.
Most of the new measures will stay and permanently improve the development application experience in Coquitlam. Temporary programs, like the security deposit deferrals and outdoor space expansion, will continue to be monitored and may be eased back, extended or permanently adopted over time.
About the Development Application Process Review
The DAPR is a priority in Coquitlam’s annual business plan and supports the City’s strategic goal of Excellence in City Governance. The current focus is on improving services and processing of the most complex and common application types, such as Official Community Plan amendments, rezoning, and subdivision and development permits.
With the aim of enhancing all aspects of the application process, the work has entailed a detailed review and update of workflows, steps, timelines, tools, standards and associated guidelines and policies.
The DAPR efforts build on in-house expertise with best practices and industry feedback. For example, last year, Coquitlam held workshops to seek feedback from the Urban Development Institute and Homebuilders Association Vancouver, and helped form Municipal Innovators Community – West, a group of public servants across Metro Vancouver that meets twice a year to share innovative process improvements, best practices and lessons learned.
Options for Planning and Development Services
Planning and Development continues to operate Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Drop-in visits are now permitted at the Planning and Development customer service centre at City Hall, although queues are common due to public health protocols.
The department can also be reached at 604-927-3430 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and file managers continue to be available by phone and email. Visit www.coquitlam.ca/development for more information and service updates.
Director Development Services
Planning and Development Department
City of Coquitlam