Transit-Oriented Areas

Bill 47 – Housing Statutes (Transit Oriented Areas) Amendment Act is intended to establish transit-supported densities adjacent to transit stations. These areas are referred to as Transit Oriented Areas (TOAs) and are designated around prescribed transit stations to help achieve the goals of transit oriented development. The goals include a diversity of housing types, a wide range of employment opportunities, amenities, and services within a 15- to 20-minute walk. 

TOA Regulation 674 identifies three bus exchanges in Nanaimo: Woodgrove, Country Club, and Vancouver Island University (VIU). Lands within a 400-meter radius of the centre point of the bus exchange, are subject to the following minimum densities, heights, and off-street parking requirements as shown in table below.  

Click the links below to view maps of the lands subject to the TOA Legislation:

The Province is requiring local governments to adopt the new TOA legislation by June 30, 2024. For more information on  what this means for Nanaimo, refer to the March 25, 2024 GPC | Agenda | Transit-Oriented Areas Staff Report.

Next Steps

Council gave 1st, 2nd and 3rd reading to the Transit-Oriented Areas Designation bylaw at the May 6, 2024 Council meeting. Final reading and adoption will be considering at the June 17, 2024 Council meeting. Council also gave 1st and 2nd reading to the Off-Street Parking Regulations Amendment Bylaw at the May 6, 2024 Council meeting. A public hearing is required prior to consideration of third reading and adoption of the Off-Street Parking Regulations Amendment Bylaw. This is scheduled to occur in late June 2024. Stay tuned to this webpage for the specific date.   

Stay Up-To-Date

As the City works through the changes needed to comply with this initiative, we want to ensure Nanaimo residents and businesses are aware of the related impacts and how they will affect our community. Information on the upcoming changes and updates will be communicated to the community both in digital and print formats. These include: the City's website, social media platforms, e-notifications (e.g. My Nanaimo This Week), press releases, online information sessions, handout and tax notice newsletter. Stay tuned!

Frequently Asked Questions

How will the rezoning process work in Transit Oriented Areas (TOAs)?
There is no requirement to pro-actively zone to the prescribed heights and densities in TOAs. The Minimum Allowable Density Framework does not change the existing rezoning process of a local government. See page 22 of the TOA Provincial Policy Manual. 

Will developers have to build to the minimum allowable density requirements?
There are no requirements for developers to build to the minimum density requirements. The Provincial density requirements are minimum allowable densities that establish an ‘envelope’ for development that cannot be denied based on the density being too high if the density is within the Provincial envelope. See page 10 of the TOA Provincial Policy Manual.

In a mixed-use building, would non-residential uses (e.g., commercial) contribute to the minimum allowable density?
Yes, all densities within mixed-used projects, including commercial, employment, institutional, or other uses, should be counted along with residential uses to the total density. See page 9 of the TOA Provincial Policy Manual.

When using the density bonus tool in TOAs, is the “base” density required to be the minimum allowable density set out in the regulations?
As an interim measure, local governments can use the existing base densities established in their zoning bylaws when using the density bonus tool in TOAs. This use of density bonus within the minimum allowable density framework will provide local governments with time to develop and implement new proactive planning tools, such as Amenity Cost Charges and other tools currently under development for consideration by government. It is anticipated that local governments would transition to using any new tools by mid 2025. See page 21 of the TOA Provincial Policy Manual.

Can municipalities set parking maximums in TOAs?
Local governments cannot set parking maximums for residential uses. The new parking legislation restricts local governments’ ability to require off-street parking for residential uses whether that is for minimum or maximum number of spaces in TOAs. Parking can still be required for non-residential uses, commercial loading and accessible parking in accordance with municipal parking regulations. Local governments can continue to impose design requirements for parking as determined by their bylaws. See page 14 of the TOA Provincial Policy Manual. 

Can municipalities require bicycle parking and/or transportation demand management measures in TOAs?
All requirements for off-street parking or space provisions for accessing vehicle parking, bicycle/micro-mobility parking, loading/unloading, service vehicle access, deliveries, and shared vehicles set by local governments for residential and residential mixed-use developments will still apply. See page 14 & 15 of the TOA Provincial Policy Manual. 

Can municipalities establish/use design guidelines in TOAs?Local Governments can apply their zoning authority to regulate use and tenure and/or standard site or building regulations, such as minimum lot frontage, site coverage, setbacks, urban design guidelines, public realm improvements, etc.

Will the Province allow TOA Areas that are zoned residential but designated in the OCP for other non-residential future uses such as industrial or institutional to be rezoned for those purposes?Rezoning in conformance with adopted OCP Plans and policies aligns with Provincial objectives.

Will new TOAs need to be designated in the future?The TOA legislation and regulations apply to current transit technologies and currently active or under construction transit stations. As transit technologies evolve and as transit services expand across the province, the legislation and regulations will be updated to accommodate those additions. See page 9 of the TOA Provincial Policy Manual.

Still Have Questions?

Provincial information on TOAs can be found here as well as under the “Document” tab below. Questions about TOAs can be directed to the B.C. Planning and Land Use Management Branch email:

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