What is a land use plan?

    The City creates land use plans for areas that are experiencing growth and development pressure. A plan determines what can be built and where. It guides the City when considering future development applications. 

    Typically a land use plan will aim to:

    • Designate future land uses;
    • Guide density and height of buildings;
    • Increase employment space;
    • Address housing affordability;
    • Upgrade streets and add connections;
    • Improve parks and public spaces; and,
    • Renew and add public amenities.

    Without a plan, development can occur haphazardly and can lead to speculation and a lack of community amenities and infrastructure. A land use plan provides more certainty for residents, developers, and the City about the community’s future.

    Why is the City updating the City Centre Plan?

    City Centre is experiencing significant growth as it develops into the region's second metropolitan core. While the City Centre Plan was only recently completed in 2017, there are several reasons to revisit the plan at this time.

    • Strong office growth is occurring in various locations throughout City Centre. Surrey is establishing a Central Business District to ensure there's sufficient space for office development and that it's focused in a central location that creates a critical mass of employment activity.
    • Since the plan was adopted by Council a SkyTrain extension was approved along Fraser Highway with a station planned at 140 Street. A review of the surrounding area is needed to ensure safe and convenient access and suitable transit-supportive land uses.
    • The Bolivar Heights neighbourhood of City Centre has been experiencing growth and development pressures not anticipated by the plan. A review of the neighbourhood is needed to ensure that approved developments are part of a coherent land use pattern.

    Will this plan rezone my property?

    No. When the plan update is complete it will only indicate the future potential for land through a designation. Designations describe the general form that can be built on a property. For example, “commercial,” “mid-rise mixed use,” or “park” are all designations. Development applications such as development permits and rezoning applications are still typically required before anything can be built. During a development application process, a public hearing and Council approval are required.

    When will development occur?

    Simply, a land use plan is a tool to provide certainty for residents, developers, and the City about the community’s future. However, development is in large part market driven, meaning that it will occur when and where there is a demand for new housing, commercial space, etc.

    The City Centre Plan provides a long range vision for the community. The pace of development is dependent on individual property owners redeveloping or choosing to sell their property.  If there aren’t willing buyers, sellers, and developers, then not much will change. In some parts of City Centre it will takes decades for changes to occur. In other areas redevelopment will occur much more quickly as is occurring in some central locations.

    How will the plan improve my neighbourhood?

    Many public facilities and services are essential to the day-to-day lives of residents, such as parks, community centres, cultural spaces, public art, childcare facilities, and libraries.

    The City is typically responsible for providing many of these community amenities. When new development occurs in an area that has a land use plan, financial contributions from new development help fund these amenities. These are called Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) and are collected from developers as part of rezoning applications.