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12Dec
2013

“What’s Density?” - A Common Sense Answer

The BC Supreme Court, in issuing reasons for judgment in Society of Fort Langley Residents for Sustainable Development v. Langley (Township), has provided at least a partial answer to the long-simmering question of what constitutes “density” for the purpose of various rules in Parts 26 and 27 of the Local Government Act that prohibit the variance of use and density restrictions in zoning bylaws. After two days of hearing last October, the Court set aside a heritage alteration permit (HAP) that had been issued to authorize the development of a mixed-use building in the Fort Langley Heritage Conservation Area designated in the Township’s official community plan. The issuance of the permit potentially engaged the prohibition in Part 27 of the Local Government Act against varying “the use or density of use” specified in the applicable zoning bylaw with a heritage alteration permit. Such a prohibition is also found in Part 26 of the Act in relation to board of variance orders, development permits and development variance permits, and there are several provisions of the Act that stipulate a public hearing requirement for authorizations that vary the use or density of use. None of these provisions has previously been the subject of any direct judicial attention.

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