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Up for debate: spot zoning

FILE PHOTO (iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As real estate continues to dominate headlines in the Lower Mainland a panel of experts are debating the merits of spot zoning at an Urbanarium City Debate.

“Spot zoning” happens when a developer wants to rezone a certain area for a different purpose than the city’s plan.

Those plans would go to a public hearing before city council to get approved.

Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr is not a fan of the practice, saying it puts the needs of developers ahead of everyone else.

“It’s not effective and more than that, it’s never going to get us the kind of city we want. It’s developers determining how the city unfolds, rather than the citizens engaged in a city planned discussion.”

Carr believes these zoning exceptions can lead to even more exceptions and the slippery slope has consequences.

“The next developer comes in and says ‘Oh well there’s 30 storeys already here so I’d like to apply for 32 storeys’ and I’ve just seen this escalation of height and density that seems to have no end.”

Proponents of spot zoning say it allows for new forms of development that don’t adhere to the sometimes strict city plans and can lead to negotiating trade-offs with developers for public amenities.