Official Community Plans

An official community plan (OCP) describes a community's vision for five or more years. It guides the decisions of elected officials and local government staff.

Usually this type of plan outlines how specific areas of the community will be used. For example:

  • Residential, commercial, agricultural or industrial uses
  • Schools
  • Roads
  • Sensitive environmental areas
  • Parks
  • Infrastructure and services (e.g. water and sewer)

An official community plan will also address housing policies – for example, housing affordability, rental housing and special needs housing. It will also provide guidance on matters affecting housing affordability, such as public transportation or access to employment and amenities.

Small Community Examples

Parksville: Includes policies that address affordable housing – for example the development of complete communities and improving walkability for residents. Fostering partnerships with other levels of government and community groups, supporting secondary suites and carriage homes, and waiving certain charges for affordable housing developments are also strategies mentioned. Read the Official Community Plan

Peachland: Housing policies include accommodating new residential development through infill and redevelopment in existing areas, supporting compact housing for seniors and other groups, encouraging rental housing in designated areas, and promoting alternative forms of affordable housing (e.g. housing cooperatives and non-profit housing). Read the Official Community Plan

Pemberton: Includes housing policies for both rental and homeownership. The rental policy aims to develop quality rental housing for residents with low to moderate incomes. The homeownership policy supports a variety of affordable options for young families, first-time home purchasers, retirees and seniors. The housing policies in Pemberton's OCP implement several of the strategic directions identified in the Village's Affordable Housing Strategy, such as encouraging secondary suites. Read the Official Community Plan (PDF, 16.4 MB) and Affordable Housing Strategy (PDF, 2.4 MB)

Sidney: A number of policies focus on residential land use, planning complete communities (including infill development that respects the character of the neighbourhood), inclusive and attainable housing (e.g. secondary suites are encouraged in areas zoned for single-family dwellings). Read the Official Community Plan

Mid-Size Community Examples

Esquimalt: Focus is on housing affordability – it includes policies for partnerships between private, public and non-profit sectors, affordable family housing and ‘aging in place’ to support older residents, among others specific to housing affordability. The OCP's housing policies are broad and address all types of housing. As the plan notes, “[a]ffordable housing is central to community livability and is not synonymous with social housing or low-income housing.” Read the Official Community Plan (PDF, 7.5 MB)

Large Community Examples

Coquitlam: The housing section focuses on preserving the characteristics that make neighbourhoods distinctive while offering greater housing choice. Housing policies address issues like sensitive residential intensification, facilitating attractive forms of compact housing, and the importance of rental housing. Read the Official Community Plan

Nanaimo: Policies include offering incentives to developers for creating affordable housing units, allowing one registered secondary suite per owner-occupied detached dwelling, and prohibiting the conversion of existing residential rental buildings to condominium status when the rental vacancy rate falls below a certain threshold. Read the Official Community Plan

Saanich: Addresses multi-family housing, two-family housing and housing affordability. One housing policy encourages the creation of affordable and special needs housing by reviewing regulatory bylaws and fee structures to remove development barriers and provide flexibility and incentives. Read the Official Community Plan

Resources

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