What is infill and densification?

    Infill refers to developing within existing neighbourhoods, including small lots, carriage houses and duplexes.

    Densification refers to the redevelopment of existing sites with higher density, such as townhouses, apartments or mixed-use buildings.

    How is our community being preserved/ protected?

    It is important to note some key aspects of current policy direction that are not changing through this project. 

    Residential infill and densification continues to be focused within the Urban Settlement Area Boundary, consistent with current OCP policies and the CRD Regional Growth Strategy.

    By limiting new development to small scale infill within existing neighbourhoods and limited densification in the core commercial areas, the proposed polices would help mitigate pressures for urban sprawl onto our Rural and Agricultural lands.

    To remain strong on protecting agricultural and rural lands, we cannot grow out  therefore, new growth has to be accommodated within existing neighbourhoods and through densification within the core commercial areas of Brentwood Bay Village and Saanichton Village.

    The policies would help to create compact, walkable neighbourhoods where a range of commercial and community services are available, which is a fundamental principal of the OCP.  

    By providing more housing close to services, employment areas, and close to public transit we can reduce reliance on automobile and help to address Climate change.

    The District has been experiencing growth rates close to 1%, which is anticipated to continue through to 2036.

    An analysis of the Infill Development potential showed that the anticipated growth could be accommodated through infill development on Residential lands within the Settlement Area and with densification in the core Villages of Saanichton and Brentwood Bay, including medium density growth along the main travel corridors.  

    At this time, no changes to the Settlement Area Boundary are contemplated to accommodate growth.

    What do the changes mean to my property?

    The amendments that would have the most immediate impact are:

    • For all ‘R’ Residential zoned properties, the regulations would allow a 1-storey cottage as an alternative to a suite within the principal dwelling.  The R-1Z zone is an exception, since suites are currently not permitted within the R-1Z zone.  ‘R’ zones are located within the Urban Settlement Area Boundary and would capture most of our single-family dwelling neighbourhoods.
    • For all ‘RE’ Rural Estate zoned properties, the regulations would allow a cottage or 2-storey carriage house as an alternative to a suite within the principal dwelling.   The RE-5 zone is an exception since suites are currently not permitted within the RE-5 zone.  ‘RE’ zones are located outside of the Urban Settlement Area Boundary.
    • The R-2 zone currently permits duplexes if the lot is over 920 m(~9900 ft2), with single family dwellings on lots 660 m2 or larger.   The regulations would allow duplexes on lots 800 m2 (~8600 ft2) or larger; however, it is expected that most of those properties would require a variance from Council as well since a wider lot frontage is required to allow a duplex (26 m vs 21 m).
    • Currently the size of houses permitted is largely dependent upon the size of the lot, which can vary quite a bit within any given zone and also disrupts anticipated patterns of growth when comparing zones.  The proposed amendment would introduce a maximum house size into each ‘R’ zone.  A maximum house size in the Agriculture zone is also proposed that would be consistent with the provincial ALC regulations.
    • Where infill development is proposed within the community, a development permit approved by Council would be required to ensure new development is consistent with the guidelines.
    • The approval process around many types of development would remain the same, such as rezoning applications to allow small lot subdivisions, Council approval required for any proposed panhandle lot, and Council approval for any variances (ie: setback, height, or parking).

    What in the zoning of my property?

    1. You can see your property’s zoning at csaanich.ca/maps; this web-based application provides basic property information. 
    2. After opening the interactive map, select Layers 
    3. Click "+" next to Land Use and select Zoning. 
    4. To navigate to your property, you can zoom or use the search box (top right) and type in your address.

    Why do we need infill and densification in Central Saanich?

    Nearly two-thirds of our housing stock is increasingly expensive single-family dwellings. Housing supply and affordability have become increasingly more challenging; there are not enough options for seniors to downsize or young families to move into Central Saanich. Increasing the variety of available housing options through infill and densification can help meet our community’s evolving housing needs.

    Policies for infill and densification allow us to focus development applications in a way that creates the variety of housing options our community needs, including opportunities for affordable housing and options for seniors to age in place. Projections show the District will need to accommodate approximately 375 new dwellings by 2036 to keep up with growth.

    Why was the infill project done?

    Concerns about housing affordability and housing diversity, have continued to increase throughout our region, including Central Saanich which has limited housing options.  

    Infill developments have been occurring in the District for years, however, there have been some gaps in policy and a lack of development controls to guide development and mitigate impacts on the neighbourhood.

    This project is not about increasing projected growth trends, but rather being in a better position to respond to development proposals and direct anticipated growth to locations that are in the best interest of the community.

    This work builds on the fundamental principals in the Official Community Plan of providing a range of housing opportunities and to create walkable neighbourhoods.

    Adopting Infill Development Guidelines provides direction to property owners about design priorities and strategies to achieve sensitive infill.

    This project addressed a wide range of housing types, including types we currently experience or would like to encourage more of, such as carriage houses, small lots, duplexes and townhouses.  

    What other change may affect me?

    A number of regulations throughout the bylaw have been amended to be more consistent, such as:

    • Consistent setback of 4.5 m for external side yards in ‘R’ zones
    • Including maximum floor area for accessory buildings in ‘R’ zones, (currently ranges from either % lot coverage, floor area or both), and
    • Panhandle regulations have been added to all ‘R’ and ‘RE’ zones.

    • A number of definitions and general regulations have been amended to provide more clarity and better reflect how they are interpreted.

    • Some additional regulations are proposed to reflect common practice or trends, such as:
      • Allowing accessibility ramps in setbacks,
      • Reducing the rear yard setback for accessory buildings,
      • Defining ‘family’ to include up to 6 unrelated persons,
      • Allowing larger projections into a setback for exterior cladding and thicker insulated walls.