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City of Delta to get completely out of the 1970s by 2024

Properties that still have land use contracts on the title have terms of that supersede the underlying municipal zoning
delta house construction land use contract
Delta has been trying to discharge land use contracts whenever possible.

Seven more are to come off the books.

On the agenda for the next regular meeting of city council on Monday, June 27 are staff recommendations to discharge seven old land use contracts as part of zoning applications.

The various applications involve proposals to add secondary suites within single-detached houses or constructing a new house with a basement suite.

While basement suites are now permitted in most zones as long as they meet current zoning requirements, properties that have land use contracts in many instances aren’t permitted to have them.

Council recently approved an application for a land use contract discharge for a house on 81 Avenue.

The owner of that house proposed to discharge the land use contract registered on their property in order to retain a secondary suite within the basement of the dwelling.

That suite was constructed without permits and is also contrary to the land use contract.

Despite area residents expressing concerns about additional vehicles parked in the driveway and on the street and increased traffic, council also agreed to waive the requirement for a public hearing for that application.

According to planning staff, the discharge would bring the property under current zoning regulations and would give the owner flexibility to make further alterations without a land use contract amendment.

Mostly created in the early 1970s, land use contracts were signed at the time of a property's original subdivision and outline various development guidelines.

The land use contract legislation was repealed in 1978 and no new contracts could be created.

However, the existing contracts have remained in place.

While Delta no longer uses such contracts, there are still thousands of legally binding agreements registered on titles that remain frozen in time.

In recent years, Delta updated its zoning bylaws, but the old land use contracts still supersede them, regardless of whether the contracts conform to new standards.

Those contracts on properties vary with some more restrictive than current zoning and others less restrictive, especially on things like housing setbacks,height and massing.

Delta council in 2017 decided to take advantage of new provisions under the Local Government Act that allow cities to expire all old contracts by 2024, with an option for even earlier terminations.

The city in 2014 opted for early termination of land use contracts for more than 100 industrial and commercial properties, but continue to deal with residential properties on a case-by-case basis.