Anmore South (the former Imperial Oil Company (IOCO) lands) encompasses 150 acres in the southern part of Anmore. To keep its options open, a previous Council established a Special Study Area overlay for this area in Anmore’s Official Community Plan back in 2005, and then requested the Special Study Area as part of the 2011 update to the Regional Growth Strategy with the understanding that a future decision would be made to confirm an official designation.
A change to the regional land use designation involves a comprehensive review process, including consultation with the community as a priority. As well, any future development application that involves changes to zoning and/or Official Community Plan would also require consultation with Anmore residents and additional analysis of how the development could affect the community.
At the December 5, 2023 Regular Council Meeting, Council gave first reading to the official Community Plan Designation Bylaw Amendment No.686-2023 related to icona Properties Ltd.’s application for the Anmore South lands. This is not approval of the bylaw. First reading starts a comprehensive exploratory process to consider the proposed OCP Bylaw amendment. There will be multiple steps in this process, and it will take time.
As an initial step, there will be a Committee of the Whole meeting on January 9, 2024. The meeting will be focused on key topics related to this application. This includes the Neighbourhood Plan, Public Engagement Strategy, and studies and assessment required for transportation impacts, financial sustainability and other topics important to Council and community discussion.
The proposed Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment for the Anmore South lands submitted by icona Properties Ltd. (icona) represents a significant change to Anmore’s future growth and development. Formerly known as the Imperial Oil Company (IOCO) lands, Anmore South encompasses 150 acres in the southern part of Anmore.
In its application, icona is proposing to change the land use designation for Anmore South from Rural to Urban. The application includes approximately 3,300 units, which could add 5,100 to 6,700 residents to Anmore’s population, as well as the introduction of commercial businesses. It is important to note that is what icona is proposing, but it is not necessarily what Council will approve.
At the Regular Council Meeting on Dec. 5, 2023, Council will consider the first reading of the proposed OCP bylaw amendment submitted by icona for the Anmore South lands. Council will be provided with information about what is included in icona’s proposed OCP amendments. Staff have reviewed the application for compliance with legislation and will be providing comments to ensure the amendments adhere to best practices in community planning.
What is First Reading?
When a bylaw amendment application is submitted, first reading provides Council with the opportunity to make a decision about whether it wants to explore the application.
First reading introduces a bylaw and provides context for what icona has submitted for the amendment application, and clarity about additional changes to the OCP that would be considered if Council directs staff to proceed with the amendment process. First reading is not an indication of whether the bylaw will be approved in the future.
If the proposed OCP bylaw amendment receives first reading, the Village will initiate a comprehensive process. This includes continued assessment of the required studies and analysis of how the proposed changes would affect the community.
In addition to a required Public Hearing, staff will also be recommending community engagement with Anmore residents and other interested and affected organizations to share the outcomes of the various studies and collect input and feedback on the proposed amendments.
OCP Amendment vs. Neighbourhood Plan
The upcoming consideration of first reading is for the proposed OCP Amendment Bylaw 686-2023, which includes policy changes to the OCP to accommodate different housing types and land uses for the Anmore South area. Specifically, icona’s amendments would allow for:
- A mix of multi-family housing like townhomes, condominiums and mixed-use buildings built over a 25-year period
- Commercial businesses
- Recreational and community facilities
- Parks, trails and other natural areas
- Metro Vancouver services like sewer and water to Anmore South
A Neighbourhood Plan is also an integral part of the recommended policy requirements for future development of Anmore South, and would require a separate OCP bylaw amendment process. It would include policy such as definitions of what is included in mixed use, maximum number of floors and types of commercial businesses permitted.
If this process moves forward, a Neighbourhood Plan development process would also include community engagement to gain insight into what the community envisions for this area.
The future of the Anmore South property (formerly called the IOCO lands) owned by icona Properties Ltd. (icona) is one of the most significant development initiatives in Anmore. We recognize that our community – and likely others in the region – are deeply interested in what will be done with this property. The Village also sees this as a priority, and we want to keep our residents informed about the current status of development proposed for the area.
As we advised last fall, icona submitted a subdivision application for 84 single-family lots on the 152-acre property based on the existing RS-1 (one-acre lot) zoning, and staff began the process to review the application. Council was not involved as there were no changes to the Zoning Bylaw or Official Community Plan (OCP) required.
Recently an OCP amendment application was received from icona indicating they are interested in a development that would require changing the land use designation and other updates to the OCP and Zoning Bylaw. This application triggers a much different – and much more comprehensive – process than the subdivision application, and it will require approval processes through Council and Metro Vancouver.
icona’s OCP Amendment Proposal:
In general, icona is proposing a development that would include a broader mix of housing beyond single-family homes to accommodate a range of lifestyles, life-stages and income. Their proposal also includes opportunities for small commercial businesses like a local grocery, shops and services. The proposed plan is for 3,300 homes in a mix of multi-family and mixed-use buildings that would be built over a 25-year period as well as the development of parks, trails, natural areas and recreational and community facilities.
This type of development would have a significant impact on Anmore and requires careful consideration of what it would mean for our community (including benefits and drawbacks), what types of housing and commercial businesses would be acceptable and how the development would fit with Anmore’s semi-rural community.
Some of the key requirements for a development proposal of this type include:
- amendments to Anmore’s OCP;
- development of a Neighbourhood Plan to align with the OCP to provide more detailed parameters for the type of development that would be permitted;
- Regional Growth Strategy update, including a change to the designation from Rural to Urban for the Anmore South property, and adding this area of Anmore to the Urban Containment Boundary; and
- amendments to Anmore’s Zoning Bylaw to add new zoning and requirements.
Multi-year process, with multiple studies and opportunities for input
A change of this magnitude will require extensive studies on how it will impact our community before any decisions can or should be made, and this planning process can take several years. Because the OCP amendment being proposed would involve changes to the Regional Growth Strategy land use designation and Urban Containment Boundary for the Anmore South property, the Village will follow both its own process and the requirements set by Metro Vancouver.
In short, there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and it’s going to take time and resources. As a small organization, the Village does not have the capacity or all the required expertise on staff. The proponent (icona) is responsible for the costs to implement the process, but the work will be done by external experts selected by the Village. Currently ISL Engineering is assisting the Village with identifying the requirements for OCP amendment process, and additional contractors will be brought into the project as things move forward.
The OCP amendment process starts with the First Reading of the proposed changes to the OCP Bylaw, which provides the context and some initial information about what is being proposed and how the process will move forward. This is only a preliminary step to start the process. From there, the Village will initiate the extensive work plan required to complete the necessary studies and community engagement with Anmore residents and other interested and affected organizations like the City of Port Moody and First Nations with historic ties to the area.
The following are examples of some of the technical analysis by experts that will be required:
- traffic impact studies and projections of the resulting new population;
- a complete analysis of impacts on Village finances resulting from development, including revenues and expenditures, asset management, and capital and operating considerations such as additional costs for policing and fire response;
- wildfire/fire impact strategies;
- an assessment of the amenity needs generated by the new population;
- social equity and inclusivity, including marginalized persons, age in place and accessibility;
- environmental impact assessments; and
- an analysis of potential job creation/employment impacts.
Staying Informed and Involved
Clearly, there are many steps involved before any decisions are made, and Anmore residents will be integral to the process. Part of this community involvement will include learning about the outcomes from the various reports and assessments to help provide informed feedback on the proposed development.
At this stage, Council is reviewing the proposed OCP amendment process, what will be required from icona and what the various stages will involve. There is a lot of information still required to gain an understanding of what the development would entail, how it would impact the community and what the expectations and limitations may be to guide any future growth.
As we get new information and as the process is finalized, we will be sharing updates with our community, including when and how you can get involved and share your input. In the meantime, we ask for your patience as we pull together information. It’s going to be important to have the facts and to look to experts for their analysis and assessments to help inform feedback and decisions at each step in the process.
Please click here to see the Council Report on the July 18, 2023 Regular Council meeting agenda that outlines the process considerations and provides general highlights on what is being proposed as part of this amendment application.
Here’s what we are asking from our residents:
- Stay informed about the facts by reviewing information shared by the Village as it is released through this multi-year process. We will be providing information and updates on the Village website and through Facebook and other communication to residents.
- Please participate in the community engagement opportunities to provide your input throughout this process.
- Please be patient as there will be a lot of planning, studies and information sharing over the next couple years.
The property owner has submitted an application for subdivision based on the current RS1 zoning, which is one-acre lots, and the application applies to the entire Anmore South property. The Village is treating this subdivision application the same way we do any other one. This means that when the completed application was submitted to the Village in June, the Approving Officer began the process to review the application.
It’s important to note that there is no opportunity for input by Council when processing this application as there are no changes to zoning. Anmore staff – specifically the Approving Officer – lead the process for reviewing the subdivision application. Subdivision applications are not submitted to Council, Council does not make any decisions about the timing or requirements for these applications and Council is not involved in the review and approval process. There is also no broad community engagement associated with a subdivision application – it is an administrative process.
Communication related to a subdivision application generally involves sending a letter to property owners adjacent to the affected property at a point in the process when there is confirmed information related to the application that can be shared publicly. This means there is usually no public communication about an application until the Preliminary Layout Review (PLR) is issued as the PLR is a signal to the applicant that the Approving Officer feels there is enough validity in their submission to warrant an approved subdivision in future, provided the applicant meets the requirements set out in the PLR. The PLR for this subdivision application was issued on Friday, Sept 23, 2022.
As the subdivision application process proceeds, the Approving Officer ensures that the application meets Village policy and bylaw requirements. While we recognize that there is interest in future plans for the Anmore South land, the Village is respecting the process and many of the details are not confirmed and the PLR has only just been issued.
For an overview of the Village’s subdivision application process, please click here.