Land Use Contracts

In 2014, the provincial government passed legislation that will terminate all Land Use Contracts on June 30, 2024.

In this legislation, municipalities were also given the ability to terminate Land Use Contracts prior to 2024.  On February 23, 2017, Victoria Council directed staff to initiate a process for early termination of Land Use Contracts found throughout the City (approximately 42 in total). 

The benefits of undertaking this initiative at this time include:

  • ensuring consistency with the Official Community Plan 2012
  • removing regulatory barriers for property owners
  • maintaining consistency with other BC municipalities that are also terminating their land use contracts

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Land Use Contract?

    Land Use Contracts were used as a regulatory tool in place of zoning in the 1970s. The contracts generally addressed development issues that zoning could not, making zoning irrelevant.

  2. Why is the City terminating Land Use Contracts now?

    A number of Land Use Contracts no longer align with City policy, such as regulations for liquor licences, cannabis dispensaries and casinos. This will fix inconsistencies between the underlying zoning and the Official Community Plan.

  3. What happens when the Land Use Contracts are terminated?

    In most cases, once the Land Use Contracts are terminated, the underlying zoning will apply to the properties. In a few instances, if the underlying zoning does not align with the current use, the use and/or structure may be considered legal non-conforming. If the underlying zoning is inconsistent with the Official Community Plan, Council may consider rezoning the property.

  4. Who will pay for the rezonings?

    The process is City initiated and rezonings will only occur when there are discrepancies between the current zoning and City policy. Property owners will not incur any costs unless they request to rezone to a district not recommended by staff or seek a variance for an extension.

  5. Does the City of Victoria require authorization from property owners for the Land Use Contract to be terminated?

    No, provincial legislation enacted in 2014 allows the City to terminate land use contract without authorization from the landowner.

  6. Will the City notify property owners if their Land Use Contract is proposed for termination?

    Yes, prior to the Public Hearing the City of Victoria will notify all property owners and tenants within the land use contract as well as owners and occupiers of property within 100 metres of the land use contract boundaries.  A notice will also be published in the local newspaper. 

  7. If Council approves the Land Use Contract termination, when does the underlying zoning take effect?

    The Land Use Contract termination bylaws and the new zoning come into effect one year after they are adopted. During this year the rules and regulations of the Land Use Contract that is being terminated will continue to apply.

  8. Where can I get more information on the Provincial legislation affecting Land Use Contracts?

    Division 16 – Discharge and Termination of Land Use Contracts of the Local Government Act outlines the regulations for the early termination of Land Use Contracts.


  9. Is it possible to extend the terms of a land use contract?

    Yes, property owners can apply to the Board of Variance for an exemption if the termination of the Land Use Contract would cause undue hardship. Successful applications can extend the terms of the Land Use Contract up to June 30, 2024.

  10. What does this mean for development on my property?

    If existing uses and lawfully built structures do not comply with the underlying zoning, they will have legal non-conforming status, which means they will be allowed to continue. Structures and uses that are not currently in existence must comply with the zoning regulation.