Zoning Bylaw Update FAQs

This is a collection of some common questions the Town has received from members of the community. This list will continue to be updated.

Community members are encouraged to discuss their specific questions with staff at the following events:

  • Open Houses
    Monday, May 6 – Friday, May 10th
    9am – noon
    Sidney Town Hall (2440 Sidney Ave)
  • Information Session
    Tuesday, May 7
    5pm – 7pm (Presentation to begin at 5:15pm)
    Mary Winspear Centre (2243 Beacon Ave)

Bill 44 is a recent piece of provincial legislation that requires all “single-family” zones in Sidney to permit up to 3 or 4 dwelling units on a lot. Changes to zoning bylaws to accommodate these new units must be made by June 30, 2024.

All properties currently in the “Neighbourhood Residential” zoning group (which includes zones R1, R1-ESA, R2, R2-ESA, and R3) are affected by Bill 44. Check the proposed Zoning Map to find the zoning on your property and see if Bill 44 applies. Specific building regulations for these zones can be found in Section 5.2.1 and 5.2.2 of the draft Zoning Bylaw.

Sidney’s zoning bylaw is being updated as required by provincial legislation to allow for up to 3 or 4 units on each “single-family” lot. Building heights, setbacks, and other building regulations are changing to ensure that the required number of units can be built. Categories like “single-family dwelling” are being removed from the bylaw, and replaced with a more general term of “dwelling unit”. Property owners will then be able to build up to 3 or 4 units on their property in a variety of configurations to suit their needs (e.g. 4 townhouse units, one single-family home with a suite, plus 2 garden suites, or a small 4-unit apartment building, etc.)

Providing flexibility in how housing can be built in Sidney will allow the housing needs of the community to be more specifically addressed. For example, two generations of the same family may choose to build two houses, each with a secondary suite, on the same lot, for a total of four units.

The draft Zoning Bylaw is seeking to ensure that meeting the Provincial requirements to allow 3-4 units on a lot, will still result in buildings that can integrate well into existing neighbourhoods. As a result, some gentle increases in building scale are being proposed, including increasing the number of storeys from 2.5 to 3, as well as a modest increase in building height of approximately 8-10 feet, depending on roof pitch. These changes are in line with Provincial Government guidance and requirements to allow 3-4 units on a lot. However, the overall scale of new development will not be dramatically different than that found in existing neighbourhoods.

If your property is located in a zone that is affected by Bill 44, the draft zoning bylaw is proposing up to a maximum of 4 dwelling units for lot areas greater than 280 m² and up to a maximum of 3 dwelling units for lot areas under 280 m².

For properties affected by Bill 44, a residential garden suite (also known as coach or carriage houses, detached accessory dwelling, etc.) will be permitted. The zoning parameters that apply differ by zone; check the Zoning Map to find the zoning of your property, then see Sections 5.2.1 and 5.5.5 of the draft zoning bylaw for specifics on where and how garden suites can be built.

Infrastructure may need to be upgraded in parts of the community with increased density. The Town is currently undertaking a utility study to ensure that its demand projections are up-to-date and the Town’s infrastructure will be adequate for the expected new development. Because the Provincial legislation requires municipalities to allow up to 3-4 units on a lot, infrastructure plans will need to be adjusted accordingly.

The airport does have specific height limitations for buildings depending on proximity to the runway, and all proposed height/density regulations in the draft Zoning Bylaw comply with these limitations.

Summergate Village will have a dedicated zone, the R4 zone, that will allow only manufactured homes. Zoning regulations in the R4 zone will be similar to those regulations found in the Summergate Village Land Use Contract, which currently regulates buildings in Summergate Village.

The natural boundary setback is the required distance that any buildings or structures must be sited from the high-water mark or top of river bank (otherwise known as the natural boundary). This required setback distance is being increased from 7.5 m (24.6 feet) to 15 m (49.2 feet) to help preserve and protect foreshore and riparian areas next to water bodies, and also prepare for the possibility of future sea level rise. Because most structures can be expected to last many decades, planning now for future sea level rise is critical.

In most cases, Section 529 of the Local Government Act protects existing structures, allowing their current setbacks to be retained and also allows for reconstruction at the current setback in the case of fire or flood damage. The increased setback is only applicable to new construction and in no case will a legally built structure within the proposed setback area be required to be removed.

Sidney’s approach to regulating short term rentals will not change. More information on the requirements to operate a short term rental in Sidney can be found on the Short Term Rentals page. Town of Sidney staff are currently working on a bylaw amendment that will require business licences for short term rentals, which is anticipated to come into effect in January 2025.

Road dedication is required to make space for planned infrastructure like road widening and realignment, bus stops, sidewalks, underground utilities including water, storm water, and sewer pipes.

If you are not able to attend the in-person events, you are always welcome to call, email, or come to Town Hall to talk to a planner. If you would like to provide feedback, written comments are encouraged and can be submitted to admin@sidney.ca or dropped off at Town Hall. There is a drop box at Town Hall if you are unable to make it to Town Hall during office hours.

Transit Oriented Areas are geographic areas within a prescribed distance from a transit station that meets certain criteria. The province has required that up to six units are to be allowed on lots serviced by rapid transit. There are no properties identified as Transit Oriented Areas (TOAs) or properties that meet this criteria in Sidney. If your property is affected by Bill 44, in Sidney, the maximum number of units you may be able to have on the property is four units.

Categories like “single-family dwelling” are being removed from the bylaw and replaced with a more general term of “dwelling unit”. BC Building Code requirements for adding a secondary suite are different than for adding another dwelling unit. Please talk to a Town Building Official for more information.

The existing use on the property would be able to continue, but any new uses would need to be listed as a permitted use within that zone. Single-family homes in multi-unit residential zones would be required to meet the regulations in those zones. At this time, multi-unit residential zones do not permit “secondary suites” in addition to a single-family home or duplex. This is intended to encourage and support increased housing supply in the community.


Parking in Sidney is regulated by the Town’s Off-Street Parking and Loading Bylaw, not by the Zoning Bylaw. No changes are proposed to the Off-Street Parking and Loading Bylaw at this time. In general, the bylaw requires one parking space per dwelling unit.

Some of the properties affected by Bill 44 fall within Development Permit Areas, which have guidelines for form and character. Check the Official Community Plan to see which are the designated form and character Development Permit areas.

No, the provincial changes do not require properties to have three or four units on the property. The changes will allow for the potential of up to three or four units, depending on the property. It is each property owner’s choice to determine whether or when to redevelop your property, add more dwelling units to it, or sell it to someone else.