Insight: REIBC blog > Betterment and Community

Betterment and Community

posted on 12:42 PM, October 6, 2015
838 West Hastings Street, Vancouver (Credit: Courtney Miller)

One way a municipality can levy costs for public purposes is to capture a portion of betterment—the increase in value resulting from government action, such as zoning. Nearly all Metro Vancouver local governments use some form of betterment recapture. Commonly used mechanisms include bonusing, transferring, or excluding floor area if certain conditions are met under existing zoning, and amending the zoning in association with an amenity contribution.

This practice sometimes attracts criticism due to the perception that amenity contributions are a new and excessive burden on development, but the practice isn’t new. With roots in nineteenth-century Europe, zoning regulation has been controlling land use and influencing land value for some time. Newer forms of development control, such as density bonusing, emerged in the 1960s and have incentivized the provision of public amenity spaces. Over time, betterment has increasingly been understood to belong to the community.

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Author Courtney Miller writes about capturing value through betterment in the City of North Vancouver and City of Vancouver in “For the Better? Zoning, Density Bonusing, and CACs” in the Spring 2015 issue of Input, page 26.

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