Skip navigation

Early Termination of Land Use Contracts (LUCs)

Land Use Contracts are zoning, development permits, subdivision layouts and servicing agreements all rolled into one document. These agreements were made in the 1970's. The LUCs have continued to be in effect as the de facto zoning unless the LUCs were discharged by the City through an owner-initiated discharge application process.

On May 29, 2014, the Province adopted legislation to terminate LUCs by no later than June 30, 2024. However, legislation allows municipalities to initiate early termination of LUCs through a specified process.  Surrey City Council has chosen to pursue early termination of LUCs, as described in Corporate Report No. R122, which was presented to Council on June 15, 2015.

Land Use Contract Legislation

In 1972, the Province adopted legislation to allow municipalities to enter into agreements with landowners and developers to address the various aspects of land development.  These agreements are called Land Use Contracts (LUCs). These LUCs are zoning, development permits, subdivision layouts and servicing agreements all rolled into one document. By the end of the 1970’s, the Province revised the legislation to discontinue municipalities from entering into further LUCs with landowners and developers.

LUCs have continued to be in effect as the de facto zoning, unless the LUCs were discharged by City Council following an owner-initiated discharge application process.  A total of 297 LUCs still remain active in Surrey.  Up until recently, only the land owner could initiate an LUC discharge.

On May 29, 2014, the Province adopted legislation to terminate LUCs by no later than June 30, 2024.  However, legislation allows municipalities to initiate early termination of LUCs through a specified process.  Surrey City Council has chosen to pursue early termination of LUCs, as described in Corporate Report No. R122, which was presented to Council on June 15, 2015.

The Relationship Between LUCs and Zoning

If a property lies within the boundaries of an LUC, all land use regulations are prescribed in the LUC.  Nevertheless, all properties in Surrey are assigned a Zoning By-law No. 12000 zone, including those properties that are governed by LUCs.  The zone assigned to a property that is regulated by an LUC is referred to as an "underlying zone".  Although all properties regulated by LUCs have underlying zoning, the underlying zone is to provide a general guide and has absolutely no effect on the land uses, density or building siting.

Once an LUC is terminated, the underlying zoning for the property automatically comes into effect.  However, there are properties within some LUCs that do not correspond well to the underlying zoning that has been assigned to the property, or that contain uses that are not equivalent to the uses, or mix of uses, contained within existing zones under Zoning By-law No. 12000.  In such instances, in conjunction with the termination of the LUC, these properties will be rezoned to either a more appropriate zone under Zoning By-law No. 1200o, or to a site specific Comprehensive Development (CD) Zone.

How the City Plans to Terminate the LUCs before June 30, 2024

Each LUC being considered for early termination will require its own, separate, Termination By‑law.  Each LUC Termination By-law will be presented to Council through a Planning Report at a Regular Council – Land Use meeting.  Provincial Legislation requires that a Public Hearing be held for every LUC termination and that a Public Hearing Notice be delivered to all residents and tenants of properties within the LUC.  Notice of the Public Hearing must also be delivered to adjoining property owners and tenants in accordance with the City’s Procedure By-law with respect to Public Hearing notification.  In accordance with Surrey’s regulations, all owners and tenants of property within 100 metres of the boundaries of the LUC being terminated must be notified.  The Public Hearing notice will also be published in two consecutive issues of the local newspaper.

Frequently Asked Questions For Properties With Underlying Single Family Residential Zones

Does the City require the consent of the owner of the property before an LUC can be terminated?

No, recent legislation allows City Council to terminate LUCs without the consent of the property owner.

Will I be notified if City Council proposes to terminate the LUC on the property on which my home is located?

Yes, once a Planning Report with respect to the termination of a specific LUC has been presented to Council and once Council has given First and Second Readings to the LUC Termination By-law, all property owners and tenants within the LUC to be terminated will receive written notification by the City Clerk. All property owners and tenants of property within 100 metres of the LUC proposed to be terminated will also be notified by letter.  Additionally, notifications will be placed in the local newspaper to apprise the general public of the proposed LUC termination.  Property owners and tenants within the LUC, surrounding property owners and tenants, and the general public have the right to make their opinions known, either in person or in writing, at the Public Hearing that will be held by Council.

Does the LUC Termination mean that the City is going to redevelop my property and that I will have to move?

No, the City of Surrey has no intention of redeveloping your property and you can continue to reside in your current property as long as you wish.

Does the LUC Termination mean that I will be required to make changes or upgrades to my existing dwelling so that it conforms to the underlying zone?

No, you will not be required to make any changes or upgrades to bring your existing single family dwelling in compliance with the underlying zone that will regulate your property once the termination of the LUC on your property comes into effect.

Will an LUC Termination have an impact on the assessed value on my property and on my property taxes?

No, it is not anticipated that terminating the LUC that currently regulates your property will have an impact on either the assessed value of your property, or on your City property taxes.

Does an LUC Termination make it easier for a developer to redevelop my property?

No, any developer who wants to develop your property will first have to obtain your consent to allow any redevelopment of your property to move forward. If the developer receives your consent, the developer will still have to submit a Land Development Application to the City of Surrey and go through the regular land development application process. Final decision on any Land Development Application rests with City Council.

When an LUC Termination By-law is adopted by Council, does the underlying zoning come into effect immediately?

No, LUC Termination By-laws come into effect one year after they are adopted. During this one-year period, the rules and regulations of the LUC that is being terminated will continue to apply.

If an LUC termination does not come into effect for one year after the LUC Termination By-law is adopted by Council, can I build a new single family dwelling on my lot during this one year period?

Yes, during this one-year period, a landowner can apply to construct a new single family dwelling on a lot, or to undertake additions to an existing single family dwelling on a lot, provided that any new construction or additions are in accordance with the regulations of the LUC. It should be noted that the Building Permit application for such new single family dwellings or renovations must be submitted within this one year period.

If I want to construct a new single family dwelling on my property that is in accordance with the LUC, but not in accordance with the new underlying zoning on the property, but do not wish to undertake this construction within a year of the LUC Termination By-law being adopted, is there any course of action I can follow?

Yes, if a land owner feels that the termination of an LUC will cause undue hardship, the property owner has the right to appeal to Surrey’s Board of Variance (BOV).  A specific appeal to the Board of Variance to request an extension of the effective date of the termination can be made through the City Clerk’s Office at the City of Surrey.  It should be noted, however, that the application to the BOV must be received by the BOV within 6 months after the LUC Termination By-law has been adopted by City Council.

If the LUC in which my property is located does not get terminated, does the LUC go on forever?

No, in accordance with Provincial legislation, all LUCs in British Columbia will terminate on June 30, 2024, at which time the underlying zoning will automatically come into effect.