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Category Archives: Zoning

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“Occupancy Permit” and “Certificate of Occupancy”: what they are and what the difference is

Posted in Commercial, Construction, Policy, Residential, Zoning

As a municipal and planning lawyer in Ontario I am often asked by real estate counsel what an “Occupancy Permit” or “Certificate of Occupancy” is, whether they are the same thing, and how they work. This is a general short answer to those questions for quick reference.… Continue Reading

Beware of the Residential Invasion!

Posted in Construction, Land Use, Municipal, Residential, Zoning

It must tell something about the age we live in, but TV shows and movies dealing with zombies have been all over the place for a couple of years now. However, as a real estate lawyer representing large industrial corporations, there is something I fear more than an invasion of undead people on the lookout for fresh brains: the urban sprawl!  And more specifically, the residential invasion of industrial areas caused by the urban sprawl.… Continue Reading

Vancouver enacts bylaws to regulate medical marijuana-related retail businesses

Posted in Commercial, Policy, Zoning

Medical marijuana is becoming big business. Recently, it was announced that two titans in the medical growing sphere have agreed to merge in a $58-million deal expected to close in August. The headlines in Vancouver relate to the recent boom in medical marijuana-related storefront “dispensaries.” Over the last two years, the number of these retail businesses in the City has grown by 100 percent each year. As of April 2015, the City reported that there were over 80 such businesses operating in Vancouver without a business licence.… Continue Reading

Vertical Parking, Elevated Parking or Car Stackers… Call it as You Want, This is an Incredible Space-Saver!

Posted in Land Use, Municipal, Zoning

You may have seen this while strolling down in the streets of New York City or Chicago, where a few elevated parking lots can be found, or while watching the 2011 movie Mission Impossible : Ghost Protocol, where a vertical parking structure is used as the set of a quite intense fist fight.

Vertical parking is a brilliant idea which allows a property owner to increase parking capacity through multiple levels using mechanical lifts and hydraulic systems. The practical applications are multiple : parking lot operators can turn small plots of land into profitable operations, residential and commercial developers … Continue Reading

Relief From Forfeiture: An Equitable Second Chance for Commercial Tenants

Posted in Policy, Residential, Zoning

Breaching a lease may result in a tenant forfeiting its right to use and occupy the leased premises. Even where that happens, courts have a discretion to grant relief from forfeiture under section 24 of the Law and Equity Act if such relief would be fair and just in the circumstances. The recent BC Supreme Court decision in The Owners, Strata Plan VIS2030 v. Ocean Park Towers Ltd., 2015 BCSC 146 highlights the relevant factors and considerations when a tenant applies for relief.

Ocean Park concerned a 99-year lease between a developer, as tenant, and a strata corporation, as … Continue Reading

Thinking about “Space-Sharing”? Here are Some Legal Considerations

Posted in Residential, Zoning

As the busy holiday tourist season approaches in British Columbia, visitors looking for  alternatives to expensive hotel accommodations are increasingly seeking out “space-sharing” services such as Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner). Airbnb’s online platform allows home or condo owners to advertise their homes for rent to travelers or tourists on a short term basis. Airbnb also offers an online payment system which collects payment from the traveller and releases the funds to the host 24 hours after check-in.

A quick search online shows that there is no shortage of Airbnb listings in British Columbia, particularly in the … Continue Reading