Master Development Plan

City Zoning Bylaw

The City Zoning Bylaw regulates how a property may be developed and used, in accordance with the City’s Official Community Plan

The Zoning Bylaw defines: Permitted uses, development density, siting of buildings, building heights, lot coverage and off-street parking and loading, and other items, within Zoning Districts (i.e. zones). 

Master Development Plan

Large, multi-phase development projects have additional complexity and tradeoffs that cannot be adequately addressed through a standard rezoning/ Development Permit (DP) process. A Master Development Plan (MDP) is intended to bridge between the high-level directions in the Official Community Plan (OCP) and the site specific details of a standard rezoning/DP application. The policy sets consistent expectations for, and provides transparency and certainty to, both the applicant and the City.

An MDP builds on the policy direction of the applicable Area and/or Neighbourhood Plan in the OCP to provide a finer level of detail for how large, multi-phase sites will be developed over time by establishing the general locations of land uses and densities, street, lane and pathway networks, utility servicing, parks, open spaces, amenities, public benefits, and development phasing.

Master Development Plan Policies have been incorporated into the Part 2 Subsection 2.1.2 (PDF) of the Citywide Official Community Plan.

Anticipated Benefits for Applicants

  • A consistent and predictable process;
  • Early check-ins with both Council and the public;
  • Achieving full zoning entitlement at the outset;
  • The certainty of a Development Agreement to outline expectations;
  • The ability to submit individual DPs for each phase over time;
  • Flexibility to evolve the project over time within the parameters of the MDP


An MDP only applies to the properties under application. An MDP will take into account the site’s relationships to adjacent lands, in terms of land use compatibility, site access, transportation network and infrastructure needs, and with specific regard for neighbouring remnant parcels, ensuring these sites are able to redevelop separately under their Land Use Designation:

a) An MDP Rezoning is required for all sites greater than 2.5 hectares (6.15 acres) not including single-family subdivisions as they do not trigger an MDP;

i)    Projects that do not meet the 2.5 HA threshold, yet the scale of development meets the spirit and intent of an MDP (e.g. a mix of uses, multiple phases, complex servicing or other considerations) may be directed into the MDP application stream under the discretion of the General Manager, Planning and Development; 

b) The MDP rezoning will apply to the entire property or set of properties under application;

c) The MDP will address all the topics covered in the OCP policy (PDF) for the preparation of Master Development Plans and based on the form and content requirements in Section 5.0, and be subject to review and approval by the City;

d) The MDP will be included in a Development Agreement that would be registered on title under a s.219 covenant, which would occur prior to, or in conjunction with, fourth and final reading of the bylaw;

e) The applicant will proceed with individual Subdivision and Development Permit applications by phase as guided by the MDP and Development Agreement;

f) The MDP may allow for each phase of a project to share entitlements, including density, across the entire project site as well as for each phase to not have to stand alone (i.e., meet the full expectations for open space, amenities, uses, housing affordability, employment-generating floorspace, transportation demand management, etc.) provided the project as a whole meets the overall requirements, recognizing that all public benefits cannot be deferred to the final phase;

g) The MDP may also support OCP amendments, as appropriate, following the amendment criteria outlined in the OCP;

h) Amendments to the MDP or Development Agreement will follow the same process as outlined in Section 4.0 of the MDP Rezoning Policy & Procedure.

Development Application Signs

If you are pursuing a Development Application, you are required to install a Development Application Sign on the development site. Please visit Development Application Signs for more information.

Public Engagement Expectations

a) The applicant is responsible for all public engagement to support their MDP application prior to any statutory (City-led) Public Hearing;

b) Public engagement will occur a minimum of twice during the MDP process. Applications that are consistent with the OCP, are not proposing major variances, and the final MDP is relatively consistent with the first round of public feedback, may request to waive the second round of public engagement at Council’s discretion.

Each round will include a minimum of:

i.    A project website with appropriate background information, application details, contact information, and a public feedback form;

ii.    An applicant-led Public Information Meeting (PDF), including, at a minimum, notification via:

  • Sign(s) on the property;
  • Mail-out to surrounding property owners and tenants;
  • Notices in local newspaper.

The format of the Public Information Meeting (i.e. in person or online) will be coordinated with the Planner at that time.

iii.    Meeting{s) with stakeholder groups, as applicable (e.g., business, neighbourhood, Community Associations, environmental groups, local First Nations);

c) Each public engagement round will include opportunities to receive input from the public and stakeholders;

d) Copies of all input received to be provided by applicant to City;

e) At Council’s direction, additional rounds of public consultation may be required.

Council Engagement Expectations

The applicant would be expected to engage with Council a minimum of twice in the process:

  1. Present the initial development concept to Council-in-Committee (CiC) after the first round of staff review. A second presentation to CiC may be scheduled at a later point in the MDP preparation process.
  2. Depending on the scope and scale of the proposed development and the range of issues to be addressed, a workshop may be scheduled with the Strategic Priorities Standing Committee to receive detailed Council feedback between the two rounds of public engagement to help inform the final draft MDP.

Staff would also report to CiC a minimum of twice during the application process prior to first reading on the rezoning bylaw.

Additional Resources