Community Planning

For more information on an aspect of community planning, please click one of the following items:

What is Community Planning?

Community planning is the City’s process to engage with the public and other organizations in order to establish a vision, goal, and policies for achieving social, economic and environmental sustainability. Community planning efforts by the City also include research and implementation of policies relating to land use, economic development, social development, housing, parks, environmental protection, and other important matters directly related to a community’s health and well-being.

Typically referred to as “long range planning”, community planning can be undertaken using the approaches outlined in the Local Government Act. Community planning also involves a variety of non-legislative planning methods that involve multiple departments, including major capital projects (e.g. the Johnston Road ‘Gateway’ Streetscape project) and demographic analysis.

Community planning is vital to the development planning process. Community planning provides the “birds-eye” view to the “ground-level” technical review of development proposals – in other words, all development proposals are reviewed to see how they fit within the City’s community and neighborhood plans and policies.

Community Planning – Plans, Policies, and Resources

Staff have compiled the following list of commonly-referenced documents for public information purposes:


White Rock Official Community Plan, 2017, No. 2220

The White Rock Official Community Plan, 2017, No. 2220 (the "OCP") is one of the City’s key documents that helps plan the future of the community, and helps to guide the decisions of elected officials and local government staff. It is a planning document which describes the vision and the guiding principles for the community for the next five years – and more!

As the City’s overarching policy document, the OCP covers a wide variety of topics that are essential to the community. This includes housing, infrastructure, and the reduction of greenhouse gases. Other policy areas, such as environmental protection and social well-being, were incorporated into the OCP to further supplement the community’s decision-making processes.

The OCP also designates specific “policy” areas across the City that provides further information on the future land use direction of certain properties contemplated for these areas. These are known as OCP Land Use Designations. You can find out more under Schedule A – Land Use Map and Section 8.0 – Land Use in the OCP.

The OCP also designates specific Development Permit Areas that control and regulate new development for specific reasons empowered under the Local Government Act, including (but not limited to) the revitalization of commercial areas and for the preservation of the natural environment. You can find out more under Schedule B – Form, Character, and Sustainability Development Permit Areas, Schedule C – Environmental Development Permit Areas, and under Part D: Development Permit Area Guidelines of the OCP.

Formally adopted in October 2017, the new OCP was developed over the past two years in consultation with local citizens and interested individuals, organizations, and authorities affected by the plan. You can find out more about the Imagine White Rock 2045 OCP planning process here.


White Rock Zoning Bylaw, 2012, No. 2000

The White Rock Zoning Bylaw, 2012, No. 2000 is the principal instrument used by the City to establish land use controls in the community. This zoning bylaw establishes regulations for the use of land, buildings, and structures, and also regulates the location, height, siting, and density of development. Other regulations, such as parking requirements and siting exceptions, are addressed in this document.

As both documents are intended to complement one another, both the OCP and the Zoning Bylaw should be read together: the OCP is intended to provide policy guidance regarding future land use planning and management, while the Zoning Bylaw is a regulatory instrument intended to provide technical information regarding how a property owner may currently use their land.

As both documents are amended from time to time to match changing needs and circumstances in a community, both documents are considered to be “living” documents.


White Rock South of Hospital Lands Neighbourhood Plan

The White Rock South of Hospital Lands Neighbourhood Plan was a comprehensive neighbourhood policy study of the two city blocks located south of the Peace Arch Hospital (bounded by Russell Avenue, Finalay Street, Thrift Avenue, and Best Street). As requested by City Council and pursuant to the 1995 Official Community Plan, this plan investigated the feasibility and resident support for accommodating increased residential densities through subdivision and single-unit infill development.

Note: As this area has almost fully built out over the past 20 years, this neighbourhood plan is retained for historical purposes only. Any applicants seeking to subdivide any properties located in the South of Hospital Lands area should review this plan, and contact staff regarding the area’s special requirements for subdivision.


Town Centre Urban Design Plan and Design Guidelines

In 2011, the City of White Rock approved an Urban Design Plan that envisioned the Town Centre as a dynamic, people-friendly mixed commercial/residential centre with a thriving business environment. This Urban Design Plan includes Design Guidelines for both the built environment and the public realm. The Urban Design Plan provides a roadmap to what the Town Centre could become over the next 25 years, as ideas in the Plan are implemented.

You can find links to the Town Centre Urban Design Plan and the Town Centre Design Guidelines at their respective hyperlinks. 

Note: Be aware the contents of the Town Centre Urban Design Plan and the Town Centre Design Guidelines now serve as the theoretical foundation for Section 9.0 Town Centre and the Town Centre Development Permit Area in the new White Rock OCP.

Community Planning - Demographics and Statistics

Establishing a factual baseline regarding White Rock’s current and historic demographic, economic, and social contexts is integral to professional planning practice at the City of White Rock.

All census data regarding the White Rock census subdivision area over the past 20 years can be located at the following link.

Community Planning - City Projects

Curious to know about one of the following previous and current City planning-related initiatives in the City of White Rock? Check out the list below for further information:

You can also find a full list of City projects at the following link

Community Planning – Inquiries

Have any questions relating to community planning in the City of White Rock? Contact Planning at 604-541-2108, or at