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Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1952-present

History

The Planning Department was established on November 1, 1952 with the appointment of the Director of Planning, further to the July 1951 report commissioned by City Council from town planning consultants Harold Spence-Sales and John Bland (PD 335). The report had proposed that the Vancouver Town Planning Commission hand over the work intensive and detailed aspects of planning but maintain the advisory role to City Council (renamed Vancouver City Planning Commission in 1972). Those aspects were taken on by the new Planning Department, while the more substantial Zoning By-law interpretation and exception decision-making, as well as the broader aspects of city planning were carried out by a committee of relevant senior staff and officials, which was called the Technical Planning Board. The Board was chaired by the Director of Planning.

Previous to the establishment of the Planning Department in 1952 the Town Planning Commission was responsible for city planning (1926-1952). The earliest town planning or city planning activity was carried out under the authority of City Council, in conjunction with the Board of Works, and the Engineering Department (1886-1926).

Places

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

The following is an outline of planning functions carried out over time. Except where noted a function was carried out by the Town Planning Commission 1926-1952 (with support from the Engineering Department), then by Planning Department divisions whose names and scope of responsibilities shifted frequently, primarily with the major reorganizations of 1964, 1973, 1977 and 1995. For more detail on functional development please refer to the inventory for the Planning Department.

(1) City planning. From its beginnings as the Vancouver Town Planning Commission's function (by-law no. 1771, 1926) of "town planning" or "city planning" has related to planning and controlling the physical development of the city. The more specific meaning of city planning relates to ongoing processes of preparing published city plans (according to the methods of the day). Some of the narrower aspects of city planning over the years have been: (a) downtown business district planning (the downtown area has been called the Downtown Business District, the Central Area, and the Core Area); (b) heritage conservation: the preservation of historic buildings and other designed aspects of Vancouver was assumed as a new function by the Planning Department in 1973; (c) neighbourhood planning (also called local area planning and community planning), was carried out by the Engineering Department 1926-1952 (with the exception of the Shaughnessy area, which was assigned to the Town Planning Commission), then by the Planning Department; and (d) planning research: gathering economic, physical and social data for the purposes of decision making.

(2) Residential rehabilitation programs administration. New function assumed by the Planning Department's Housing and Development Branch in 1964; discontinued in the 1980s.

(3) Traffic planning. Moved in 1952 from the Town Planning Commission to the Planning Department's Highway Traffic and Design Branch. Function transferred to Engineering Department in the early 1980s.

(4) Urban design advisory. Provided in the early years by the Town Planning Commission, then by the Civic Design Panel, an advisory body (as of 1973, the Urban Design Panel), which provided advice to the Technical Planning Board, then Development Permit Board.

(5) Zoning designation and regulation advisory. Relates to the administration and review of proposed land use and development, particularly with respect to areas allowing more than 1 or 2 family dwellings. The basis for the authority of zoning regulation is the frequently amended Zoning and Development By-law no. 3575 (17 May 1956), which was preceded by the Zoning By-law (first passed 5 Feb. 1927, no. 1830).

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

The Planning Department reported to City Council's Planning and Steering Committee 1952-1956, then to the Board of Administration, 1956-1974, which changed to the Office of the City Manager, 1974-1995. As of the 1995 reorganization it has been reporting to the General Manager of Community Services, 1995-.

The Planning Department underwent major reorganizations in 1964, 1973, 1977, and 1995, according to developments in city planning practice. After the 1995 reorganization the following divisions, of widely varying scope and size, were created: Director's Office (including Heritage), Central Area Planning, City Plans, Community Planning, Land Use and Development, Planning Resources, and Research and Policy Studies.

The following individuals have served as City Planner:


  • G. Sutton Brown, 1952-1959;
  • G. F. Fountain, 1960-1962;
  • W. E. Graham, 1962-1972;
  • R. J. Spaxman, 1973-1990;
  • Tom Fletcher, 1990-1995.

As of the 1995 City-wide reorganization the Planning Department has been managed by a team of co-directors.

General context

For earlier planning records see in particular the Vancouver Town Planning Commission fonds. For additional Planning Department records as generated by the Office of the City Clerk see series 20 ("Subject files - including Council supporting documents", 1954-1974) and series 62 ("Operational subject files - including Council supporting documents"). Zoning hearings, held by City Council, are most comprehensively documented in the Office of the City Clerk's series 42, "Public hearings - Council zoning supporting documents", 1960-1989. Appeals to City Council decisions were heard by the Vancouver Zoning Board of Appeal (see the fonds, minutes 1927-1980 are series 493).

Relationships area

Related entity

Vancouver (B.C.) (1886-)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department, is subordinate to: Vancouver (B.C.)

Related entity

Vancouver (B.C.). Technical Planning Board (1952-1975)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Vancouver (B.C.). Technical Planning Board, is subordinate to: Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department

Related entity

Vancouver (B.C.). South Shaughnessy Single Family Zoning Review Program ()

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Vancouver (B.C.). South Shaughnessy Single Family Zoning Review Program, is subordinate to: Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department

Related entity

Vancouver (B.C.). Civic Design Panel (1956-1973)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Vancouver (B.C.). Civic Design Panel, is subordinate to: Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department

Related entity

Vancouver (B.C.). Heritage Conservation Program ()

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Vancouver (B.C.). Heritage Conservation Program, is subordinate to: Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department

Related entity

Vancouver (B.C.). Housing Study Team ()

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Vancouver (B.C.). Housing Study Team, is subordinate to: Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department

Related entity

Vancouver (B.C.). CityPlan program ()

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Vancouver (B.C.). CityPlan program, : Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department

Related entity

Vancouver (B.C.). Central Area Planning ()

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Vancouver (B.C.). Central Area Planning, is subordinate to: Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department

Related entity

Vancouver (B.C.). West End Planning Centre ()

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Vancouver (B.C.). West End Planning Centre, is subordinate to: Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department

Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

Maintenance notes

Previous name "Planning and Civic Development " - from what years?
Note in PDS description suggests 1954-1957, but name seems to be in common usage until at least 1973.

From PD ser 583 scope:
?Issuing offices include the Planning and Civic Development Department (1954-1957), the Planning Department (1957-1998), the Transportation Planning Section, the Civic Design Section, the Director, the Overall Planning Division, the Britannia Planning Advisory Committee, the False Creek Development Group, the Housing Study Team, the Heritage Conservation Program, etc.

[Planning Department records in the Archives consist of a wide variety of records relating to particular development cases (in the Director's files, to 1969 only), to subdivision and strata title conversion proposals (to 1990, microfiche copies only), and to all manner of planning activities, including photo documentation for heritage surveys, aerial survey photograph contracting for planning purposes, etc. (Both the city plans preparation and the zoning functions are best documented within the City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds.) ]