City Council Approves By-law Changes Supporting Artist Studios in Industrial Areas

Proposed amendments to the zoning and development by-law to support artist studios in industrial areas have been unanimously approved by Vancouver City Council. 

In response to issues of affordability, shortage and loss of studios, and clarity and flexibility of regulations, the policy report was issued January 7 requesting an application to amend the by-law to expand opportunities for "work-only" artist studios in all industrial districts, and was referred to a February 5 public hearing. 

Changes to the by-law will provide more options and greater flexibility to create work-only studios in existing industrial buildings throughout Vancouver.

The report summary states:

"The Artist Studio Regulatory Review, completed in 2011, identified a shortage of affordable and suitable production spaces for artists. Although industrial areas can help meet this need, and artist studios are already allowed in many industrial zones, there are still opportunities to provide more studio space. Following on direction from Council, the recommendations in [the] report will increase the number of industrial zones in which "work-only" artist studios are allowed, and will ease the approval process by allowing artist studios as outright uses in more industrial zones. Together, these amendments will expand opportunities for artist studios, and increase access to affordable production spaces."

Currently, high-impact artist studios (in which work occurs that has the potential for loud noise or involves toxic or hazardous materials) are permitted in all 12 industrial districts, while low-impact studios (dance, music, writing, painting, digital media, etc.) are permitted only in four districts. The change will now allow low-impact studios throughout the 12 districts, enabling artists working in various disciplines―whether high- or low-impact―to share studio space. 

The by-law amendment will expand approved usage of up to 26 million square feet of existing industrial space to include work-only artists' studios; Councillor Heather Deal said that this is an 1800% increase in the lands available for this use.

Download the full policy report here


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