Land policies & procedures

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We have policies and procedures in place for acquiring land, disposing of City-owned assets and managing land tenure initiatives.

Land acquisition

We purchase land for four main purposes:

  1. Parks and public spaces
  2. Strategic initiatives
  3. Transportation purposes 
  4. Utilities

Real Estate Services refers to the Official Community Plan and seeks input from various other departments for guidance on future land requirements.

Land acquisition procedure

Once a property right is identified, a Property Officer (see definition below) or an agent representing the City will approach the property’s legal owner to discuss the acquisition. The individual will explain the intended use of the property and details of the particular project, while also describing the land acquisition process and timeline. We will work with the property owner to achieve an agreement that satisfies both parties. All acquisitions must be presented to City Council for their approval prior to completion.

We acquire all real estate interests at market value (see definition below). By purchasing and selling all real estate at market value, equality is promoted across the entire city and to all citizens. Market value can be determined between the property owner and City staff, or through a market appraisal.

Definitions

Market valuethe estimated amount for which an asset or liability should exchange on the valuation date between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction, after proper marketing and where the parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion (International Valuation Standard, Jan. 31, 2020).

Property Officer: an expert in the real estate field who has the ability to negotiate on behalf of the City.

Gifts to the City

If a property owner chooses to donate land to us, the donation is subject to City Council approved policy 306: Charitable Donations and Gifts to the City.

Land disposition

City Council has the ability to acquire and dispose of any City owned asset. All contracts that we enter into must be brought to City Council for their consideration and approval.

Once we have no future civic use for a property, the land is determined to be surplus and is available for disposal. The land may be left over from a road project, park expansion, unconstructed lane or roadway, or any other City project

Two main ways we dispose of land

Publicly on MLS

When a single-family dwelling or development parcel is to be sold, we typically list the property with a real estate agent on MLS. This process allows all potential purchasers to review and make offers on the property.

Directly to a purchaser

If we’re approached by a potential buyer to purchase excess land that has a limited consumer audience (excess laneway, non-conforming remnant parcel, etc.), we can enter into a purchase and sale agreement with a company or individual directly.

Land tenure

Real Estate Services is responsible for several land tenure initiatives, including:

  • Encroachments
  • Statutory right of ways/easements
  • Road closures
Encroachments

An encroachment is a portion of any installation, works or structure that extends onto City property.

City property includes:

  • Land parcels
  • Lanes and sidewalks
  • Statutory right of ways/easements
  • Streets
  • Water lots

Real Estate Services focuses on three main areas with regards to encroachments:

Commercial buildings in the downtown urban centre

Guidelines concerning the potential encroachment of a commercial building located in the Downtown Urban Centre are outlined in Policy 329.

Project plans

Real Estate Services reviews project plans and verifies that encroachments don’t exist in forthcoming development plans. If it’s discovered that an encroachment will affect our ability to provide services or will restrict public access, the plans will need to be revised. All projects should be constructed within their legal building envelope.

Existing buildings/structures

If any "as-built" building improvement is found to be encroaching on City land, we have the ability to remove the conflicting encroachment at the owner’s expense.

Statutory right of ways/easements

A statutory right of way is a legal agreement that allows a third party - generally a utilities or service provider - to access a piece of property they don’t own.

An easement is a legal agreement between bordering properties that allows one property owner to utilize sections of the bordering property for access.

We use statutory right of ways to secure tenure for underground or overhead utilities (power, storm, sewer, water) and public access agreements. Easements are used to secure access over adjacent parcels.

To find information on right of way or easement charges registered on a property, please contact the  BC Land Title and Survey Authority office in Kamloops.

Road closures 

Occasionally, we own unnecessary lanes or roadway. Under Section 26 of the Community Charter, we have the ability to raise title to these areas and sell them to adjacent land owners.

The road closure and sale process generally takes around four months (16 weeks), with approximate costs of $3,000-$5,000, not including the market value of the land being sold. A City Property Officer will assist any proponents as they move through the road closure process.

Procedures & legislation

The City has care and control of all roadways in the city - with the exception of provincial highways – including laneways, alleys and any other parcel of land dedicated as roadway via legal survey. The road closure process is defined in various pieces of applicable provincial legislation, including the Community Charter and the Local Government Act.

We must first pass two bylaws, stating that:

  1. The road is proposed to be closed
  2. The road dedication is removed, which allows the land parcel to be used for a purpose other than a road

Once the bylaws are passed by City Council, we will raise title to the newly created parcel of land. This simply means the owner of the land parcel is now listed as the City. Once we are officially listed as the owner of the property, we’re able to sell the land.

Timelines

Stage 1 – Circulation (2 weeks)

  • Road closure area is defined and confirmed
  • All internal/external departments are notified of proposed road closure
  • Any concerns with the proposed road closure are relayed to the proponent
  • All adjacent/affected property owners are notified

Stage 2 – Contract (3 weeks)

  • Appropriate market value of road closure area determined (e.g. appraisal, review of sales comparables, review of assessments, etc.)
  • Road Closure Agreement is drafted and executed by the proponent

Stage 3 – Council Approval & Bylaw (6-8 weeks)

  • The Road Closure Agreement is presented to Council for their approval
  • Proponent commissions survey necessary for road closure
  • Road closure bylaw created and first three readings at Council
  • Proposed disposition is advertised as required in the Community Charter
  • Fourth reading and final adoption of road closure bylaw by Council

Stage 4 – Finalization (3-4 weeks)

  • All documents are provided to respective legal parties representing the City and the proponent for finalization of land transfer
  • Documents are sent to Land Title Office for registration
  • Acquisition funds are transferred to the City

Disclaimer: Timelines are approximate only. Depending on the scope of the road closure, these guidelines may vary significantly.

Frequently asked questions
How can I find out if the City would be interested in purchasing my property or leasing/selling a City-owned property?

Please fill out our Property Inquiry Form and submit it to the Real Estate & Building Services Department for review. Someone from the Real Estate Services Branch will contact you within two business days to discuss, or you can call our office at 250-469-8610 to schedule a meeting with one of our Property Officers.

How do I contract my services (appraisers, realtors, negotiators) to the City?

The Purchasing Department advertises requests for proposals in the classified section of the local newspapers (Kelowna Daily Courier and Kelowna Capital News). The request is generally for a fixed term. We assess all proposals in an unbiased fashion and select the one that best suits our needs.

For more information on bidding, visit our Bidding opportunities page.