City proposes new incentives to deliver more housing options in single-family neighbourhoods

July 20, 2017 (Vancouver, BC) – After several months of consultation, City staff are proposing city-wide changes to enable more housing options for local residents in low density neighbourhoods. Next week, Chief Planner Gil Kelley will present options to Council that  provide new opportunities for duplexes, coach homes, laneway and other infill options – for both rental and ownership - in Vancouver’s low density neighbourhoods, geared to renters earning $30,000 to $80,000 and couples and families earning more than $80,000.

 “I am hearing loud and clear that affordability remains residents’ top concern,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Vancouver has a plan to deliver housing that meets local residents’ needs and incomes while upholding the principle that no one should spend more than 30 per cent of their income on their home. These proposed changes from City staff respond to the desire for people to have more housing options in single family neighbourhoods—neighbourhoods where they currently cannot afford to live. “

The City is proposing new incentives for all approximately 12,000 pre-1940s character homes across Vancouver (on 1,554 acres of single family lots) to densify with coach houses and stratified units (for ownership), while retaining the character home. These incentives would potentially enable several thousand new homes over the next decade and cover all single family (RS) neighbourhoods, including Dunbar, Kerrisdale and Arbutus Ridge – neighbourhoods that saw a drop in families and children in the 2016 census. Currently, these neighbourhoods do not allow for coach houses and other stratified housing, though they are enabled for laneway rental housing.

Staff are also proposing new incentives for Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland (RT zones) to allow owners to increase rental and owned housing diversity on 4,800 properties by:

  • Introducing laneway homes (rentals);
  • Increasing the number of homes allowed on a 33’ lot from two to three;
  • Introducing a new detached form for duplex that allows for two separate houses on a lot, with a larger house at the front and a smaller house at the lane; and
  • Permitting large lots to build a new 4plex.

The reports go to City Council next week, to be referred to public hearing in the fall.

The proposed policies are part of the City’s bigger Housing Vancouver Plan, which looks to deliver the right supply of housing to match local needs and incomes, with an update to be provided to Council on Tuesday. The City’s Housing Vancouver Plan is a culmination of several initiatives from the City that tackles the housing affordability crisis, including:

  • Re-setting housing targets to be geared to income bands, to deliver a more appropriate supply of housing that meets local needs and incomes;
  • Investing $80M in the 2017 Capital Plan for affordable housing - the most ever;
  • Approving a record number of new rental homes;
  • Bringing in Canada’s first Empty Homes Tax;
  • Proposing regulating short-term rentals, like Airbnb;
  • Pursuing modular housing on city-owned sites;
  • Offering 20 sites of City-owned land worth $250 Million to senior governments to use for affordable housing;
  • Increasing family home requirements in new housing projects to 35%; and
  • Providing four City-owned sites to enable Vancouver’s first Community Land Trust