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

Changes could deliver more duplexes, coach houses, laneways for individuals and families

Chief Planner Gil Kelley speaks to the media about housing options for single-family neighbourhoods while Mayor Gregor Robertson watches
July 21 2017 –

After several months of consultation, our staff are proposing city-wide changes to enable more housing options for local residents in single-family 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.​

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

"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% 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."

Coach houses and strata units on properties with pre-1940 character homes

We are 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.

Read the Policy Report: Introducing Character Home Retention Incentives and New Housing Choices in RS Zones (Single-family) – Proposed Amendments to the Zoning and Development Bylaw PDF file (1.5 MB)

More homes per property

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

  1. Introducing laneway homes (rentals)
  2. Increasing the number of homes allowed on a 33-foot lot from two to three
  3. 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
  4. Permitting large lots to build a new fourplex

Read the Policy Report: Increasing Housing Choice and Character Retention Incentives in the Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland Communities – Proposed Amendments to the Zoning and Development Bylaw PDF file (3 MB)

Housing Vancouver Strategy

The proposed policies are part of our bigger Housing Vancouver Strategy, 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. Our Housing Vancouver Strategy is a culmination of several initiatives that tackle the housing affordability crisis, including:

  • Resetting housing targets to be geared to income bands, to deliver a more appropriate supply of housing that meets local needs and incomes
  • Investing $80 million 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 to regulate 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%
  • Providing four City-owned sites to enable Vancouver's first Community Land Trust