Vancouver city council unanimously pa*sed a motion in favor of low-density neighborhoods to allow up to eight homes on a single lot.
The new zoning changes entirely for multiplex homes as an option for new construction, as well as an amendment allowing boutique homes to add units to existing housing.
In addition, this motion also results in a reduction in the size of single-family homes, but increases the size of new laneway homes.
Standard-sized bundles can now hold up to four units, while larger bundles can hold up to eight.
Regarding zoning changes, the motion consolidates nine low-density residential zones into one new inclusive residential zone in an effort to simplify regulations.
FSR or floor space ratio was another key issue for many speakers at Thursday evening’s meeting.
This number dictates the square footage a property can be built on relative to the size of the entire lot.
For some public speakers, reducing housing sizes is negative for those who want a single-family home or for maintaining low-density neighborhoods.
Others view the change as beneficial because it ensures more units can be placed on a single lot for multifamily developments or a mix of short- and long-term rentals.
This comes a day after the city approved an increase in short-term rental fees from $109 to $1,000 per year.
ABC adviser Peter Meiszner says the concept of medium-density housing has broad public support after years of consultation, but it is no silver bullet to solving the housing crisis.
“We heard there were around 500 applications waiting for this decision. So we should see them progress,” Meiszner told PKBNEWS.
“Staff anticipates a few hundred applications per year. So this is by no means a solution to the housing crisis, but it is a step that brings us closer to creating housing in Vancouver more easily and to a greater supply of housing.
While still supportive, Green Party councilor Pete Fry says the changes are welcome but need to go further and allow for more apartment-style homes, like in the Strathcona neighbourhood.
“I live in Strathcona and we actually have this kind of ‘Missing Middle’ vernacular everywhere,” Fry said at the meeting.
“That’s the neighborhood. This is because we have a lot of filling, we have smaller and dense batches. We have no lot limits, we have single charge lanes outside. We have the access point to the stairs. We have this vernacular of apartments and I guess that’s what I think is missing in this definition of “missing middle” is apartments.
However, Meiszner says other zoning changes will come before council in the coming months.
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