British Columbia

More laneway and coach houses could be coming to Vancouver

Mayor Gregor Robertson announced proposed new regulations Thursday that would permit the construction of coach houses and other stratified units in single-family-zoned neighbourhoods like Dunbar, Kerrisdale and Arbutus Ridge — as long as neighbourhood character is maintained.

Proposal would increase density while maintaining neighbourhoods' character, city says

The City of Vancouver is proposing new regulations that would allow for more rental and owned laneway and coach houses to be built in its single-family neighbourhoods. (Denis Dossmann/CBC)

The City of Vancouver has a new plan for tackling its housing affordability crisis: more laneway and coach houses.

Mayor Gregor Robertson announced new proposed regulations Thursday that would allow for the building of coach houses and other stratified units in single-family-zoned neighbourhoods like Dunbar, Kerrisdale and Arbutus Ridge — as long as neighbourhood character is maintained.

The proposal would also allow laneway rental housing in the neighbourhoods of Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland and increase how many units are allowed on various lot sizes.

Robertson said the goal is to create new units for both rental and ownership in traditionally low-density neighbourhoods that Robertson said saw population decline in the 2016 census.

"These are neighbourhoods right now that people can't afford to live in," Robertson said, speaking at a news conference in MacKenzie Heights. "Most of the people that work in Vancouver could not afford a place in a neighbourhood like this one on the west side of Vancouver."

Would affect about 12,000 homes

Robertson said the proposal would affect about 12,000 character homes.

Gil Kelley, the city's general manager of planning, urban design and sustainability, pointed to the MacKenzie Heights property where the news conference was held as an example of the type of housing the city would like to see more of.

The property has both a laneway house and a basement suite but still retains the character of the single-family neighbourhood, Kelley said.

"Think about that: essentially three households on one lot that feels very much like the neighbourhood's always felt," he said. "That's the sort of idea we'd like to encourage."

The full proposal will be presented to city council on Tuesday.

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