Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland Zoning Review

You might have heard that Vancouver is considering allowing more homes in parts of Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland. The bad news: the plans are much less ambitious than we’d like. The good news: the city is asking for feedback via online questionnaire, and this is a great opportunity to show them that there is broad support for more housing in established neighbourhoods.

What's changing?

The city has launched public consultation for minor changes to zoning in both Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland. The changes would apply to "two family" zones, also known as the RT zones. The changes are complex, but can be summarized roughly as follows:

  • Lots with character homes: owners will be permitted to add a little more floor space, either in the form of laneway homes or additions
  • Lots without character homes: owners will have more options for rebuilding including two separate small houses


The net effect is likely that many lots in RT zones would be able to accommodate one additional household.

Is that good?

We're quite happy with the overall direction of these changes. Housing more people in Vancouver is kind of our thing, and this looks like a trial balloon to be followed by similar changes in other Vancouver neighbourhoods. However, we're concerned that the plans are nowhere near ambitious enough. Specifically:

  • Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland already have many beautiful apartment buildings, so it's odd that apartment buildings are deemed to be unacceptably dense for the RT zones.
  • Parking requirements are being reduced but not eliminated, and for the second house on a lot that will mean that much of the ground floor must be used to house cars.
  • These are very central neighbourhoods. Many Grandview-Woodland properties are within a short walk of the Expo Line, and many Mount Pleasant properties will be located within a short walk of the forthcoming Broadway Line. We're not convinced that duplexes with mandated parking are a great use of some of Western Canada's most accessible land.


 This 1905 apartment building in Mount Pleasant is more than 3x denser than the proposed zoning Dingbat
This 1905 Mount Pleasant apartment building is more than 3 times denser than the proposed zoning would allow. This shows how the required parking spaces would need to be accommodated inside or underneath the second house on a lot.


What should I do about it?

Please fill out the online questionnaires for one or both neighbourhoods: Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland. It should take less than 10 minutes, and the questionnaires are open to anyone. If you want to live there or know someone who does, that means you're affected by the proposed changes.

The questionnaires ask whether you have any specific comments, this is an example that you could draw inspiration from:

I support the overall direction of the proposed changes but am concerned that they do not go far enough. Specifically, apartment buildings and denser townhouses should be considered for RT zones. Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland already have many historic examples of dense multifamily housing, and you could draw inspiration from those. The current proposal seems especially unambitious considering that much of the area is or will be within walking distance of rapid transit. I also appreciate that the parking requirements will be relaxed slightly, but urge you to go further. These are very central neighbourhoods, so why not let people use valuable ground-level space for housing instead?

Thanks a bunch,
Reilly Wood and the rest of the Abundant Housing Vancouver crew