This week, the new, ABC-majority City Council was officially sworn in. One of ABC’s stated priorities for this Council session is to address the housing crisis by streamlining permitting and tripling the number of housing starts. How might they go about meeting this ambitious target? Here are the most promising planks we pulled from ABC’s election platform.
- Review "Missing Middle" Programs
- “Finish a Vancouver Plan OCP (Official Community Plan) in 4 years. Design 15-minute neighbourhoods where services and amenities can be accessed by walking, reducing reliance on motorized vehicles and supporting aging in place.”
- “Support increased density along the Hastings Corridor to provide new housing options and economic opportunities.”
- Reconciliation: “a stronger and more meaningful partnership, sharing in the wealth of the land and sea, and acknowledges that both the history and future of Indigenous people needs to be self-determined.”
- Double Co-op Housing in 4 years
- Approve towers in 1 year, apartment buildings in 3 months and townhouses in 3 weeks. Make CAC charges predictable and “re-focus development fees to support the creation of a greater supply of affordable rental housing stock.”
1. Review “Missing Middle” Programs
“The missing middle” can generally include anything from duplexes to small apartment buildings. Over the last half decade, Vancouver’s missing middle programs have been revised often with very little actual implementation. Duplexes, with secondary or “lock-off” suites, are allowed city-wide but cannot be larger than a single-family house, making it difficult for two would-be duplex buyers to outbid a single, deep-pocketed single-family home buyer.
In the middle of the missing middle, the outgoing Council passed two motions to look into allowing multiplexes, but specific policies are yet to come back from city planners. That hasn’t stopped some local small builders from dreaming though.
Next in our infinite series of infill housing explorations...— Bryn Davidson @Lanefab (@Lanefab) October 5, 2022
A 7 plex on a 33' lot (1.4 FSR) with only 48% site coverage (i.e. similar to a house plus garage).
Height and width tapered where adjacent to neighbouring rear yards. pic.twitter.com/jEeNGjihFZ
At the upper end of “the middle”, developers & homeowners can technically apply for a rezoning to build 4-storey rental apartment buildings, but only up to 1 block from certain arterial streets. The terms of the City’s Secured Rental Policy are generally not economically viable, to the point that, up to now, only one application in the entire city is public for off-arterial apartments under RR-2A zoning (there is another application for mixed commercial space & apartments under RR-3A zoning, but RR-3A rezonings are only allowed on the few lots with pre-existing commercial uses).
To make the “missing middle” a big piece of tripling housing starts, Council needs to focus on getting the most homes per redeveloped lot:Read more