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Laneway Housing – aka “coach houses, granny flats” – have been considered for years as a sensible way to create more housing options in the single family areas of the City.  A great advantage of laneway housing is that the infrastructure - i.e. back lanes, and houses with large rear yards - already exists, so that these new dwellings can be added without altering the character of neighbourhoods. Another great advantage is that these dwellings would allow seniors to remain in their neighbourhoods, create practical, extended family spaces, and increase affordability for existing homeowners and new residents – especially younger families.   After years of talking about it, the City of Vancouver is moving ahead to allow these types of development, and a public hearing at City Council is scheduled for July 21.  If Council approves the Planning Department recommendations, applications will be considered right away. Staff recommendations to Council include the following conditions and features for the new laneway houses:

  • Allowed in single family areas, and to be family or rental housing, not separate, strata title units.
  • On lots 33’ or wider with an open lane, a double fronting street, or on a corner with lane dedication
  • Maximum 750 sq.ft., 1 to 1 ½ story, with minimum on-site parking of 1 – 2 spaces
  • Located in the rear yard (garage area), with environmental & design guidelines
  • May be added to existing houses (with or without a secondary suite), or can be built with a new house
  • NB! laneway house development would not require upgrades to the existing main house.

This has been a long time coming and promises to be a bold and exciting development for Vancouver property owners and buyers.  For more information, check out vancouver.ca/ecodensity and click on “What is Next?

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