Vancouver council votes for more density in Grandview Woodlands and Mount Pleasant
The changes are part of a strategy to increase affordable housing and protect heritage homes, but not everyone is convinced.
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Vancouver city council approved changes that will allow for denser development on single family lots throughout the city, over the objection of some residents and councillor who feel the changes could lead to a “land rush” and skyrocketing land values.
Two sets of changes were approved: one targets single family lots in RS zones, the lowest-density regions of the city, which cover 80 per cent of Vancouver’s land mass. There, to prevent the loss of heritage homes and encourage the building of more laneway homes, homeowners will be able to stratify and sell a laneway home.
It’s a big change from the current rules, which allow laneway homes to be rented out.
In two denser RT zones, Grandview Woodlands and Mount Pleasant, council approved higher density infill on lots: the number of homes on a standard 33’ lot will increase from two to three; a form of duplex that will essentially be two separate homes on a lot with a laneway house; and allow four-plexes on larger lots.
The three homes on one lot can be stratified or owned together.
Laneway houses will also be allowed in RT zones; they were previously restricted to RS zones.
To encourage retention of character homes in RT zones, when a heritage home is demolished the city will limit the size of the new house that can be built. While a similar restriction was initially proposed for RS zones, city staff ultimately scrapped that idea after hearing opposition from homeowners and architects.
Coun. Raymond Louie attempted to introduce a motion to get rid of that restriction for RT zones as well, and was supported by Coun. Kerry Jang. But they were voted down by other councillors.
“It’s unfair to people who have purchased homes for redevelopment, perhaps not to the style considered character by some,” Louie argued.
Coun. Adriane Carr said she was dismayed that the disincentives for demolishing character homes in RS zones had been removed. Without the “stick” as well as the “carrot,” Carr said, heritage homes will continue to be demolished at a rate of 1,000 a year and replaced by large single family homes with no rental suites.