More and more British Columbians are living in duplexes and apartments. (Wikimedia Commons)

Vancouver councillors move ahead with policy for duplexes on detached home lots

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for the so-called “missing middle.”

Vancouver councillors have ended two days of public hearings by voting to allow duplexes in most city neighbourhoods currently restricted to single-family homes.

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for the so-called “missing middle,” which includes young families pushed out of Vancouver by soaring property prices.

A news release from the mayor’s office says the policy change means duplexes are now permitted on approximately 67,000 single family lots, offering an option that is more affordable than a detached home.

The 7-4 vote was split along party lines with Robertson, five Vision Vancouver members and councillor Hector Bremner approving the motion, while three Non-Partisan Association councillors and the Green party’s Adriane Carr voted against.

The vote also marks one of the last major decisions of Robertson’s decade-long tenure as mayor because he is not running in next month’s civic election.

Robertson agrees the duplex proposal is not a “silver bullet” that will resolve Vancouver’s housing problems, but says it responds to the demands of residents.

“Over the past two years of consultation for the new Housing Vancouver strategy, we heard loud and clear that Vancouverites want more housing options in single family neighbourhoods,” he says in the release.

The change aligns zoning in expensive and increasingly unpopulated neighbourhoods such as Kerrisdale, Dunbar and West Point Grey with regulations in crowded and growing areas such as Kitsilano and Strathcona.

Robertson calls the policy a “modest, but important change.”

Critics predict single-family homes could now be targeted by speculators, adding to already soaring property prices, while Tom Davidoff, associate professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, says the measure is good, but not enough.

“It’s a start. But when you have land that’s worth tens of millions of dollars an acre, to really put a dent in affordability, you want to go to at least townhomes or small apartment buildings,” he says.

As a way to reduce speculation on land values, the mayor’s office says the new policy does not allow for an increase in height or density on a single-family property, but it says other measures to add density are being planned.

“Further work is underway as part of the Making Room program to bring forward options for rowhouses, townhouses, and low-rise apartments- with a priority on rental housing and co-ops in low-density neighbourhoods,” the release says.

That report could be brought to council by next summer.

Related: Health minister announces $72M in emergency funding for B.C.’s opioid crisis

Related: Dozens speak at Vancouver hearing that could see duplexes replace single homes

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

British Columbians pay more for goods and services than most other Canadians

Year-to-year inflation rate up 2.2 per cent in October second-highest rate in Canada

Resident pushes for electric in Saanich’s leaf blower replacement plan

Saanich owns more than 80 leaf blowers, 51 of which will expire by 2025

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Most Read