Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Laneway Housing Takes Root

After much debate, Vancouver city council is set to vote today and approve the
Laneway Housing plan.

Geared toward residential neighborhoods on the West Side, it will allow homeowners to create secondary housing at the back of city lots. The plan promises to densify the city as part of the larger Eco-Density initiative.

Though there has been much dialogue from both sides of the issue (Westsiders accused of NIMBYism; concerns of a detrimental impact on Vancouver's urban fabric), it must be said that good design can solve many problems and the potential for this program is exciting.

From the city's website here are the main points of the plan:

- In RS-1 and RS-5 single family areas
- On lots 33' wide and wider, with an open lane, on a double fronting street, or on a corner with a lane dedication
- Generally located in the space where a garage would be permitted
- Rental or family only/no strata-titling
- Minimum on-site parking requirement of either 1 or 2 parking spaces: TBD by Council
- Unit size based on lot size to a maximum of 750 sq. ft. (approx. 500 sq. ft. unit on a 33'x122' lot)
- 1 and 1.5 storey configurations, with guidelines to address upper storey privacy, massing and shadowing
- Enabling homeowners to add a laneway house while retaining their existing main house; with
or without a secondary suite in the main house (a laneway house could also be built with a new

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