Laneway Housing approved by City Council

Vancouver City Council approved a series of recommendations to expand access to laneway housing across the City of Vancouver. The recommendations deliver on a key EcoDensity action item unanimously approved by Council in June.
Laneway housing is generally a smaller house or cottage at the rear of the lot near the lane. The report approved today provides much more defined parameters of what laneway housing would be in the context of Vancouver single family areas. It covers close to 70,000 lots of varying sizes and shapes with a variety of existing houses and garage types.
The recommendations in the report include:

  • laneway housing to be permitted in all single family areas of the City
  • designated family or rental housing instead of strata
  • no reductions in backyard open space
  • maximum height of 1.5 stories
  • configurations that allow for one or two parking spaces
  • application of new green building standards for single family homes
  • separated storm & sanitary sewage connections
  • staff report back on progress after three years or after 100 projects – whichever comes first

“Expanding laneway housing across the City of Vancouver is a win-win-win for city,” said Mayor Sullivan. “We are supporting more affordable housing choices, protecting the environment and stimulating the economy at the same time. I want to thank my colleagues for supporting this important part of our EcoDensity plan – particularly Councillor Suzanne Anton for her tireless work on this file.”
To support the plan, City Council approved $50,000 for a pilot project to help construct a country lane in a residential community that will incorporate additional storm water management features and provide space for vegetation in the shoulder areas of the lane.
In addition to supporting laneway housing, Mayor Sullivan and Council approved a number of other housing measures this week, including:

  • over $5 million for development of 70 new units of social & supportive housing at 3595 West 17th Avenue
  • amendments to city by-laws to remove barriers to green building approaches – including relaxed building height restrictions & thicker wall assemblies
  • $300,000 to complete a comprehensive rental housing strategy for the City of Vancouver that focuses on rented condo stock, secondary suites, existing supply and purpose built housing