City of Vancouver approves Duplex Zoning for Most of the City

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Vision Vancouver, the current political party in charge of our fine city, just approved with a 7-4 vote a change to zoning in just about every Vancouver neighbourhood to allow for duplexes where single family homes currently stand. This is both a big and a small change.

Article from the Vancouver Courier:

Vancouver Council Approves Duplexes in Most Neighbourhoods

Many areas of Vancouver, especially those near thoroughfares and commercial areas, were already zoned for duplexes if they had a standard lot size. However, now every single family home allows for a duplex to be built in it’s place EXCEPT for the pocket from West 37th to W 49th, between Maple St and Granville St (please contact the City of Vancouver for specific locations).

This is a big change because it gives every homeowner more flexibility in a future build. There was an ever so slight value benefit that someone had if they owed a duplex zoned lot amongst single family lots, but the difference in value is so minimal that more new development and more people moving to the area will better the area, which will in turn, make up for the difference in value.

This is a small change because it doesn’t allow for any more sqft than previously allowed, which means if a lot was strictly zoned for a 2600sqft single family home, it can now be two 1300sqft homes in the form of a duplex (or, for example, an 1200 and 1400sqft duplex, the sides don’t need to be equal). It also does not allow for any more height than previously allowed. You are not allowed to build a laneway house on the same lot as one of these duplexes, but a laneway may be allowed if a single family house is built and the lot conforms to laneway requirements. This change won’t push people to sell their property and developers won’t be rushing to buy now that they have more choice, so I don’t anticipate this change to make a noticeable difference in construction rates or neighbourhoods anytime soon.

Many people were upset that this change happened quickly and without much public consultation or research, though it’s a minor change considering that every new single family home has a basement suite anyways, which means two groups were living in the new property already. Many neighbourhoods have also seen a new Community Plan released in the last few years that allows for more townhouses, row houses, low rise developments and high rises, so change is certainly coming, albeit, slowly!

Keep in mind that we have a Municipal Election coming up on OCTOBER 20th (with advanced voting happening from October 10th to the 17th). Housing is the biggest issue facing the candidates, and everyone has different opinions when it comes to zoning, new development, rental properties, taxes, city owned land, etc. Not to mention, parks, homelessness, transportation, businesses, etc can be affected with a new City Council. Ensure you’re educated and prepared to vote for the candidate that aligns with your ideas, so read up on your options and make sure to vote.