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

Kelowna golf course ready and open for spring business

Two Eagles Golf Course opened Saturday, more to come

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA hopes annual climb will promote peace

MLA Norm Letnick’s 5th Annual Spring Climb for Health & World Peace is April 6

Possible assault to bus driver in Kelowna

A minor bus crash was reported just after 8 p.m. Friday night

Car crash nearly sends car over embankment in West Kelowna

RCMP search for driver of alleged stolen vehicle that caused crash

Update: Highway 3 reopened following rockslide near Keremeos

The slide occurred Friday March 22, at about 8 p.m. between Red Bridge and Standing Rock

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Okanagan woman launches sewing studio

“I know there’s a lot of people up and down the valley that would love to sew.”

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Letter: Stop raising the minimum wage

To the editor: The government is looking for ways to put more… Continue reading

Letter: Immigration will not help other countries, or our own

To the editor: Firearms are not the culprit in all those massive… Continue reading

Letter: Sprawl destroying natural landscape

To the editor: I agree with the assessment by Ian Pooley in… Continue reading

Former Okanagan teen found safe after disappearing from YVR airport

Ethan Burnett, 14, was found safe in Kelowna on March 22

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Most Read