Over 400 new small lots would be created in the City of North Vancouver with a policy shift that aims to make homes more affordable in the city. With amendments to its zoning bylaw, CNV plans to enable smaller lots in single family and duplex developments by eliminating a minimum lot size for some residential zoning. To ensure consistency in the way city develops, the policy will now aim for minimum front lot line length.
It also plans to permit basements beneath coach houses to increase storage, and modify setback requirements to promote outdoor living. There is also a proposal to increase the height envelope of buildings to enhance access to natural light and air for suites in duplexes. The city has been working on zoning amendments since last year with an aim to improve housing options and improve livability for one unit and two unit residences in the city.
The proposed changes stem from the city’s Housing Action Plan that called for the city to review minimum lot sizes as well as height envelopes in RS and RT zoned properties. At 47 percent, CNV has one of the highest percentages of renters in Metro Vancouver and many of them live in secondary suites. The city has specified minimum lot sizes and the policy has been in place since 1967.
But the city has since seen profound changes. With doubling of population and dramatic increase in price of home ownership, the dreams of home ownership have been dwindling especially for the millennials and smaller lot homes could provide an affordable option. By doing away with lot sizes in specific areas, city hopes to increase housing diversity and allow more, especially younger people, to enter the housing market.
Since 2010, the City of North Vancouver has approved 33 development applications that have created 71 new, smaller lots in the city. To regulate neighbourhood character, the city will introduce minimum front lot line length, a method used by several other municipalities to maintain consistency in new development.
To enable smaller lot developments, staff recommend narrowing the policy to RS-2 and RT-2 zones and specify a minimum front lot line length of 7.5 metres (24.6 feet) and 9 metres (29.5 feet), respectively. The city also plans to make technical changes that would allow for accessory suites to be built above grade in such a way that they have more natural light and ventilation and are not sunken deep into ground.
The zoning bylaw limits coach houses to have crawl spaces only but new policy changes would allow storage space under the coach houses. The suggested changes will now go to public hearing as the staff identifies residential areas that may be appropriate to zone for smaller lot developments.
The city has also created a new webpage on its website, www.cnv.orq/livabilitv, where the public can provide feedback to staff and stay involved with the process