Vancouver City council has approved several steps to enable rental apartments to develop faster and in more areas of the city.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said these policies could help build upwards of 8,000 new rental homes over the next seven years, including nearly 5,000 homes geared to middle-income households.
The key steps include rental-only zoning, allowing up to six storeys in commercial zones, and a new family-friendly housing pilot program for four to six storey buildings close to schools, parks and shops.
Vancouver will also partner with CleanBC to enable reinvestment in existing buildings while keeping tenants in place.
The City plans to implement rental-only zoning for the first time, allowing six-storey rental buildings in commercial districts not already covered by community plans. Rental development in these areas will no longer be required to go through a rezoning process, city said.
Rental-only zoning will also be used as a pilot project in areas off of main arterial roads that are close to schools, shops and parks.
“Vancouver residents told us loud and clear to take action on the housing crisis so that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Stewart said.
A new Below-Market Rental Housing Policy for rezonings will also consider modest increases in height and density to deliver lower unit rental prices, focusing on areas already identified for growth. .
Other approved measures include incentivizing more rental housing for households that earn less than $80,000 per year, by continuing to process and evaluate applications under the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program.
The rental only zones are also located near shops, amenities, and services, creating lower carbon emitting, walkable communities where residents are close to their daily needs.