City Council will decide on 6-story rental buildings along Vancouver’s main streets


Vancouver City Council is on the verge of deciding on one of its most important housing policies to date, potentially catalyzing up to approximately 4,700 new purpose-built guaranteed rental units in low-rise and high-rise apartment buildings. mid-rise across the city over the next decade.

At a public meeting next week, after conducting a public consultation earlier in its tenure, city council will consider changes to commercial zoning along main streets to allow for new six-story rental buildings, without the arduous rezoning process. Such projects would follow the same process as a new four-story condominium on these sites.

As these buildings are in commercial districts, they should be mixed-use developments with residential uses in the upper levels and the ground floor dedicated to retail and restaurants in order to improve and ensure the continuity of retail bands. Additionally, six-story buildings in commercial districts should have at least 35% of units sized for families (two or more bedrooms), and structures should be designed to a passive house green building standard or conform to other green building policies. .

Under this policy, rental properties up to six storeys would also be permitted in low density residential zoning along arterial roads, provided that at least 20% of the residential area is devoted to below-market rental units. . Alternatively, the policy offers the option of 100% social housing.

In addition, 100% additional rental density of up to four storeys would be allowed to face local streets immediately on either side of arterial streets.

Example of a commercial district rental building on a shopping street. (City of Vancouver)

vancouver secure rental housing policy

Example of rental buildings on and near an artery. (City of Vancouver)

vancouver secure rental housing policy

Example of rental property options on a thoroughfare (top) and: example of rental property options on a local street (bottom). (City of Vancouver)

Sites near SkyTrain stations and frequent bus stops such as RapidBus / B-Line would count towards reduced parking allowances for vehicles.

“At the proposed construction scales, rental apartments in the secure market are financially marginal to build. To minimize construction costs, increase building efficiency, and limit future maintenance and operating costs, new rental areas provide for simple and efficient building designs, with limited articulation and little or no setback. upper floors, ”a report from municipal staff reads.

“Simple building types also improve energy performance and provide high quality of life units, including larger family units. They would have a compact footprint to limit impact on adjacent sites and allow for children’s play space and shared outdoor amenity space on site. Architectural elements such as balconies, ground level entrances, facade composition and exterior finishes would generate visual interest when viewed from the street.

These policies for secure rental housing along and near arterial roads will not be implemented in areas under their own community plans, including the Cambie Corridor Plan, Marpole Community Plan, Grandview-Woodland Plan, Peninsula downtown Vancouver and the next Broadway plan.

vancouver secure rental housing policy

Map of zoning districts along and near arterial roads under secure rental policy, outside of community plans. (City of Vancouver)

Establishing a new rental zoning district classification would also streamline such proposals in these areas, which would be the first time the City of Vancouver has used the new rental zoning tool approved in 2018 by the provincial government for jurisdictions. municipal.

It would also help ensure that new buildings under these changes would be used permanently as rental accommodation, in addition to the housing agreement for each project that secures them as rental.

“As a quick start action in the Vancouver plan, these changes would help create more complete neighborhoods that include a range of secure and below-market rental housing, strengthen and expand local shopping streets, and reduce pollution. by carbon by allowing more people to live close to shops, public transport and daily needs, ”reads a report from municipal staff.

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