Anshu Arora LLM, MSc, PMP

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B.C.'s housing plan aims to increase 'missing-middle' housing, legalize all secondary suites

The B.C. government will overhaul municipal zoning rules to allow for more so-called “missing-middle” housing, such as townhomes and multiplex homes on single-family lots. It will also introduce a flipping tax and legalize all secondary suites as part of Premier David Eby’s housing strategy announced on Monday.

Critics, however, said the plan lacks specific details and a sense of urgency since most of the required legislation won’t be introduced until the fall. There are also concerns that upzoning single-family lots could push land prices up further as homeowners jockey to sell to developers at the highest price.

“Simply put, we need to build more homes for people faster,” Eby said during a news conference in Victoria. Later this year, the NDP will introduce legislation that will allow three to four units on a traditional single-family detached lot, and even higher density in areas close to transit hubs. “Single-family detached homes are out of reach for many middle-class people. And one- or two-bedroom condos often don’t meet the needs of growing families. Family friendly neighbourhoods need more small-scale, multi-unit homes.”

Once passed, the new legislation will mean that when a multi-unit development on a single-family lot goes before a municipal council, as long as it meets all the parameters around setbacks and size, the council must approve the project. The debate over missing-middle housing has been divisive in many communities, with proponents calling for creative solutions that will make owning a home more attainable. Opponents question whether missing-middle housing will actually bring prices down.







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