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Updates to BC's housing plan
Legislation to make four-plexes legal coming in the fall
BC’s latest housing plan (“Homes for People”) was announced this morning by David Eby. Some key points:
Make four homes legal on a single-family detached lot (the previous commitment was for three), with legislation to be introduced in the fall. It sounds like there’ll be some exceptions, though: it says the legislation “will apply to many areas of the province,” and that for smaller lots, the limit will be three instead of four. The province will provide $50 million in funding for municipalities to implement zoning changes.
“Additional density permitted in areas well-served by transit.” There’ll be a lot of decisions to make here. Is this by-right? Does this apply to bus routes, or only rapid transit stations? What will be the limits on height and total floor space?(New Zealand’s upzoning allows up to six storeys within walking distance of city centres and rapid transit stops. Ontario’s housing task force recommended allowing up to six storeys on transit routes, including bus routes, by right.)
Make secondary suites legal across the province, with a new program to offer a forgivable loan to build and rent out a secondary suite for five years (for up to 50% of the cost of renovations, up to $40,000, limited to 3000 applications over three years).
Set housing targets, and “engage with” municipalities where the need is greatest and which aren’t meeting those targets. Provincial legislation allows for direct intervention.
Reduce permitting timelines, as described by the 2019 Development Applications Process Review. Another decision to make: does this mean guaranteed timelines, as recommended by the MacPhail Report?
Implementation of digital permitting, working with other levels of government.
Update building codes to support mass-timber projects.
Expand the construction workforce. Improve productivity, e.g. through offsite prefabrication.
New actions “to close [homeless] encampments and better support people currently sheltering in encampments to access housing.”
A “flipping tax” on properties bought and sold within two years.
Stricter enforcement of rules on short-term rentals (i.e. AirBnB).
More funding for the RTB, to resolve landlord-tenant disputes faster.
“We’ll keep combatting criminal activity in our real estate market with a number of measures, including through unexplained wealth orders and new partnerships with the Federal Government.”
Slide summarizing the overall plan:
Action plan - document describing the plan
Belonging in BC - homelessness strategy
B.C.'s housing plan aims to increase 'missing-middle' housing, legalize all secondary suites. Katie DeRosa in the Vancouver Sun.