B.C.'s Housing Plan Aims to Boost 'Missing-Middle' Options in Victoria - Explore Victoria Houses for Sale
While British Columbia's housing plan strives to enhance the availability of 'missing-middle' housing, the proposal has garnered mixed reviews. Critics argue that the plan lacks specific details and a sense of urgency, as most of the necessary legislation won't be introduced until the fall. Additionally, there are concerns that the upzoning of single-family lots may drive land prices even higher, as homeowners vie to sell to developers at top dollar. View all Homes for sale Victoria BC
"Simply put, we need to expedite home construction for our residents," emphasized Eby during a news conference in Victoria. Later this year, the NDP will introduce legislation that allows three to four units on traditional single-family detached lots, and even higher density in areas near transit hubs.
"Single-family detached homes are financially out of reach for many middle-class individuals. One- or two-bedroom condos often fall short of meeting the needs of growing families. Family-friendly neighborhoods require more small-scale, multi-unit housing options."
Once enacted, the new legislation will ensure that when a multi-unit development is proposed on a single-family lot, as long as it adheres to the guidelines regarding setbacks and size, the municipal council must approve the project.
BC Green MLA Adam Olsen expressed concern that the government's reliance on the market has only inflated real estate costs further. He stated, "The market has created these conditions, and now you're going to infuse more public funds into it and claim, 'The thing that broke it is the thing that will fix it.' There's a significant disconnect and cognitive dissonance."
In January, the City of Victoria approved its missing-middle housing policy, allowing up to six units on a single-family lot. The Vancouver council is contemplating legalizing buildings with up to six units on single-family lots on low-density residential side streets.
Luke Mari of Victoria-based Aryze Developments anticipates that a province-wide missing-middle policy will usher in a new breed of real estate developer known as the "homeowner developer," who will have the ability to construct a triplex in their backyard without protracted rezoning procedures.
Eby finds it perplexing that homeowners can easily replace their homes with larger ones without a convoluted rezoning process, whereas the process to construct a multi-unit dwelling for multiple families can take up to two years to receive approval.
The initiative to promote more missing-middle housing was lauded by Bridget Ryan, a Victoria renter and post-doctoral student at the University of Victoria, who has felt trapped by the housing market. She and her husband have postponed starting a family until they secure stable, long-term housing.
Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West acknowledged the potential for significant changes in communities due to this policy but stressed the need for the province to collaborate with municipalities to bolster infrastructure services supporting increased density.
Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch expressed concerns about the policy potentially undermining municipal land-use planning efforts. He questioned the extent of control municipalities would retain over shaping their communities.
B.C. Liberal housing critic Karin Kirkpatrick worried that the upzoning policy might exacerbate speculation as single-family lots could appreciate based on their development potential.
Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, cautioned against the risk of a land rush resulting from province-wide upzoning. He questioned whether speculators and investors would flood the market, driving up real estate prices.
Despite the concerns, Yan praised the plan for addressing various aspects of housing policy, including supply, demand, and finance.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities plans to engage local mayors and councillors for input on the province-wide rezoning for single-family lots.
The B.C. government is also set to legalize all secondary suites across the province, removing the choice from municipalities. Eby contends that this move will alleviate the scarcity of affordable rental units in certain communities.