THINKING OF BUILDING A LANEWAY OR CARRIAGE HOUSE?

Laneway and carriage houses must meet development permit guidelines, zoning regulations and Building Code regulations. The development permit guidelines provide direction for the form and character (the look) of the building as well as topics such as lighting, landscaping and energy efficiency. The Zoning Bylaw includes regulations for density, height, and parking in districts where laneway and carriage houses are permitted. Both laneway and carriage houses are referred to as “detached accessory dwelling units” in the City’s Zoning Bylaw.

If you are considering building a laneway or carriage house:

  1. Contact the Planning Division and confirm that the zoning on your property allows a laneway or carriage house. (See contact information below.)
     
  2. Set up a pre-application review meeting with the Planning Division.
     

Pre-Application Meeting 

Before you move forward with hiring any professionals or making an application, book an appointment for a pre-application meeting (see contact information below) at which time a Planner will discuss with you the requirements and approval process, and answer any questions you may have. At the pre-application meeting the Planner will also do their best to flag potential issues or constraints specific to your property that may arise through the approval process. Being aware of these issues prior to hiring design or building professionals can help you to save money. Examples of constraints include:

  • Lot size and shape: There are not requirements for minimum lot size, width or depth. However, it will be more difficult to build on small, shallow or oddly shaped properties.
  • Building separation: There is a minimum requirement for the distance between the main house and the laneway or carriage house. Depending on the placement of your existing house, and the size and depth of your property, it may be difficult to meet this requirement.
  • Pedestrian access: An access path from the street to the laneway or carriage house is required, and the path must meet minimum width requirements. Depending on the placement of your existing house and width of your property, it may be difficult to meet these requirements.
  • Lane dedication or right of way: The City would like to see full width lanes throughout New Westminster for safer vehicle access and reduced transportation conflicts on busy streets. To achieve this goal, the City may require a lane dedication or right of way for the development of a laneway or carriage house.
  • Trees: Recognizing that the urban forest is a valued public resource at risk of decline, all new development proposals must consider the Urban Forest Management Strategy and comply with the Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw. Tree protection and replacement requirements may limit your ability to build.  
  • Cost: Design and construction costs to build a laneway or carriage house are not insignificant. Beyond these costs, there may be additional costs for a professional to properly service the new development, as well as costs associated with other City fees and permits, depending on the context of your property.