The goal is to understand the progress of the Infill Housing Program: Phase One in providing more housing choice for New Westminster residents. The following kinds of information will be evaluated:
- number of laneway/carriage houses and infill townhouse/rowhouses approved and constructed
- distribution of these projects across the city
- property or site characteristics of projects
- quality of physical design
- common difficulties encountered by applicants
- feedback from neighbours and other community members
Staff will make recommendations to Council about refinements to the program based on this evaluation. This could include refinements to the design guidelines, zoning regulations, and/or approval process. Staff may also recommend changes to the Official Community Plan (OCP) Land Use Designation Map should findings suggest that more properties be designated to allow for ground oriented infill housing.
A one-year interim report was presented to Council on February 2, 2019, which included a summary of the first year of the Infill Housing Program and zoning changes to improve the design of laneway and carriage houses, and infill townhouses and rowhouses.
The changes to the laneway and carriage house zoning allow larger accessible garage spaces for fully accessible units, and additional permitted area for covered front entry landings, un-covered upper level decks and externally-accessed bicycle storage areas. The changes to the infill townhouse and rowhouse zoning allowed for increased floor area in basements. Please review the Council report and Zoning Bylaw amendments to learn more.
Community consultation about more comprehensive revisions the program will take place in 2019. The feedback received will be considered alongside other data to inform recommendations for program refinements. The proposed refinements will be presented to Council for their consideration.
Do you and your neighbours think infill townhouses, infill rowhouses or other types of ground-oriented infill housing are right for your block?
As part of the monitoring program, the City is considering limited changes to the OCP Land Use Designation Map to designate more properties Residential – Infill Townhouse (RT) or Residential – Ground Oriented Housing (RGO). These changes would only be recommended if there were substantial support among the landowners of multiple adjacent parcels, and the location was consistent with other City policies and regulations. Changing the OCP land use designation would create an opportunity for affected property owners to apply for a rezoning to permit the construction of infill housing.
Phase One Infill Housing Forms
Laneway and Carriage Houses
Laneway and carriage houses are small, detached, ground oriented dwellings located in back yards. Laneway houses are located on properties that are accessible from a lane. Carriage houses are located on properties without lanes. Laneway and carriage houses can be used for family or as rental units.
Interested in building a laneway of carriage house? Click here to learn more.
Townhouses and Rowhouses
Townhouses and rowhouses are attached, ground oriented units. Rowhouses are fee simple developments with parking on each fee simple lot. Townhouses are strata title developments which may have shared or designated parking typically at the rear of the property.
Interested in building infill townhouses or rowhouses?
Providing more housing choice is a key focus of the Official Community Plan. In New Westminster, this means encouraging more ground oriented housing forms. Typically a ground oriented unit has a separate, exterior door directly onto the street (without passing through a common lobby or corridor).
The forms of ground oriented housing that received the most support during the development of the OCP were laneway and carriage houses, and townhouses and rowhouses. These forms were the focus of Phase One of the Infill Housing Program, and are now permitted within the appropriate land use designations and zoning districts. Council adopted the following amendments to implement the Program:
Adding two new land use designations to the OCP to enable infill townhouse and rowhouse development and other types of ground oriented housing
- Changing the land use designation in some parts of the city to the new Residential – Infill Townhouse (RT) or Residential – Ground Oriented Infill Housing (RGO) designations
- Changing the Zoning Bylaw to permit and regulate laneway and carriage houses in most single detached dwelling districts in the city
- Adding a new district to the Zoning Bylaw to permit and regulate infill townhouse and rowhouse developments
- Creating guidelines for laneway and carriage houses, and for infill townhouses and rowhouses, that apply to new development in the associated Development Permit Areas
Because these housing forms are new to New Westminster, in October 2017 Council also endorsed a two-year monitoring program to collect data about its progress and assess whether any refinements should be made.