Nonprofit housing in Vancouver’s low-rise neighborhoods may soon have the ability to skip a rezoning application, expediting construction in an effort to alleviate the city’s affordability issues. According to Kenneth Chan, “it would allow new non-profit social and co-housing up to six storeys in large areas of Kitsilano, Fairview, and Mount Pleasant, as well as the western and northern areas of Grandview-Woodland, and Marpole south of 70th Avenue.” Applicants in the designated areas would skip the rezoning application and public hearings normally required for bigger developments, shaving an estimated two years from the application process.
“It is anticipated this will help address the shortage for below-market housing, allowing non-profit societies and co-ops to renew existing buildings and expand over time. The direction towards six-storey wood frame construction is the highest possible form without concrete construction, and it is financially feasible on existing non-profit owned sites with funding from senior governments.” The proposal has to pass through the city council and public hearings. A survey conducted last fall indicates that Vancouver residents overwhelmingly support streamlining the process for building non-profit housing and allowing greater building height for these developments. The move could help the city achieve the social housing goals set out in its Housing Vancouver plan, where it has been falling short of its annual targets.