Character Home Zoning Review: City seeks input to retain character homes, increase housing choices


Character homes. Photo: City of Vancouver website.

Below are excerpts from an information bulletin from the City of Vancouver, dated today.

City looks for public input on retaining character homes while increasing housing choices

Open houses

  • Monday, November 21, 2016, 5-9 pm (Hellenic Centre, 4500 Arbutus Street)
  • Saturday, November 26, 2016, 10 am – 4 pm (Vancouver City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue, Town Hall)
  • Monday, December 5, 2016, 5-9 pm (PNE Hastings Room, 2901 East Hastings – Gate 2, Forum Gate)
  • Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 5-9 pm (Hellenic Centre, 4500 Arbutus Street)

Online survey

The Character Home Zoning Review launches next week with a series of public consultation events to look at options for retaining character or heritage homes while creating more housing choices in single-family (RS zoned) areas in Vancouver.

The review will consider zoning changes in several areas of the city with higher concentrations of character homes built before 1940, including areas in the Northwest (West Point Grey and Upper Kitsilano), Southwest (Dunbar, Kerrisdale, Second and Third Shaughnessy, and parts of Arbutus Ridge), Central (parts of Riley Park, Cambie Village and Kensington), and Northeast (parts of Hastings and a small section of Grandview). Proposed options for these neighbourhoods would bring zoning in line with other areas, such as Kitsilano and Mount Pleasant, where zoning encourages the retention of character homes while adding more housing choices.
Character homes are defined as those that were built before 1940, meet established criteria for integrity of original features, and are not listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register.

Options being explored look at ways to incentivize character home retention while improving the compatibility of new homes in older neighbourhoods. Some of the ideas include opportunities to increase floor area, converting older homes into multi-unit residences, and adding infill housing. These new units could be for family use, rental or strata title if a character home is conserved.

Ideas being explored for new home construction include reducing and rebalancing allowable floor area to improve neighbourhood fit. The review will also examine streamlining zoning regulations and the permitting process for new homes and character home retention.

Recommendations from the Character Home Zoning Review are expected to be presented to Council in early 2017, followed by additional public consultation before any zoning changes are made.

The review is being conducted as part of the City’s Heritage Action Plan, which is examining different ways to encourage and support the retention of character homes and other heritage resources in Vancouver.

Heritage and character buildings are an important component of defining neighbourhood identity and character in a city and highly valued by many Vancouver residents. Retaining character homes also contributes to meeting the City’s Greenest City goals through the reuse of quality building materials that might otherwise go to waste and the reduction of new and often more energy-intensive materials being used to construct replacement homes.

Website for Character Home Zoning Review:

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