‘Build A Tiny House’ tagline on for sale sign: A look at the zoning provisions

“Build a tiny house” is the tagline on a for-sale sign in Grandview-Woodland. This property is near Victoria Drive and is zoned as RT-5 (duplex).

The www.zealty.ca website lists this property with a price of $289,000 (1912 William Street), with a 9ft frontage and a 60 ft depth (2.73 x 18.3 m). The lot area will be approximately 540 sq feet or 50.2 sq metres, and zoning allows for an FSR of 0.60. Here it appears that ‘downsizing’ is the name of the game.

What kind of ‘tiny home’ could be built on this site?

Duplexes are out, as the RT-5 zoning district schedule states: 4.1.2. The minimum site area for a Multiple Dwelling shall be 511 m².

The front yard would have to be a minimum of 12 feet (3.66 m): 4.4.1. The required front yard shall be a minimum depth of 7.3 m or 20% of the lot depth, whichever is less.

Side yard setbacks would be calculated at 0.9 feet (0.27 m) on either side, making the building width 7.2 feet or 2.19 m on the exterior (less on the inside due to wall thickness): 4.5.1. A side yard with a minimum width of 10 percent of the width of the site shall be provided on each side of the building, except that it need not be more than 1.5 m in width

A rear yard setback of 35.1 feet (10.7 m) is also stated in the zoning: 4.6.1A rear yard with a minimum depth of 10.7 m shall be provided, or 30% of lot depth for lots with an average depth exceeding 36.5 m.

There would of course be possibilities for variances and for the discretion of the Director of Planning to provide relaxations to the RT-5 zoning. However, regardless, a lot that is 9 feet wide would still only permit a tiny house. Perhaps a design competition could yield some interesting ideas on what kind of ‘tiny house’ could be built on this site.

For context, here’s the outline of the property in VanMap:

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