Vancouver seeks public input on allowing citywide changes for triplexes, fourplexes, fiveplexes, sixplexes: Online event and survey, local open houses (Next up Thurs Feb 23 Marpole Neighbourhood House)

Above: Image by City of Vancouver to convey the concept of missing middle. (Note: Not to scale. Also, the current consultation is on triplexes to sixplexes, not duplexes. Duplexes are already permitted nearly everywhere in Vancouver. So-called “single-family” (as in the detached house) zoning no longer exists anywhere in Vancouver. Most lots in RS zones can already have a duplex plus two secondary suites, or up to four units.)

Spread the word! On February 1, 2023, City of Vancouver released an announcement of a wave of events this month on possible changes to zoning across most of city to enable the construction of more “missing middle” housing (multiplexes = triplexes, fourplexes, fiveplexes, sixplexes). (Note that the image on that announcement page is incorrect, showing a duplex surrounded by blue sky and green grass.)

Information is available online on the City’s Shape Your City website, plus eight real in-person open houses during the month of February. That’s your chance to meet your neighbours and talk to real humans, a rarity in this era of virtual open houses. There is also an online survey. For all the information, open house location/time details, online session registration (Feb 27, quick! fills quickly), council presentation, survey, documents and other links, click the City’s site here:

Stay tuned, we may have more coverage on the topic in the coming weeks, including some issues to clarify and questions you may wish to ask City staff at events.


Feb 1, 2023 announcement by City of Vancouver

Vancouver seeking public input on allowing more missing middle housing in neighbourhoods across the city

Starting today, the City is seeking public input on a proposal to allow triplexes, fourplexes, fiveplexes and sixplexes (“missing middle housing”) in neighbourhoods across the city. 

Last week, City Council directed staff to begin public engagement on ideas to add much needed missing middle housing to Vancouver neighborhoods. Council received an update on the technical and background work underway to support these new options, and gave staff the green light to continue their work. The next step is to hear from the public on the goals and specifics of this work which include: 

  • Creating opportunities to make neighbourhoods more complete and connected by adding housing options to areas with convenient access to amenities and services needed in daily life.
  • Providing a range of housing ownership options so more residents can call our neighborhoods home and build a future here.
  • Providing more housing options that would meet the needs of a diverse array of family and household types, including families with children.
  • Improving the accessibility and sustainability of new housing options.

City staff will also be explaining some of the specifics and details necessary to make these options achievable, and to build homes in a more efficient way by simplifying regulations and streamlining processes.

Resident feedback will help shape draft recommendations on missing middle options and will be reported back to City Council later this year.

Get involved

  • Visit our Shape Your City Page to review materials and watch the Council presentation held January 18th, and sign up to receive updates on this work  
  • Attend an open house
    • ​Tuesday, February 7, City Hall, Joe Wai (Townhall) Room, 5:00-7:30 pm
    • Saturday, February 11, St. James Square Community Centre, Room 120, 2:30-5:30 pm
    • Monday, February 13, Killarney Seniors Centre, Grand Hall, 5:00-8:00 pm
    • Wednesday, February 15, Roundhouse Community Centre, Exhibition Hall, 5:00-7:30 pm
    • Saturday, February 18, Dunbar Community Centre, Room 208, 1:00-3:30 pm
    • THURSDAY, February 23 Marpole Neighbourhood House, Gathering Hall, 5:00-8:00 pm
    • Saturday, February 25, Hastings Community Centre, Community Hall, 2:00-4:00 pm
    • Monday, February 27, Online Session, 6:00-7:00pm, Sign up via Eventbrite
  • Take our survey [online, ends March 5, 2023]



Planning staff aim to add the missing middle:
A push to fill the ‘missing middle’ puts at risk the hidden density in many neighbourhoods
Vancouver’s push to create more affordable ownership meets criticism
(Kerry Gold, The Globe and Mail, BC Edition, 3-Feb-2023)

Excerpt: City planners should take a moment to consider “hidden density,” the overlooked and often little understood affordable rental housing that exists within single detached home neighbourhoods, say housing advocates. New data show this hidden renter density is more than 40 per cent in most Vancouver neighbourhoods, even those perceived as filled with nothing but expensive detached houses…. But there is hidden density that needs to be acknowledged when making such a major planning decision, says Evelyn Jacob, a director of the Upper Kitsilano Residents Association. “Something not mentioned during the [city’s] presentation is what about all those people living in secondary suites, paying very low rents – where are they supposed to go?” asks Ms. Jacob, a homeowner…The city presentation cites trade-offs including loss of trees and parking spaces, reduced privacy and shadowing, and pressure on utilities capacity. However, there’s no mention of loss of existing rental. And in Vancouver, secondary rental units represent about half the city’s rental stock, according to Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program. Prof. Yan has new analysis based on 2021 census figures that illustrate Vancouver’s hidden rental density. For example, more than 40 per cent of households of West Point Grey, Arbutus Ridge, Victoria-Fairview, South Cambie, Kerrisdale, Oakridge, Hastings-Sunrise, Riley Park, Killarney, Renfrew-Collingwood and Kensington Cedar Cottage are renters, according to his research. More than 50 per cent of households in Kitsilano, Marpole and Fairview are renters. In Mount Pleasant, 60 per cent are renters, and 64 per cent of Grandview-Woodland rents. Shaughnessy and Dunbar also have significant renter households, at 28 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively. “There is already a missing middle that exists in the city of Vancouver that needs to be acknowledged and engaged,” said Prof. Yan, who is a registered planner. “As they go after this new missing middle for home ownership and launch a new wave of building, you will have a displacement effect,” he said. As well, there is the chance of investors snapping up multiplexes and raising rents. His research shows that 16 per cent of duplexes are already non-owner occupied, or investor owned.


City of Vancouver proposes allowing multiplexes for all single-family neighbourhood zoning
(Kenneth Chan, Daily Hive, 18-Jan-2023)

Here –

Excerpt: In Spring 2023, the proposal will be refined, and another round of public consultation will be held. This will lead to the final draft policy for City Council’s decision in Fall 2023, culminating with a public hearing. If approved, the 1.0 FAR gentle densification policy and changes to the buildable form of a single-family house would go into effect in early 2024.


Below – Side note on City of Vancouver announcement

Above: Warning – Not as advertised. The featured image on landing page for the announcement on “missing middle housing” is not even close to portraying what the City is consulting about. It portrays what appears to be a rendering of a duplex surrounded by green grass, sky, and the ocean, with no buildings in sight. Nowhere to be seen is anything resembling a triplex or sixplex. Duplexes are not part of this consultation. Take this as a message – as residents attend the open houses, respond to surveys, and provide comments to staff and City Council, be sure to clarify exactly what it is that is being proposed, and what it means on the ground in real neighbourhoods.

5 thoughts on “Vancouver seeks public input on allowing citywide changes for triplexes, fourplexes, fiveplexes, sixplexes: Online event and survey, local open houses (Next up Thurs Feb 23 Marpole Neighbourhood House)

  1. the duplex image is hilarious … nothing surrounding it but grass and sky … I guess it is seen as non triggering, which is probably a wise move…

  2. Been to many such “open” houses organized by the City in the past, professing to want resident feedback. Nothing more than lip-service, with bored and condescending City staff present to answer questions (later proven to be lies), only so that they can “claim” public consultation has happened, but none of the input that conflicts with their done deals is ever acknowledged or implemented in plan revisions. A total waste of time and money! ABC has a TALL ORDER to try to prove that things have changed from the previous governments’ contempt for the public. I haven’t seen that proof yet, alas.

  3. Pingback: Missing Middle Housing—Manufactured Consent Part 1—The Survey (CC#102: The city’s survey can have only one outcome—and it’s not neighbourly) by Brian Palmquist | CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

  4. Pingback: Missing Middle Maze of Meddling Mediocrity (CC#104: Arbitrary options poorly explained mask a bankrupt planning process) by Brian Palmquist | CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

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