Vancouver City Council is opening the door to a new kind of neighbourhood, one that includes laneway housing

On Tuesday, City Council took the final step in approving a plan that allows residents to put a cottage in the back garden.

Laneway housing is a concept that is popular in parts of England and Australia. But it's new in Vancouver, where lack of affordable housing is a major problem.

Related links: Laneway housing fact sheet

In a bid to address that issue Council has approved a plan that will allow for the construction in Vancouver of small houses in backyards where a garage sits now,

Under the plan, laneway homes will be permitted in lots that are at least 33 feet wide, occupying a maximum area of 750 square feet.

Council says Vancouver is leading the way when it comes to sustainable living.

But some residents disagree

Former city councillor Jonathan Baker -- a Dunbar resident -- says the changes to his neighborhood will affect the quality of life.

That's because cars that would otherwise be parked in garages, will be moved out onto streets.

More residents will also mean higher density and more noise, he said.

Each laneway home must provide at least one on-site parking spot.

Councillor Suzanne Anton feels that the laneway housing plan is a good idea and will pay off in the long run.

"Our neighbourhoods actually have less people living in them now than they did 20 or 30 years ago because people had bigger families at that time,'' she said.

"I don't think traffic is going to be a problem but then again that's something we're going to be monitoring," she added.

But Anton and the rest of Council could be in for a political fight.

Baker says people in his upscale neighbourhood like things the way they are and are determined to keep it that way.

"I tell you I think I may work with the entire residents association to throw the entire council out,'' Baker said.

With a report by CTV British Columbia's Gelareh Darabi.