Vancouver laneway housing: “gentle densification”
CTV British Columbia
Published Sunday, September 29, 2013 7:43PM PDT
Housing costs are always a source of concern in Vancouver, and now some residents are looking at laneway homes as a possible option.
The city of Vancouver has issued over 1000 laneway house permits since 2009, and according to city council, the homes help meet Vancouver’s affordable housing needs.
“It's a nice way of doing gentle densification of a neighbourhood,” said Coun. Kerry Jang.
Building company Smallworks said it starts a new laneway house in Vancouver every nine days. The houses mostly range from 600 to 900 square feet in size, and construction takes about 18 weeks to complete.
Smallworks operator Jake Fry said he has seen a shift in his client base and now families are using his company’s services.
“We find more and more what we tend to build for is for families …their adult children want to live in the neighbourhood and they actually reside in there and they cover the mortgage,” Fry said. “So it’s become this kind of de facto starter home.”
But some residents like Sophie Yip take issue with the laneway houses being built near their homes.
“Now, right in front of me when I sit down to breakfast, there's a wall in front of me,” she said.
Coun. Jang said some Vancouver residents are planning ahead to make the most of their land.
“We're seeing that people are designing empty lots now to have a laneway house put there on purpose,” he said.
David Neely is one of these people. He built a laneway home at the back of his lot three years ago.
“We looked at it as a potential investment property for us,” he told CTV News.
While Neely’s neighbours were initially concerned, he said the building is now part of the neighbourhood.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Michele Brunoro.