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Delta making it easier to create gentle density

The changes to reduce barriers for more housing include removing limits on floor space and percentage distribution for secondary suites within single-detached dwellings
Among the subdivision and rezoning applications approved by council last week was for a split of one residential lot on 117 Street into two. A single-family house with secondary suite will be built on each. The lots will be 44-feet wide, smaller than others on the street.

Further changes to pave the way for more gentle density in existing residential neighbourhoods are on the horizon in the City of Delta.

Council last week agreed with a planning department recommendation to make changes to the zoning bylaw on secondary suites. The changes include removal of the minimum and maximum floor area requirements for suites to allow greater flexibility in design to accommodate a wider range of rental types.

Other existing secondary suite requirements, such as parking space requirements, will remain.

A staff report notes the changes will align with the latest version of the BC Building Code, while Delta’s Housing Action Plan seeks to create opportunities for gentle density.

“Secondary suites facilitate low-impact densification as they can be integrated within mature neighbourhoods with limited visual impact on the street, which helps retain neighbourhood character while providing more rental housing options as well as provide mortgage helpers for landowners,” the report states.

A public hearing is not required for the zoning amendment as the bylaw is consistent with the Official Community Plan (OCP).

The city, in recent months, has also introduced other housing changes including no longer requiring public hearings for applications that comply with the OCP.

Community Planning Director Marcy Sangret told council that staff are currently working on introducing more elements of the housing plan in the near future, including allowing secondary suites in duplexes.

OCPs are to also undergo review with amendments to be introduced to be in line with the plan.

However, it’s not clear how Delta's ongoing initiative and upcoming OCP reviews will be impacted by the provincial government’s recent announcement of legislative changes this fall to create more housing opportunities, including allowing up to four units on a single-family lot.

Premier David Eby and Housing Minster Ravi Khalon made the announcement at the recent UBCM Housing Summit in Vancouver.