Gentle density will be coming to Delta neighbourhoods.
Among the strategies identified in the city’s new Housing Action Plan, recently approved by council, is the creation of opportunities for gentle density to allow units like duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, coach homes, detached suites and townhouses in historically single-detached neighbourhoods.
It’s to provide more options for people hoping to move to and within Delta. while maintaining low density community character.
According to the city’s Housing Needs Assessment report, even though more apartments and townhouses are being built, Delta's housing stock is still mostly single-detached houses.
With most of Delta's housing over 45 years old and starting to come to the end of its useful life, the city has an opportunity to rethink future housing types to best meet residents' needs.
The action plan notes, “Economic analysis showed that low density housing forms are unlikely to achieve significant affordability. However, gentle density provides options to increase housing supply and to allow for aging in place within established neighbourhoods.”
The action plan also lists actions that can be undertaken in the short, medium and long-term term including the city could undertaking a design ideas competition on forms of gentle density that could be applied within Delta's single-detached neighbourhoods.
Among the other actions is for the city to incorporate gentle density policies and land use designations into a new Official Community Plan with the aim to create a more consistent approach to single detached neighbourhoods throughout the city.
One of the other actions is for the city to update existing duplex zone regulations to remove barriers to duplexes.
Many areas of Delta that are zoned for duplexes do not currently permit them due to minimum lot area requirements, the report states.
Delta's zoning bylaw also currently does not permit detached suites, so another action is for the city to identify opportunities to allow them and amend the zoning bylaw accordingly.
The actions also include a review infill single detached development policies and establishing a more harmonized approach between communities, including more consistent subdivision policies and potential additional infill options that may be possible without a need for subdivisions.
The Housing Action Plan is to be reviewed by staff and reported to council every two years to ensure that implementation is progressing and that the work being done remains relevant.
Guiding the action plan, the Housing Needs Assessment will be updated within five years in accordance with provincial legislative requirements.
Delta’s action plan has been more than two years in the making, following the assessment, involving several rounds of community and development stakeholder consultations.
B.C. Housing Minister David Eby was at an affordable housing conference last week and warned of consequences for those municipalities that have yet to undertake housing needs assessments and plans to address the affordability crises.
Eby said his government could withhold funding for programs.