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More changes approved for Delta infill housing rules

The policy amendments to the Ladner Area Plan are aimed at removing barriers to creating more infill housing
Council had already approved amendments to the OCP for exemptions from UPH limits for some developments. Sandor Gyarmati/Delta Optimist

More zoning amendments were recently approved to make it easier to add infill housing in Delta.

The Official Community Plan (OCP) changes approved by council last month includes removing the unit-per-hectare (UPH) density maximums from multiple-family land use designations that also have floor space ratio (FSR) maximums.

A planning department report explains that a FSR maximum typically limits a development’s size and massing by putting a restriction on the total amount of floor area that can be constructed.

A UPH limitation, when further restricted by height or FSR maximums, would not impact the overall massing of a project, but would regulate the maximum number of units that a site could accommodate, commonly resulting in larger units than what may otherwise be provided without the maximum UPH standard.

Using only FSR as a density limit provides more flexibility in unit sizes and allows the market to play a greater role in determining the mix of sizes and ultimate number of units that will fit within a development, the report notes, adding that smaller units tend to have a lower price, leading to increased housing affordability.

The OCP changes also include removing in the East Ladner Area Plan a requirement that lot dimensions are not to vary by more than 15 percent from other similar properties within 150 metres.

The changes also include amending the Ladner Area Plan to remove requirements for a minimum 12-metre frontage and a minimum area of 370-square-metres for lots in areas designated infill single-family residential, as well as amending the Ladner Area Plan to remove the requirement for design covenants for single-detached and coach house development. Planning director Marcy Sangret noted the city already has design guidelines when it comes to the design for infill housing, so the city wants to move away from covenants as part of a broader attempt to streamline the application process.

Proposed designs will be presented to the public for input when rezoning proposals are submitted.

Delta’s Housing Action Plan identifies several key short-term actions to be prioritized, while seeking to create more opportunities for gentle density.

Further work is ongoing to evaluate regulations pertaining to secondary suites, backyard suites, duplexes and more.