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More changes coming for Delta's housing development rules

Changes coming for the city’s current unit per hectare density maximums
The Housing Action Plan identifies specific strategies and actions that are to be eventually implemented.

Another aspect of Delta’s Housing Action Plan will soon be implemented by the city.

A recent update to council notes staff are currently preparing a report to bring forward in early 2023 with Official Community Plan amendments on removing unit per hectare density maximums, including for multi-unit dwellings.

Other proposed changes include removing of the Ladner minimum lot width requirements to create additional housing opportunities.

The amendments are part of a sweeping series of recommendations in the action plan approved in late 2021.

The plan sets out strategies, each with short to long-term actions over the next five years, to address needs identified in Delta's earlier Housing Needs Assessment.

One of the strategies is to promote priority housing types through a comprehensive incentives package to create purpose-built market rental, non-market rental, supportive housing, accessible units and other priority and affordable housing types.

Another strategy includes looking at city and community-owned lands and working with land owners interested in redevelopment to accommodate priority housing.

The strategies, among other things, also include introducing tenant relocation and rental stock protection policies, piloting pre-zoning in select areas near town centres, as well as creating opportunities for “gentle density” in order to allow units like duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, coach homes, detached suites and townhouses in historically single-detached neighbourhoods

Planning staff have identified short-term actions that can be prioritized.

Council has already agreed to waive development cost charges for non-profit society affordable housing projects, and, more recently, gave the thumbs-up to a bylaw amendment to reduce the amount of parking stalls required for purpose-built rental apartments to further incentivize more units being built.

Staff are also looking at the possibility of amending the city’s secondary suite policy to allow suites within duplexes.

Meanwhile, planning staff are also drafting proposed bylaw amendments that will be brought forward this year, which would further streamline development application processes.