Filling a missing middle: City of Vancouver steps up townhouse rezoning approvals

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      For many who cannot afford a freestanding home, but don’t want a box in the sky, townhouses are the next best thing.

      However, finding one in Vancouver could be a tricky as there are not enough of these ground-oriented homes.

      As city hall noted in its 2019 progress report on housing, it approved only in the past couple of years two percent of the townhouses it hoped to see.

      This situation seems to be changing.

      More townhouse applications are coming on stream, and the City of Vancouver is stepping up the approval of these proposals.

      On May 16, council is scheduled to hold public hearings on seven rezoning applications for this housing form.

      All of the applications were made under the Cambie Corridor Plan, which, according to city planner Karen Hoese, identifies over 1,100 single-family lots for new townhouses.

      Hoese, who wrote the staff reports for the seven rezoning applications, noted that the Cambie plan created opportunities for up 8,200 future townhouses.

      The rezoning applications are for the following properties: 717-743 West 28th Avenue, 847-867 West 28th Avenue, 653-683 West 31st Avenue, 916-926 West 32nd Avenue, 514-530 West 59th Avenue, 188-198 West King Edward Avenue, and 6750-6770 Oak Street and 975 West 52nd Avenue.

      Townhouses are among what is called the “missing middle” between detached homes and high density apartments.

      The others are duplexes, fourplexes, and low-rise apartments of up to four storeys.

      The Housing Vancouver Strategy has a target of 5,000 townhouses for a 10-year period from 2018 to 2027.

      In its progress report, the city indicated that only 86 townhouses were approved in 2018, representing 17 percent of its yearly target of 500 units.

      Currently in various stages of processing as indicated on the city’s website Thursday (May 2) are eight other rezoning applications for townhouses at 404-434 West 23rd Avenue, 1008 West 47th Avenue and 6335-6363 Oak Street, 749-815 West 49th  Avenue, 930 West 49th Avenue and 6525 Fremlin Street, 1008 West 52nd Avenue, 6808-6888 Ash Street, 6908-6968 Ash Street and 575 West 54th Avenue, and 6218-6230 Oak Street.

      On April 4 this year, council approved the rezoning applications for townhouses at 628-682 West 28th Avenue and 4435 Ash Street, 976 West 52nd  Avenue and 6822-6868 Oak Street, and 6250-6410 Oak Street.