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Victoria, BC passes missing middle housing initiative

The City of Victoria, BC did a good thing last week: It passed its “Missing Middle Housing Initiative“, which means that up 6 dwelling units (their language not mine) will soon be permissible on every single-family lot in the city, and up to 12 dwelling units will be permissible in “corner townhouses”. These land uses changes come into effect on Sunday, March 12, 2023 (45 days after adoption).

Here on the blog, we’ve been talking about this shift toward intensifying our single-family neighborhoods for many years. And momentum clearly continues to grow. At face value, this appears to be one of the more enlightened moves by a city: 6 homes and 12 homes. Though these headline numbers may have something to do with the average lot sizes in Victoria. Either way, the devil is in the details. And here are some of those details:

What is positive to see is that a number of other zoning requirements have been updated. Because it’s not enough to just say, “Hey, we’re going to allow more homes on each lot. There, we’ve done something. Developers, go and do that.” Here, the allowable height has been increased, setbacks have been decreased, and the floor space ratio (site density) has been increased from 0.5 to 1.1 (assuming you do at least one amenity contribution).

I don’t know if this is exactly right and if it’s everything that developers will need in order to start building a lot more missing middle housing in Victoria. (If you’re a local developer, please let me know in the comment section below.) But I think it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

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