Creating More Adaptable Housing Units

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The Canadian Survey on Disability (2017) reports that 22% of the Canadian population aged 15 years and over have one or more disability, and for those aged 75 years and over, 47% have one or more disability. Adaptable housing refers to housing with the potential to accommodate all community members regardless of their physical abilities. Adaptable units can benefit anyone whose mobility is limited due to age, disability, or illness, making it easier for them to function more independently in their own home and age in place over time. Nanaimo's aging population is growing, and there is an increased need to accommodate adequate housing for seniors, as well as for people with disabilities.

What does Adaptable Housing look like?

In accordance with the BC Building Code, a basic adaptable unit allows for a future conversion and individualized upgrades to meet the specific accessibility needs of a tent, resident, or owner. An adaptable unit is designed and built so that accessibility features (to meet a specific need) can be added more easily and inexpensively after construction. They often include features like:

  • Wider doorways;
  • Maneuvering room at dwelling unit entries and corridors;
  • Access to a main floor bathroom;
  • Access to a kitchen on the main floor;
  • Reinforcement of bathroom walls for future installation of grab bars;
  • Accessible door handles, switches, and outlets;
  • Powered lifts or elevators;
  • Access ramps;
  • Lowered cabinetry, shelves, and cupboards; and
  • Roll-in shower and roll-under sinks.

Proposed changes to Adaptable Housing Regulation and Policy in Nanaimo

To enable more adaptable housing units in Nanaimo, the City is proposing the following Zoning Bylaw amendment recommendations:Graphic illustrating an apartment/condo building that has at least 50 per cent of it's unit adaptable

1. Requiring more adaptable units in multi-family buildings

In a multi-unit development of 10 or more units, require 50% of the residential units to meet the basic adaptable unit standard in accordance with the BC Building Code.

2. Requiring adaptable units in Seniors Housing

Require that 100% of the housing units in a "Seniors Congregate Housing" development meet the basicgraphic illustrating an apartment/condo building that has 100 per cent adaptable units adaptable unit standard in accordance with the BC Building Code.

3. Incentivizing additional adaptable units through density bonusing

A density bonus in the Zoning Bylaw allows for additional density on a parcel when certain amenities are achieved in accordance with Schedule D of the Zoning Bylaw. Currently, Schedule D includes density incentives when at least 10% of the residential units within a building meet the basic adaptable standard.

The City is proposing that the required minimum number of adaptable units be increased from 10% to greater than the base amount of 50% ingraphic illustrating a building that gets a density bonus of an additional floor when at least 50 per cent of the building's units are adaptable. order to achieve the density bonus in which multi-use developments is already a permitted use. This would be in addition to the required units outlined in #1.

The Canadian Survey on Disability (2017) reports that 22% of the Canadian population aged 15 years and over have one or more disability, and for those aged 75 years and over, 47% have one or more disability. Adaptable housing refers to housing with the potential to accommodate all community members regardless of their physical abilities. Adaptable units can benefit anyone whose mobility is limited due to age, disability, or illness, making it easier for them to function more independently in their own home and age in place over time. Nanaimo's aging population is growing, and there is an increased need to accommodate adequate housing for seniors, as well as for people with disabilities.

What does Adaptable Housing look like?

In accordance with the BC Building Code, a basic adaptable unit allows for a future conversion and individualized upgrades to meet the specific accessibility needs of a tent, resident, or owner. An adaptable unit is designed and built so that accessibility features (to meet a specific need) can be added more easily and inexpensively after construction. They often include features like:

  • Wider doorways;
  • Maneuvering room at dwelling unit entries and corridors;
  • Access to a main floor bathroom;
  • Access to a kitchen on the main floor;
  • Reinforcement of bathroom walls for future installation of grab bars;
  • Accessible door handles, switches, and outlets;
  • Powered lifts or elevators;
  • Access ramps;
  • Lowered cabinetry, shelves, and cupboards; and
  • Roll-in shower and roll-under sinks.

Proposed changes to Adaptable Housing Regulation and Policy in Nanaimo

To enable more adaptable housing units in Nanaimo, the City is proposing the following Zoning Bylaw amendment recommendations:Graphic illustrating an apartment/condo building that has at least 50 per cent of it's unit adaptable

1. Requiring more adaptable units in multi-family buildings

In a multi-unit development of 10 or more units, require 50% of the residential units to meet the basic adaptable unit standard in accordance with the BC Building Code.

2. Requiring adaptable units in Seniors Housing

Require that 100% of the housing units in a "Seniors Congregate Housing" development meet the basicgraphic illustrating an apartment/condo building that has 100 per cent adaptable units adaptable unit standard in accordance with the BC Building Code.

3. Incentivizing additional adaptable units through density bonusing

A density bonus in the Zoning Bylaw allows for additional density on a parcel when certain amenities are achieved in accordance with Schedule D of the Zoning Bylaw. Currently, Schedule D includes density incentives when at least 10% of the residential units within a building meet the basic adaptable standard.

The City is proposing that the required minimum number of adaptable units be increased from 10% to greater than the base amount of 50% ingraphic illustrating a building that gets a density bonus of an additional floor when at least 50 per cent of the building's units are adaptable. order to achieve the density bonus in which multi-use developments is already a permitted use. This would be in addition to the required units outlined in #1.