Expanding Family-Friendly Housing Options

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What is Family-Friendly Housing?

Family-friendly housing is a dwelling unit that contains 2 or more bedrooms and supports households with more than 2 persons.

Why does this matter?

Increasing housing costs has made finding housing challenging for families requiring multiple bedrooms. Single-detached houses in Nanaimo are often no longer affordable for families, and there is a need for more attainable alternatives, such as 2 and 3+ bedroom strata units, rental apartments, and townhouses. Both City Plan - Nanaimo ReImagined (2022) and the City's Affordable Housing Strategy (2018) recommended that the City of Nanaimo explore options to increase family-friendly housing. While the supply of family-friendly units is generally being built, there is a lack of affordable family-friendly units.

Proposed Changes for Family-Friendly Housing in Nanaimo

To encourage more affordable family-friendly housing in Nanaimo, the City is proposing the following changes:

  1. Zoning Bylaw Amendments

The change: For zones in which a multi-unit development is already a permitted use, it is recommended that:

  • Where a multi-unit development has 10 or more units, a minimum of 30% of the units must be 2+ bedrooms, and 10% of those must be 3+ bedrooms. Thus, a maximum of 70% of the units can be one bedroom or bachelor units. 

Why: This change will gently increase the amount of 2 and 3+ bedroom units in multi-unit housing developments, creating more family-friendly housing options.

2. Amendments to Schedule D of the Zoning Bylaw

The change: it is recommended to amend Schedule D (Amenity Requirements for Additional Density) in the Zoning Bylaw to allow for a density bonus (on parcels zoned for multi-unit use) as follows:

  • When family-friendly units are proposed within 400 metres of a public school; and,
  • When family-friendly units are ground-oriented, such as on the first storey of a multi storey building.

What is density bonus? A density bonus in the Zoning Bylaw is an increase to the allowable density on a parcel when certain amenities are achieved in accordance with Schedule D.

Why: This change will support family-friendly units close to schools and create more family-friendly units on the ground floor of multi-unit buildings.

3. Amendment to "City of Nanaimo Policy for Consideration of a Parking Variance"

The change: Amending the evaluation criteria in the City of Nanaimo Policy for Consideration of a Parking Variance.

  • The amendment would allow reduced parking to be considered for underground parking spaces for 3-bedroom units in a multi-unit development.

Why: This change will act as an incentive to support more family-friendly housing in multi-family developments and reduce additional costs associated with underground parking.

What is Family-Friendly Housing?

Family-friendly housing is a dwelling unit that contains 2 or more bedrooms and supports households with more than 2 persons.

Why does this matter?

Increasing housing costs has made finding housing challenging for families requiring multiple bedrooms. Single-detached houses in Nanaimo are often no longer affordable for families, and there is a need for more attainable alternatives, such as 2 and 3+ bedroom strata units, rental apartments, and townhouses. Both City Plan - Nanaimo ReImagined (2022) and the City's Affordable Housing Strategy (2018) recommended that the City of Nanaimo explore options to increase family-friendly housing. While the supply of family-friendly units is generally being built, there is a lack of affordable family-friendly units.

Proposed Changes for Family-Friendly Housing in Nanaimo

To encourage more affordable family-friendly housing in Nanaimo, the City is proposing the following changes:

  1. Zoning Bylaw Amendments

The change: For zones in which a multi-unit development is already a permitted use, it is recommended that:

  • Where a multi-unit development has 10 or more units, a minimum of 30% of the units must be 2+ bedrooms, and 10% of those must be 3+ bedrooms. Thus, a maximum of 70% of the units can be one bedroom or bachelor units. 

Why: This change will gently increase the amount of 2 and 3+ bedroom units in multi-unit housing developments, creating more family-friendly housing options.

2. Amendments to Schedule D of the Zoning Bylaw

The change: it is recommended to amend Schedule D (Amenity Requirements for Additional Density) in the Zoning Bylaw to allow for a density bonus (on parcels zoned for multi-unit use) as follows:

  • When family-friendly units are proposed within 400 metres of a public school; and,
  • When family-friendly units are ground-oriented, such as on the first storey of a multi storey building.

What is density bonus? A density bonus in the Zoning Bylaw is an increase to the allowable density on a parcel when certain amenities are achieved in accordance with Schedule D.

Why: This change will support family-friendly units close to schools and create more family-friendly units on the ground floor of multi-unit buildings.

3. Amendment to "City of Nanaimo Policy for Consideration of a Parking Variance"

The change: Amending the evaluation criteria in the City of Nanaimo Policy for Consideration of a Parking Variance.

  • The amendment would allow reduced parking to be considered for underground parking spaces for 3-bedroom units in a multi-unit development.

Why: This change will act as an incentive to support more family-friendly housing in multi-family developments and reduce additional costs associated with underground parking.