Infill Housing in Existing Neighbourhoods

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The existing R5 - Three and Four Unit Residential Zone allows three or four units on a single lot. There are however, few properties within the city that are zoned R5. To increase the supply of triplexes and fourplexes, a much needed housing form, the City is proposing to prezone key sites across the city (see R5 map here). Prezoning means that three or four units could be constructed on a lot without going through a rezoning process. The City is proposing to prezone existing single family (R1/R1b) and duplex (R4) lots within a 1km buffer from the downtown, and within the 'Neighbourhood' designation in City Plan. This move is intended to encourage infill development in key areas as envisioned in City Plan, without compromising the character of existing neighbourhoods.

What does the R5 zone allow?

The R5 - Three and Four Unit Residential Zone allows for the development of small-scale multi-unit residential dwellings of up to four units on a single lot. These buildings are intended to be compatible with the scale and architectural style of single residential dwellings in the neighbourhood. These buildings are often called houseplexes (Triplexes or Fourplexes), and while they look very similar to a single residential dwelling, they contain three or four units. Triplexes and Fourplexes provide gentle density in established neighbourhoods because they use a similar amount square footage compared to a single residential dwelling, but can allow for three or four separate housing units on one lot.

Existing R5 Regulations

The R5 zone allows for up to three dwelling units on a lot with a minimum size of 800 m². Up to four units are permitted if the following conditions are met:

  1. The lot is a corner lot;
  2. The lot is next to a lane, or;
  3. The lot is a minimum of 1,200 m².

Proposed R5 Regulations

  1. The lot is a corner lot;
  2. The lot is next to a lane, or;
  3. The lot is a minimum of 800 m

Additionally, the City is proposing to revise the R5 zone to require all dwelling units be in a single building (e.g. a houseplex).

The following is a table comparing the existing Single Residential Dwelling (R1) zone, the existing R5 zone, and the proposed R5 zone.

Zoning RegulationsExisting R1 (Single Dwelling Residential) ZoneExisting R5 ZoneProposed R5 Zone
Density (units)1 + suite; or 23 or 4
3 or 4
Eligibility for additional unitCorner lot over 700 m² without subdivision potentialCorner lot, lot next to a lane, or a lot greater than 1,200 m²
Corner lot, lot next to a lane, or a lot greater than 800 m²
Density (Floor Area Ratio)N/A0.55
0.55
Building Height7 m to 9 m8 m to 9 m
8 m to 9 m
Lot Coverage40%50%
50%
Front Yard Setback4.5 m4.5 m3 m
Side Yard Setback1.5 m1.5 m1.5 m
Rear Yard Setback7.5 m7.5 m7.5 m
Building FormSingle residential dwellingsAttached or detached unitsAttached units (houseplex)


Reducing lot sizes can incentivise infill housing by allowing the subdivision of more properties in those zones. By reducing required front yard setbacks we can allow for larger functional rear yard spaces while fostering greater street presence. The existing front yard setbacks in the infill housing zones are between 4.5 m and 6.0 m and can be prohibitive to development, often leading to front yard setback variance requests.

The current minimum lot sizes, front yard setbacks and the proposed changes to the R4 (Duplex Residential), R5 (Three and Four Unit Residential), R6 (Low-Density Residential), R13 (Old City Duplex Residential), and R15 (Old City Medium Density Residential) zones can be seen in the table below:

ZoneCurrent Minimum Lot SizeProposed Minimum Lot SizeCurrent Minimum Front Yard SetbackProposed Minimum Front Yard SetbackMinimum Garage Setback
R4700 m²600 m²4.5 m3 m6.0 m
R5800 m²600 m²4.5 m
3 m
6.0 m
R61,500 m²1,200 m²6.0 m
3 m
--
R13750 m²750 m²4.5 m3 m
6.0 m
R14750 m²750 m²
6.0 m
3 m
--
R15750 m²750 m²
6.0 m3 m
--



Conversion of Older Homes

The use of older homes as residences can provide relatively affordable housing when compared to new housing. Allowing for the conversion of existing houses to have more housing units can incentivize both the protection of neighbourhood character homes as well as provide additional gentle density.

Existing R13, R14 & R15 Zones

There are three zones that aim to preserve the historic and architectural character of the Old City Neighbourhood:

R13 - Old City Duplex Residential Zone allows for rehabilitation of older homes, and the development of new single residential and duplex residential dwellings that are consistent with the historic architectural style of the area.

R14 - Old City Low Density (Fourplex) Residential Zone allows for the rehabilitation of older homes and the development of new small-scale multiple family residential dwellings that are consistent with the historic architectural style of the area.

R15 - Old City Medium Density Residential Zone allows for the rehabilitation of older homes, and the development of new medium density multiple family residential redevelopments that are consistent with the historic architectural style of the area.

Proposed Changes to the R13, R14 & R15 Zones

Proposed changes to the R13, R14, and R15 zones would permit additional units and floor area, on a lot where a house built before 1975 is preserved, as outlined in the table below:

Zone
R13R14R15
Proposed DensityOne additional dwelling unitOne additional dwelling unit and an additional 0.15 of Floor Area Ratio (FAR)An Additional 0.15 of Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

Amending the R7 Zone

Currently in the R7 zone, only fee simple rowhouse lots are permitted. Fee simple lots are individually owned, with rowhouse units attached on one or both sides with another unit. Allowing multiple types of residential tenure (e.g. both fee-simple and strata units) will provide flexibility to accommodate different housing tenures.

The Existing R7 Zone

The R7 - Row House Residential Zone allows for street-oriented, attached, medium density (fee simple) rowhouse dwelling units. Rowhouses are two or more residential units that share a common party wall or are connected at the side lot line; however, they individually occupy their own lot and are considered "fee simple" lots because they do not form part of a strata. This is contrasted with townhouses where units are either on a shared strata plan or are purpose-built rentals on a lot with multiple units.

The Proposed Changes to the R7 Zone

Zoning RegulationExisting R7 ZoneProposed R7 Zone
Maximum DensityOne fee simple dwelling unit per lotOne fee simple dwelling unit on lots less than 1,500 m²;
A maximum base Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 0.70 on lots 1,500 m² or greater.
Minimum Lot Area150 m²150 m² for rowhouse units;
1,500 m² for multi-unit townhouse (strata or rental)
Maximum Lot Coverage70%70% on lots less than 1,500 m²;
50% on lots 1,500 m² or greater
Maximum Building Height9 m for flat roof buildings;
10.5 m for sloped roof buildings
No proposed change.

The existing R5 - Three and Four Unit Residential Zone allows three or four units on a single lot. There are however, few properties within the city that are zoned R5. To increase the supply of triplexes and fourplexes, a much needed housing form, the City is proposing to prezone key sites across the city (see R5 map here). Prezoning means that three or four units could be constructed on a lot without going through a rezoning process. The City is proposing to prezone existing single family (R1/R1b) and duplex (R4) lots within a 1km buffer from the downtown, and within the 'Neighbourhood' designation in City Plan. This move is intended to encourage infill development in key areas as envisioned in City Plan, without compromising the character of existing neighbourhoods.

What does the R5 zone allow?

The R5 - Three and Four Unit Residential Zone allows for the development of small-scale multi-unit residential dwellings of up to four units on a single lot. These buildings are intended to be compatible with the scale and architectural style of single residential dwellings in the neighbourhood. These buildings are often called houseplexes (Triplexes or Fourplexes), and while they look very similar to a single residential dwelling, they contain three or four units. Triplexes and Fourplexes provide gentle density in established neighbourhoods because they use a similar amount square footage compared to a single residential dwelling, but can allow for three or four separate housing units on one lot.

Existing R5 Regulations

The R5 zone allows for up to three dwelling units on a lot with a minimum size of 800 m². Up to four units are permitted if the following conditions are met:

  1. The lot is a corner lot;
  2. The lot is next to a lane, or;
  3. The lot is a minimum of 1,200 m².

Proposed R5 Regulations

  1. The lot is a corner lot;
  2. The lot is next to a lane, or;
  3. The lot is a minimum of 800 m

Additionally, the City is proposing to revise the R5 zone to require all dwelling units be in a single building (e.g. a houseplex).

The following is a table comparing the existing Single Residential Dwelling (R1) zone, the existing R5 zone, and the proposed R5 zone.

Zoning RegulationsExisting R1 (Single Dwelling Residential) ZoneExisting R5 ZoneProposed R5 Zone
Density (units)1 + suite; or 23 or 4
3 or 4
Eligibility for additional unitCorner lot over 700 m² without subdivision potentialCorner lot, lot next to a lane, or a lot greater than 1,200 m²
Corner lot, lot next to a lane, or a lot greater than 800 m²
Density (Floor Area Ratio)N/A0.55
0.55
Building Height7 m to 9 m8 m to 9 m
8 m to 9 m
Lot Coverage40%50%
50%
Front Yard Setback4.5 m4.5 m3 m
Side Yard Setback1.5 m1.5 m1.5 m
Rear Yard Setback7.5 m7.5 m7.5 m
Building FormSingle residential dwellingsAttached or detached unitsAttached units (houseplex)


Reducing lot sizes can incentivise infill housing by allowing the subdivision of more properties in those zones. By reducing required front yard setbacks we can allow for larger functional rear yard spaces while fostering greater street presence. The existing front yard setbacks in the infill housing zones are between 4.5 m and 6.0 m and can be prohibitive to development, often leading to front yard setback variance requests.

The current minimum lot sizes, front yard setbacks and the proposed changes to the R4 (Duplex Residential), R5 (Three and Four Unit Residential), R6 (Low-Density Residential), R13 (Old City Duplex Residential), and R15 (Old City Medium Density Residential) zones can be seen in the table below:

ZoneCurrent Minimum Lot SizeProposed Minimum Lot SizeCurrent Minimum Front Yard SetbackProposed Minimum Front Yard SetbackMinimum Garage Setback
R4700 m²600 m²4.5 m3 m6.0 m
R5800 m²600 m²4.5 m
3 m
6.0 m
R61,500 m²1,200 m²6.0 m
3 m
--
R13750 m²750 m²4.5 m3 m
6.0 m
R14750 m²750 m²
6.0 m
3 m
--
R15750 m²750 m²
6.0 m3 m
--



Conversion of Older Homes

The use of older homes as residences can provide relatively affordable housing when compared to new housing. Allowing for the conversion of existing houses to have more housing units can incentivize both the protection of neighbourhood character homes as well as provide additional gentle density.

Existing R13, R14 & R15 Zones

There are three zones that aim to preserve the historic and architectural character of the Old City Neighbourhood:

R13 - Old City Duplex Residential Zone allows for rehabilitation of older homes, and the development of new single residential and duplex residential dwellings that are consistent with the historic architectural style of the area.

R14 - Old City Low Density (Fourplex) Residential Zone allows for the rehabilitation of older homes and the development of new small-scale multiple family residential dwellings that are consistent with the historic architectural style of the area.

R15 - Old City Medium Density Residential Zone allows for the rehabilitation of older homes, and the development of new medium density multiple family residential redevelopments that are consistent with the historic architectural style of the area.

Proposed Changes to the R13, R14 & R15 Zones

Proposed changes to the R13, R14, and R15 zones would permit additional units and floor area, on a lot where a house built before 1975 is preserved, as outlined in the table below:

Zone
R13R14R15
Proposed DensityOne additional dwelling unitOne additional dwelling unit and an additional 0.15 of Floor Area Ratio (FAR)An Additional 0.15 of Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

Amending the R7 Zone

Currently in the R7 zone, only fee simple rowhouse lots are permitted. Fee simple lots are individually owned, with rowhouse units attached on one or both sides with another unit. Allowing multiple types of residential tenure (e.g. both fee-simple and strata units) will provide flexibility to accommodate different housing tenures.

The Existing R7 Zone

The R7 - Row House Residential Zone allows for street-oriented, attached, medium density (fee simple) rowhouse dwelling units. Rowhouses are two or more residential units that share a common party wall or are connected at the side lot line; however, they individually occupy their own lot and are considered "fee simple" lots because they do not form part of a strata. This is contrasted with townhouses where units are either on a shared strata plan or are purpose-built rentals on a lot with multiple units.

The Proposed Changes to the R7 Zone

Zoning RegulationExisting R7 ZoneProposed R7 Zone
Maximum DensityOne fee simple dwelling unit per lotOne fee simple dwelling unit on lots less than 1,500 m²;
A maximum base Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 0.70 on lots 1,500 m² or greater.
Minimum Lot Area150 m²150 m² for rowhouse units;
1,500 m² for multi-unit townhouse (strata or rental)
Maximum Lot Coverage70%70% on lots less than 1,500 m²;
50% on lots 1,500 m² or greater
Maximum Building Height9 m for flat roof buildings;
10.5 m for sloped roof buildings
No proposed change.