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SCRD: Affordable housing amendments drafted

SCRD: Affordable housing amendments drafted

Amendments to all of the Official Community Plans (OCPs) for the SCRD’s rural areas have been drafted, in order to create a consistent set of policies across the region to encourage affordable housing.

Reporting to the Infrastructure Services Committee meeting of Sept. 21, Senior Planner Yuli Siao said: “This new policy seeks to create land use opportunities and favourable conditions for affordable housing through a number of strategies that will focus on infill development and density increases in appropriate locations.”

Zoning in the rural areas already allows a second dwelling on many residential lots that are half an acre or larger, although 90 per cent currently have just one home. “Infill” of those properties could create over 2,000 new homes without any need for new roads and water services.

The SCRD has also identified key “community hubs” close to services and public transit to be prioritized for multi-family residential development. Those areas are: Madeira Park, Secret Cove, Halfmoon Bay, Sargeant Bay, the Roberts Creek village core, and Langdale.

No community hub was identified in Area E, but much of Elphinstone (outside of the Agricultural Land Reserve) is considered suitable for infill.

The proposed policies also permit smaller homes and new sewage treatment systems that require much less land than conventional septic systems, and provide density bonuses for developments that integrate affordable housing with market-priced housing.

Area D Director Mark Lebbell asked staff to attend Area Planning Commission meetings to help explain the proposed amendments, pointing out that the changes will have different effects on different OCPs.

“In some of the proposed bylaw amendments it’s a simple addition,” said Lebbell, “whereas in West Howe Sound and Roberts Creek there’s some subtraction going on of existing provisions on affordable housing.”

He noted that Roberts Creek’s OCP has existing wording about special needs which would be removed under the proposed amendments.

SCRD Directors gave first reading to the bylaw amendments. The next step will be public information meetings to gather feedback from residents.  Donna McMahon

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