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Queen Charlotte council considers bylaw amendments to allow more housing

Change could help village’s housing shortage
The Village of Queen Charlotte council is considering a bylaw change to allow more buildings per lot in multi-family residential zones. The changes were spurred by a request from the Queen Charlotte Heritage Housing Society. (Photo: Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)

The Village of Queen Charlotte council passed the first and second readings to amend the special provision bylaw stating that multiple-family zoned properties can have a maximum of two buildings per lot, during their regular council meeting on July 4.

“The number of dwellings on a property has definitely impeded some infilling within our municipality, and as there is a true lack of property within our municipality being able to infill, I think, is key to actually working with this housing issue that we’re finding ourselves in as a community,” Mayor Kris Olsen said during the meeting on July 4.

“So these amendments are very important because they’re supportive of housing residents within their community with our limited property.”

The next step in the process of changing the bylaw is a public hearing which the village proposed for July 18.

If the village does go ahead with the bylaw change to allow more than two buildings per lot, developers will still be restricted by bylaws dictating the maximum number of units per hectare and the maximum amount of the lot that can be covered with buildings.

Currently, in multiple-family residential zones, there can be 75 units per hectare, and not more than 50 per cent of the lot can be covered with buildings and structures.

Reconsideration of these zoning bylaws was triggered by a written request from Heritage Housing Society (HHS).

The HHS was in the initial stages of planning a housing project that would add 20 affordable units to the village. However, the lot they were proposing for the development, 609 Second Avenue, is 0.55 acres, which only allows for 17 units following the current maximum density bylaw for the property.

Furthermore, there can only be two buildings per lot, yet the Housing Society was advised by a pre-fab supplier not to have more than five units per building. In order to build 20 units, they would need to have four buildings, more than the current restriction of two.

The Housing Society’s requests to increase the number of units that can be built per hectare and the number of buildings that can be constructed on a lot were presented to council during their regular council meeting on June 20. They voted to proceed with a reconsideration of the special provision bylaw that dictates the number of buildings per lot in a multi-family zone but not to change the density limit bylaw.

RELATED: 12 new housing units for Bella Coola by late 2022

 Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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