B.C. Premier David Eby introduced sweeping legislation that will see residential development targets imposed on municipalities coming up short in meeting housing demand
The newly inaugurated B.C. leader introduced the Housing Supply Act this week, which includes compliance steps that could see cabinet orders forcing municipalities to make approvals and rezonings.
“People are coming to this province in record numbers… and our housing supply is not keeping up,” Eby told reporters this week.
The introduction of the legislation comes only a few months after Eby raised eyebrows by suggesting that municipalities may be required to allow up to three housing units on most single-family lots, effectively eliminating single-family zoning.
What could the new legislative changes mean for the housing industry?
Eliminating red tape and creating more certainty for developers would help increase housing supply in parts of the province that need it most, said Keith Barron, a real estate lawyer with Clark Woods LLP.
“Anything that speeds up the approval process for housing construction is a step in the right direction,” he said. “These changes — if they go ahead — would give developers a bit more certainty when moving forward with their projects.”
It may also create more housing options in the marketplace, he added, as it could open the door to more gentle-density projects, like triplexes and multiplexes.
“This could benefit prospective home buyers who are looking at multi-family or multi-generational housing,” Barron said. “It paves the way for easier approval for carriage houses and duplexes that preserve the character of neighbourhoods while increasing density.”
The changes Eby has floated are already receiving pushback from politicians at the local level, who oversee zoning decisions.
But Barron added that municipal approval mechanisms have struggled to keep up with housing demand, and intervention from higher levels of government may be necessary.
“Having the province step in with new housing supply measures would definitely help increase supply,” he said. “It will be interesting to see where this all leads.”
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