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Affordability & Choice Today

Innovative Strategies, Policies and Guidelines

These projects deal with the identification and implementation of new strategies, policies and guidelines to increase housing affordability and housing options.

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    Density Bonus Transfer

    The City of Vancouver often grants a density bonus when property owners agree to preserve and repair heritage buildings. However, if the owner is not able to use the added density on the heritage site itself, the city allows the density to be transferred to another property within City Council's approved list of areas. If the heritage site owner does not have another project or property where the density bonus can be used, it can be sold to another eligible property owner. This, in turn, generates revenue that can be used to rehabilitate the heritage property.
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    Helping Municipalities Promote Green Development

    Smaller and midsized communities often lack the in-house legal and policy expertise to create the regulatory tools required to promote and implement sustainable development practices. WCEL's The Green Buildings Guide and The Green Infrastructure Guide identify and explain the regulatory and policy tools available to local governments to encourage sustainable development at the community and site levels.
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    Building Code Options Reduce Renovation Costs for Inner-City Housing

    New Life Ministries received an ACT grant in 1999 to develop, with the City of Winnipeg, building code options and renovation guidelines. Two inner-city houses, both built in 1905 to the same floor plan, were renovated, one to code and the other using the alternatives for 10 elements. Renovating to code cost $17,582; the same elements using the alternatives cost only $7,335, a savings of 58 per cent.
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    Achieving Smart Growth in British Columbia

    West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) received ACT funding to use in demonstrating the application of its Smart Bylaws Guide in four municipalities. WCEL produced reports for each of the four, addressing a wide-range of smart growth practices, and made suggestions for regulatory reform specific to each municipality's circumstances.
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    Setting the Stage for Innovative, Affordable Homes on Mountainous Terrain

    Hope, BC has created a supportive and proactive housing development environment, in collaboration with the private sector and other community partners. Seven case studies were prepared illustrating innovative ways for the private sector to introduce new affordable housing choices to Hope's housing market. Environmental considerations were taken into account, namely vegetation, water, wildlife, soils, air quality, energy efficiency and waste recycling. Financial implications for each example were also considered. These studies demonstrated that private sector housing solutions could provide homeownership housing for households with annual incomes as low as $50,000. Granny flats and coach houses could provide rental housing for households whose incomes are in the $20,000 (granny flats) to $40,000 (coach house) range.
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    New Housing Strategies: Creating Policy And Streamlining Bylaws

    Hope, BC has created a supportive and proactive housing development environment, in collaboration with the private sector and other community partners. Seven case studies were prepared illustrating innovative ways for the private sector to introduce new affordable housing choices to Hope's housing market. Environmental considerations were taken into account, namely vegetation, water, wildlife, soils, air quality, energy efficiency and waste recycling. Financial implications for each example were also considered. These studies demonstrated that private sector housing solutions could provide homeownership housing for households with annual incomes as low as $50,000. Granny flats and coach houses could provide rental housing for households whose incomes are in the $20,000 (granny flats) to $40,000 (coach house) range.
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    Developing Building Code Alternatives and Guidelines for Renovations

    New Life Ministries received an ACT grant in 1999 to develop, with the City of Winnipeg, building code options and renovation guidelines. Two inner-city houses, both built in 1905 to the same floor plan, were renovated, one to code and the other using the alternatives for 10 elements. Renovating to code cost $17,582; the same elements using the alternatives cost only $7,335, a savings of 58 per cent.
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    New Plan Reflects Northern City's Unique Character

    In 2001, Council voted to create a new General Plan to guide the overall development of Iqaluit and its related residential needs for the next 20 years. Extensive public consultation through community workshops and focus groups, including a meeting with community Elders, was at the heart of the planning process.
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    Development Permit Process Development - City of Iqaluit

    In 2001, Council voted to create a new General Plan to guide the overall development of Iqaluit and its related residential needs for the next 20 years. Extensive public consultation through community workshops and focus groups, including a meeting with community Elders, was at the heart of the planning process.
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    Evaluation Guidelines for Residential Development Applications

    Developed guidelines to indicate what is and is not encouraged in terms of density, tenure types, access to services and achieving community acceptance. Non-profit housing, seniors housing, guaranteed rental housing and designs that fit well with the existing character of the neighbourhood are encouraged.
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    Evaluation Guidelines for Residential Development

    Developed guidelines to indicate what is and is not encouraged in terms of density, tenure types, access to services and achieving community acceptance. Non-profit housing, seniors housing, guaranteed rental housing and designs that fit well with the existing character of the neighbourhood are encouraged.
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    Performance-Based Zoning Standards - Brandon, MB

    Brandon, Manitoba adopted a new performance-based zoning bylaw in April 2001, based on changes recommended by its ACT project. The revamped bylaw yielded immediate benefits. A complete review and evaluation of the bylaw was undertaken in 2004. As a result, Council adopted a series of amendments in January 2005, completing the work that began with the ACT project.
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    Performance-Based Zoning Standards

    Brandon, Manitoba adopted a new performance-based zoning bylaw in April 2001, based on changes recommended by its ACT project. The revamped bylaw yielded immediate benefits. A complete review and evaluation of the bylaw was undertaken in 2004. As a result, Council adopted a series of amendments in January 2005, completing the work that began with the ACT project.
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    Review of Performace-Based Zoning Standards

    A high-tech community, "Cyberlane Estates", was to be designed to the latest standards in both construction and planning, including sustainability, environmental sensitivity, security, crime prevention and new community resources. However, the innovative plans were beyond the scope of existing zoning standards for most municipalities. Traditional zoning identifies acceptable uses and dimensions, which can be very restrictive for new uses, or for mixed-use projects. Performance zoning is designed to allow much more flexibility, by identifying acceptable ways of dealing with intensity and impacts, instead of rigid use restrictions. The final report identified pros and cons of the performance-based planning approach. It concluded that some hybrid system of performance and prescriptive zoning is probably the best answer.
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    Levying Development Cost Charges on a Square-Foot Basis

    This project looked at basing charges on lot and house size, as opposed to a fee based on the number of lots. Charging DCCs on a square foot basis can contribute directly to greater housing affordability and choice.  The research suggests that levying DCCs per square foot presents the best solution where it is possible to: define a specified area or sector; allocate land use and density; and determine a likely population estimate for the area.
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    "How To" Model for Density Bonusing Implementation

    The City of Surrey approved a cash-in-lieu system in principle.  Surrey's tremplate for density bonusing can serve as a guide for other municipal governments considering this development tool.
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    Safe Housing Standards for Affordable Renovation

    Demonstrated that inner-city rooming houses can be economically upgraded to acceptable standards of health and safety using guidelines alternative to those prescribed by regulations.
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    A Manual for Analyzing Regulatory Needs

    The Regional Municipality of Haut-Richelieu developed a manual to help small Quebec municipalities (approximately 3,000 to 4,000) analyze regulatory requirements, amend existing regulations and streamline the approval process.
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    Nova Scotia Planning Act Review

    The project team made 16 recommendations, some pertaining to the Nova Scotia Planning Act, but most had to do with adopting a provincial land use policy on housing that would require municipalities to include affordable housing policies in their municipal plans.
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    Adoption of the National Building Code in Prince Edward Island

    The Construction Association of Prince Edward Island conducted an impact study on the adoption of the National Building Code in PEI.
Page Updated: 21/12/2015