Given the long-term trend of rising housing costs in Metro Vancouver, developing and maintaining an affordable and diverse housing supply is critical for the City of Port Moody’s, and the Region’s, economic viability. Providing a variety of home ownership and rental options, that includes a variety of housing types and forms, is essential for municipalities, and the Region as a whole, to provide housing for everyone.
Affordable Housing Strategy
The City’s current Affordable Housing Strategy was adopted by Council in 2009, which built on earlier versions of the Strategy from 1993 and 1999. The updated strategy assessed the need for affordable housing in Port Moody and identified a range of approaches that can be used to encourage the development of new affordable housing in the City.
In developing Strategy, public consultation was undertaken with residents and tenants of affordable housing units, housing and service providers, and government agency staff and developers in order to identify the affordable housing needs in Port Moody, as well as the challenges of maintaining and providing more affordable housing units.
The Affordable Housing Strategy includes:
- Demographic statistics;
- The distribution of subsidized and rental units in Port Moody;
- Local housing market trends;
- The results of consultation with the public and housing and service providers; and
- A list of priority actions for Port Moody and an implementation work plan.
Specific areas of policy development have been developed based on the priority actions identified in the Strategy, including:
- The adoption by Council of Affordable Housing Reserve Fund Guidelines in order to encourage affordable housing units in Port Moody as part of new development projects by defining how proponents of affordable housing could apply to use the fund.
- The adoption by Council of a Strata Conversion Policy, which clearly states Council’s position of not being supportive of applications.
A number of other affordable housing policies are currently under development, including a Tenant Relocation Policy, a Rental Replacement Policy, an Inclusionary Zoning Policy, and a Density Bonusing/Community Amenity Contribution Program.
Official Community Plan
The Housing section of the City’s Official Community Plan (OCP) includes a number of policies that support the provision of affordable housing, including the consideration of measures to address the development of new and the maintenance of existing affordable housing units as outlined in the Strategy, including:
- Requiring affordable housing as a condition of the sale of City-owned land, where appropriate;
- Exploring the feasibility of establishing an affordable housing “land bank”;
- Encouraging the development of partnerships among community groups, non-profit organizations, the business community, professionals, the school district and all levels of government to provide affordable/special needs housing;
- The consideration of an inclusionary zoning policy and/or density bonus provisions as a means of encouraging new affordable rental and/or ownership housing stock as part of new residential or mixed use projects. Implementation of these measures will involve further work to determine appropriate requirements regarding the provision of affordable housing units or cash-in-lieu contributions to the City’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund;
- Exploring requirements for the replacement of existing rental units, or requiring a cash-in-lieu contribution to the City’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund, where the redevelopment of existing rental accommodations is being proposed;
- Developing a set of policies to protect the existing affordable market rental housing stock from either demolition or conversion to strata title;
- Reviewing the current secondary suite policy in order to encourage the development of new suites in appropriate areas;
- Considering a Standards of Maintenance bylaw to provide the City with the ability to enforce minimum maintenance standards on the landlords of rental housing;
- Streamlining the regulatory and approval process for developments which include affordable housing units;
- Developing partnerships with community groups, not-for-profit housing organizations, for-profit developers, and other levels of government to encourage the development of a range of affordable housing;
- Considering new permissions for future small-house/small-lot developments, cluster housing and detached secondary dwelling units (such as laneway housing and garden suites) through amendments to the Zoning Bylaw;
- Encouraging adaptable housing in multi-unit buildings to help people remain at home as their mobility changes with age, illness or injury;
- Identifying and pre-zoning of appropriate sites for supportive housing and treatment facilities for persons with mental illness and addictions;
- Ensuring that affordable housing is allocated throughout the community, with all neighbourhoods considered as being appropriate for such housing;
- Tracking, on a regular basis, key affordability indicators to monitor the achievements of the City’s Affordable Housing Strategy.
- Pre-zoning residential areas where it is considered to be in the community interest to do so in order to promote affordability or achieve other public benefits;
- Encouraging the location of low income, affordable and seniors’ housing units near transit stations and transit corridors to support walking and the needs of transit-dependent individuals; and,
- Utilizing density bonus provisions in certain areas to allow owners to develop at a higher density in return for the provision of community amenities, where lands are rezoned to permit higher density forms of residential development; potential amenities could include affordable housing units or contributions to the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund.
For more information on the Affordable Housing, email us or call the Planning Division at 604.469.4540.