Burnaby Launches New Zoning Plan to Boost Housing Options

Burnaby, led by Mayor M. Hurley, is updating its old zoning rules from 1965 to help build more types of homes in areas traditionally meant for single or two-family houses. This big decision was made at the Planning and Development Committee meeting on April 8, 2024.

More Homes in Less Space

The city’s new plan creates a zone called the R1 Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing District (R1 SSMUH). Properties in this zone can have up to six homes on one lot, depending on how big the lot is and how close it is to regular bus services. This change is designed to help more people find homes in Burnaby by allowing more homes to be built in the same amount of space.

Following New Rules

These changes are in response to a new law called Bill 44-2023, which requires cities to make it easier to build small multi-home units. This is part of a bigger effort by the province to get more homes built faster because more people need places to live.

Making Building Easier

Burnaby is taking away some old rules that made building homes complicated, like strict limits on building size and how much of a lot can be covered by a building. Instead, they’ll use simpler rules based on how tall buildings can be and how far they need to be from the property line. This means builders can be more creative and build different types of homes.

Listening to the Community

Before making these changes, the city asked residents what they thought about the idea, and many people supported it. The new rules also focus on keeping Burnaby green and livable, by encouraging energy-saving features like solar panels and making sure homes have enough outdoor space.

Budget and Planning Ahead

Updating these zoning rules might bring some financial challenges, but also opportunities. Burnaby is preparing by adjusting its Development Funding Program, which will help manage the costs of these new developments over the next 25 years.

What’s Next

These changes are just the beginning. Burnaby is planning to update more of its rules to keep up with new laws and the city’s overall plans. This should help make the city a better place to live for everyone.

These new zoning rules will start on July 1, 2024, and they’re expected to make a big difference in how Burnaby grows, making it easier for more people to find good homes.

101.1           Permitted Uses

Principal UseUse-Specific Regulations
Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing
Rowhouse Dwellings101.5.2
Boarding, Lodging, or Rooming House101.5.3
Group Home
Supportive Housing (Category A)101.5.4
Accessory UseUse-Specific Regulations
Boarding Use (up to 2 boarders)
Home Occupations6.8, 6.8A
Urban Agriculture6.30
Accessory Buildings, Structures, and Uses101.5.5, 6.6

101.3 Subdivision Regulations

Dwelling Type
Rowhouse .1Small-Scale Multi-Unit
Minimum Lot Width .2
Interior Lot5 m, except 6.2 m for end unit lots10 m
Corner Lot – Street8 m10 m
Corner Lot – Lane6.2 m10 m
Lot Area .3
Minimum Lot Area281 m2
Maximum Lot Area280 m2

101.4           Development Regulations

Dwelling Type
RowhouseSmall-Scale Multi-Unit
Permitted Dwelling Units (including secondary suites)  1 to 3 Units  1 to 3 Units  4 Units5 to 6 Units Within Frequent Transit Network Area
Minimum Lot Area281 m2281 m2
Maximum Lot Area .1280 m2
Maximum Lot Coverage
All Buildings55%40%45%50%
Impervious Surfaces70%
Maximum Height
Principal Building12.0 m | 4 storeys
Accessory Buildings4.0 m | 1 storey
Minimum Lot Line Setbacks for All Buildings .2 .3
Street Yard3.0 m
Rear Yard without Lane3.0 m, except 1.2 m for accessory buildings
Rear or Side Yard with Lane1.2 m
Interior Side Yard0.0 m, except 1.2 m for end unit lots  1.2 m  1.2 m  1.2 m
Minimum Separation of Buildings on the Same Lot .4 .5
Between Front Principals2.4 m2.4 m2.4 m
Between Rear Principals2.4 m2.4 m2.4 m
Between Front & Rear Principals6.0 m
Between All Other Buildings2.4 m

The full council report can be viewed here: https://pub-burnaby.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=75285

The proposed R1 SSMUH zoning guidelines can be viewed here: https://pub-burnaby.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=75286

Frequent Transit Network Map

Gary Gao, licensed Realtor® with Grand Central Realty, a licensed real estate brokerage in BC. Gary is also the principal of CitiDesign Build Inc., which is not affiliated with Grand Central Realty. CitiDesign and Gary are licensed builders in BC. Contact Gary.
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