Missing Middle Housing Initiative


The Missing Middle Housing Initiative proposes to allow houseplexes and corner townhouses in addition to single-family homes in Traditional Residential areas of the city.

Report for Council

Council considered the draft bylaws associated with the initiative at the July 14 daytime Council Meeting where they received introductory readings. At the July 14 evening Council Meeting, an amendment was made to the proposed Schedule P of the Zoning Regulation Bylaw and the August 4 public hearing date was confirmed.

You can read the July 14 daytime Council Meeting draft bylaws and staff report, and watch the archived webcast here.


UPDATE & NEXT STEPS

The Missing Middle Housing Initiative Public Hearing concluded on Thursday, September 8 with Council voting to refer this to a Committee of a Whole Meeting in the last quarter of 2022 to consider in the context of new provincial legislation with respect to increasing housing supply that has been signalled by the Province, and other considerations to the new Council.

Watch the webcast of the September 8 meeting and previous meetings that took place on, September 2, September 1 and August 4.


Information Materials
The fact sheet and information boards below summarize what you need to know about the proposed Missing Middle Housing Initiative.

Pre-Public Hearing Information Sessions
Thank you to everyone who was able to join us online or in person to learn more and ask questions about the City's Middle Missing Housing Initiative at an Information Session on July 12. The virtual session recording is available below.


About the Missing Middle Housing Initiative
The Missing Middle Housing Initiative proposes to allow houseplexes and corner townhouses in addition to single-family homes in Traditional Residential areas of the city.

It will also help to conserve homes with heritage merit by allowing other homes to be built on the same lot as the heritage registered building.

Victoria’s Official Community Plan already envisions Missing Middle housing forms throughout the city. However, because much of the city is still only zoned for single-family homes, building Missing Middle housing requires a rezoning, which can be a long and complex process.

This helps explain why Victoria sees many older homes replaced by new, more expensive single-family homes far more often than Missing Middle housing is created.

Missing Middle housing will:

  • Create more homes and housing choice.
  • Expedite construction. Missing Middle homes that meet established design guidelines can proceed to construction, without the need for a rezoning, in the same way single-family homes do today.
  • Make it easier for people, especially young families and seniors, to stay in the city and live closer to where they work and shop, supporting the local economy and sustainability.

These are some of the reasons we are considering zoning changes and Official Community Plan amendments that would allow Missing Middle housing throughout Victoria’s Traditional Residential areas.

Opening the door to more Missing Middle housing is one important action in the City’s suite of Housing Strategy initiatives to tackle the current housing crisis.

Census data shows Victoria continues to lose young families as their housing needs evolve. And it’s not just young families who benefit. There are many others looking for housing options because single family homes are expensive – just over a million dollars on average in Victoria – or because they might want access to more outdoor space, sometimes lacking in apartments and condos.

Learn more in the FAQ section. Read about Victoria's Housing Strategy. Scroll down to see How We Got Here.


Quick Facts

Missing Middle housing currently accounts for just five per cent of new home construction, with apartments, condos and detached houses making up the other 95 per cent.

  • Over the past 30 years, Victoria has experienced a net loss of school-aged children and adults aged 30-50 – the age when many adults are raising families.
  • Most housing in Victoria (68 per cent) is apartment style (rental or condo).
  • In Canada, 37 per cent of households have three or more people. In the City of Victoria, it is only 16 per cent.
  • The number of seniors in our community is expected to double over the next 20 years. More housing options are needed to allow seniors to age in place within their community.


Council Direction
At the June 9, 2022 meeting, Council passed a motion to:

  • Prepare amendments to the Zoning Regulation Bylaw, Land Use Procedures Bylaw, Affordable Housing Standards Bylaw, and Official Community Plan Bylaw that would permit missing middle housing forms through a delegated development permit process, as described in the May 5, 2022 Committee of the Whole report.
  • Provide advance public notice and host a public Information Session on July 12 to help interested community members understand what these bylaw and policy changes could mean for Victoria.
  • Introduce the bylaws on July 14, 2022 and, if it receives the first two readings, schedule a public hearing on August 4, 2022.
  • Approval of a new citywide Missing Middle Housing Policy (guiding future rezoning applications), along with policy updates to neighbourhood plans and the Tenant Assistance Policy would be considered at the same time as the above mentioned bylaw changes.
  • If approved, monitor and report back within two years (or sooner) on the outcomes of zoning changes, and recommended improvements.


Sign Up for Project Updates
If you haven't already, please sign up for project updates (scroll down to the bottom right).


How We Got Here

The proposed Missing Middle Housing initiative is based on input from the public received through an extensive 18-month community engagement process. It also builds on earlier engagement for other City initiatives including:

  • Victoria’s Housing Strategy
  • Council’s Strategic Plan
  • Neighbourhood Planning
  • Official Community Plan

Phase 1 Engagement
Early engagement took place between March 2020 and May 2021. Through community meetings, surveys and workshops the City asked about priorities, preferences, barriers and opportunities relating to Missing Middle housing. Thank you to all those who participated.

Some highlights of what we heard included a ranking of objectives for Missing Middle housing and a prioritized list of site characteristics such as access to outdoor space and indoor storage space. We also listened to feedback on preferred design, form and character.

Here is the complete engagement summary from the early engagement and the Missing Middle Housing Initiative Update Council Report from July 2021.

Phase 2 Engagement

Community members provided feedback on balancing trade-offs associate with emerging concepts for Missing Middle housing.

Highlights of what we heard included strong support for a balanced approach for housing, trees and parking on each lot, permitting three storeys with a requirement for accessibility and a delegated approval process when the housing is consistent with established design guidelines.

Community input, combined with additional technical analysis, guided the evolution and greater detailing of how zoning and land use policy could change to make it easier to build Missing Middle homes in Victoria.

The report and attachments are available in the Documents sidebar of this page (scroll down and see the right side). The report was originally published as part of the Agenda for the May 5, 2022 Committee of the Whole Meeting (item F.3).




The Missing Middle Housing Initiative proposes to allow houseplexes and corner townhouses in addition to single-family homes in Traditional Residential areas of the city.

Report for Council

Council considered the draft bylaws associated with the initiative at the July 14 daytime Council Meeting where they received introductory readings. At the July 14 evening Council Meeting, an amendment was made to the proposed Schedule P of the Zoning Regulation Bylaw and the August 4 public hearing date was confirmed.

You can read the July 14 daytime Council Meeting draft bylaws and staff report, and watch the archived webcast here.


UPDATE & NEXT STEPS

The Missing Middle Housing Initiative Public Hearing concluded on Thursday, September 8 with Council voting to refer this to a Committee of a Whole Meeting in the last quarter of 2022 to consider in the context of new provincial legislation with respect to increasing housing supply that has been signalled by the Province, and other considerations to the new Council.

Watch the webcast of the September 8 meeting and previous meetings that took place on, September 2, September 1 and August 4.


Information Materials
The fact sheet and information boards below summarize what you need to know about the proposed Missing Middle Housing Initiative.

Pre-Public Hearing Information Sessions
Thank you to everyone who was able to join us online or in person to learn more and ask questions about the City's Middle Missing Housing Initiative at an Information Session on July 12. The virtual session recording is available below.


About the Missing Middle Housing Initiative
The Missing Middle Housing Initiative proposes to allow houseplexes and corner townhouses in addition to single-family homes in Traditional Residential areas of the city.

It will also help to conserve homes with heritage merit by allowing other homes to be built on the same lot as the heritage registered building.

Victoria’s Official Community Plan already envisions Missing Middle housing forms throughout the city. However, because much of the city is still only zoned for single-family homes, building Missing Middle housing requires a rezoning, which can be a long and complex process.

This helps explain why Victoria sees many older homes replaced by new, more expensive single-family homes far more often than Missing Middle housing is created.

Missing Middle housing will:

  • Create more homes and housing choice.
  • Expedite construction. Missing Middle homes that meet established design guidelines can proceed to construction, without the need for a rezoning, in the same way single-family homes do today.
  • Make it easier for people, especially young families and seniors, to stay in the city and live closer to where they work and shop, supporting the local economy and sustainability.

These are some of the reasons we are considering zoning changes and Official Community Plan amendments that would allow Missing Middle housing throughout Victoria’s Traditional Residential areas.

Opening the door to more Missing Middle housing is one important action in the City’s suite of Housing Strategy initiatives to tackle the current housing crisis.

Census data shows Victoria continues to lose young families as their housing needs evolve. And it’s not just young families who benefit. There are many others looking for housing options because single family homes are expensive – just over a million dollars on average in Victoria – or because they might want access to more outdoor space, sometimes lacking in apartments and condos.

Learn more in the FAQ section. Read about Victoria's Housing Strategy. Scroll down to see How We Got Here.


Quick Facts

Missing Middle housing currently accounts for just five per cent of new home construction, with apartments, condos and detached houses making up the other 95 per cent.

  • Over the past 30 years, Victoria has experienced a net loss of school-aged children and adults aged 30-50 – the age when many adults are raising families.
  • Most housing in Victoria (68 per cent) is apartment style (rental or condo).
  • In Canada, 37 per cent of households have three or more people. In the City of Victoria, it is only 16 per cent.
  • The number of seniors in our community is expected to double over the next 20 years. More housing options are needed to allow seniors to age in place within their community.


Council Direction
At the June 9, 2022 meeting, Council passed a motion to:

  • Prepare amendments to the Zoning Regulation Bylaw, Land Use Procedures Bylaw, Affordable Housing Standards Bylaw, and Official Community Plan Bylaw that would permit missing middle housing forms through a delegated development permit process, as described in the May 5, 2022 Committee of the Whole report.
  • Provide advance public notice and host a public Information Session on July 12 to help interested community members understand what these bylaw and policy changes could mean for Victoria.
  • Introduce the bylaws on July 14, 2022 and, if it receives the first two readings, schedule a public hearing on August 4, 2022.
  • Approval of a new citywide Missing Middle Housing Policy (guiding future rezoning applications), along with policy updates to neighbourhood plans and the Tenant Assistance Policy would be considered at the same time as the above mentioned bylaw changes.
  • If approved, monitor and report back within two years (or sooner) on the outcomes of zoning changes, and recommended improvements.


Sign Up for Project Updates
If you haven't already, please sign up for project updates (scroll down to the bottom right).


How We Got Here

The proposed Missing Middle Housing initiative is based on input from the public received through an extensive 18-month community engagement process. It also builds on earlier engagement for other City initiatives including:

  • Victoria’s Housing Strategy
  • Council’s Strategic Plan
  • Neighbourhood Planning
  • Official Community Plan

Phase 1 Engagement
Early engagement took place between March 2020 and May 2021. Through community meetings, surveys and workshops the City asked about priorities, preferences, barriers and opportunities relating to Missing Middle housing. Thank you to all those who participated.

Some highlights of what we heard included a ranking of objectives for Missing Middle housing and a prioritized list of site characteristics such as access to outdoor space and indoor storage space. We also listened to feedback on preferred design, form and character.

Here is the complete engagement summary from the early engagement and the Missing Middle Housing Initiative Update Council Report from July 2021.

Phase 2 Engagement

Community members provided feedback on balancing trade-offs associate with emerging concepts for Missing Middle housing.

Highlights of what we heard included strong support for a balanced approach for housing, trees and parking on each lot, permitting three storeys with a requirement for accessibility and a delegated approval process when the housing is consistent with established design guidelines.

Community input, combined with additional technical analysis, guided the evolution and greater detailing of how zoning and land use policy could change to make it easier to build Missing Middle homes in Victoria.

The report and attachments are available in the Documents sidebar of this page (scroll down and see the right side). The report was originally published as part of the Agenda for the May 5, 2022 Committee of the Whole Meeting (item F.3).



CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

If you have any questions, please include them here. City staff will answer your questions.

  • Why were the city of Victoria let me register for this by disallowing my postal code six times in a row told me my postal code wasn't on the list?

    Spyderwebb asked 12 months ago

    Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear you had difficulty with registration. The postal code field can be a bit slow to autofill, as it’s searching the entire Canadian postal code database. If you wish to try again, please wait a couple seconds until a box with your postal code pops up and click on it. Once this is done, you should be able to register. Please email engage@victoria.ca if you need further assistance.

  • Can the city impose a “repair or demolish” on properties which fall below habitable standards or which present dangers to passers-by?

    Joseph48 asked about 1 year ago

    If you suspect a building poses immediate safety risks, you can report the concern to Bylaw Services through the online form, or by phone or email.

    Also, the City recently passed a Rental Property Standard of Maintenance Bylaw, which aligns with the Province’s Residential Tenancy Act, and sets out minimum standards for rental housing to ensure the quality, safety, and livability of rental units. The bylaw applies to all residential rental properties including rental apartments, rented condo units, secondary suites, garden suites, and unauthorized suites.

  • I don't want to be surrounded by high density housing. How will home owners be protected from this idiocy?

    John196101 asked about 1 year ago

    Conversations with the community and stakeholders have informed options for Missing Middle housing that are sensitive to the scale of other housing in neighbourhoods. Considerations factored into this include building orientation, location on the let, allowable size, scale, and design features that minimize impacts in the area. Please take the survey and share your feedback on how these considerations could be improved.

  • Hello, which level of government is responsible for bylaws and zoning that impact the addition of missing middle housing?

    Ruby S asked about 1 year ago

    In British Columbia, the Local Government Act gives municipalities the power regulate land use through zoning bylaws (see Division 5). The Act also allows municipal governments to establish Development Permit areas (see Division 7) that require certain forms of development, such as missing middle housing, to demonstrate compliance with a set of design guidelines before they can seek a building permit. Here are the proposed Missing Middle Design Guidelines that would compliment proposed approaches to zoning for missing middle housing forms in Victoria.

  • I attended the recent online event and heard about evolving design guidelines but I’d like to know what specific zoning measures are contemplated for 3 zoning criteria; floor area (maximum), site coverage (maximum) and combined side yard setbacks (minimum)?

    Steve99 asked about 1 year ago

    We haven't reached that level of detail yet, as your feedback on the concepts for Missing Middle Housing will help inform the appropriate metrics (like site coverage maximum and related metric of minimum open site space) that could facilitate missing middle housing forms while maximizing usable outdoor space and tree planting space. To ensure large canopy trees continue to grow as a ubiquitous feature of Victoria’s urban forest, missing middle zoning could also include a requirement that there are no below-ground structures underneath at least the portion of the open site space that corresponds to the root zone that supports a large canopy tree (35 square meters).

    If you've already taken the survey, but want to provide more detailed feedback to inform these considerations, feel free to email us at engage@victoria.ca. We will be reporting back to Council early in the new year on what we've heard from this phase of engagement and seeking Council's direction regarding the drafting of zoning bylaws for their consideration. There will be opportunity for public review and comment of the detailed draft zoning bylaws if Council advances to the stage of a public hearing.

  • Why are we allowing free exclusive street parking in some residential areas? I live in a cond where I pay $25 a month for parking yet my house owning neighbours pay nothing. I pay directly to my condo association for upkeep of our parking area and pay through my taxes for the upkeep of my neighbours street parking. Inequitable and unfair! Perhaps residential parking should come with an extra cost. $25 a month seems reasonable.

    Paul asked about 1 year ago

    Thanks for your feedback. At a high level, our recently approved Sustainable Mobility Strategy, GoVictoria, outlines the values, priorities, and policies that will shape the future of how we will manage the right-of-way, including on street parking (see page 44-45). This Strategy will help to guide important upcoming work to modernize our parking regulations and ensuring that the approach to managing and valuing on-street parking is proportional to demand for mobility needs (e.g. different permitting programs in high demand locations). Stay tuned for more on this!

  • Is the elimination of single family/R1 zoning on the table? It's had success in other cities and I'd love to see it tried here.

    SNChalmers asked about 2 years ago

    Missing Middle zoning would be additive, rather than eliminating options. The proposed approach to zoning for Missing Middle housing, on which we're seeking feedback during this phase of engagement, would change zoning for properties that currently have the basic R1-B, R1-A, R1-G, and R-2 zoning. These zones account for the majority of land in the City's Traditional Residential areas. The existing permissions in these zones, including those that allow someone to construct a single family dwelling, would be carried forward into the new zoning, however permissions would be added that allow missing middle housing as well.

  • What was the process to increase the original OCP assignment of 10% of city growth in traditional residential area's to 30%? Has the OCP been ammended to this new level of density? What was the community consultation on this change and how does it align with IAP2 guidlines?

    RMJ46 asked about 1 year ago

    Victoria's Official Community Plan (OCP) was adopted by Council in 2012 after two and a half years of public consultation with more than 6,000 people. The OCP's growth concept (pg 17) envisions 50% of new housing in the Urban Core (i.e. downtown), 40% in and near Town Centres and Large Urban Villages (including Traditional Residential areas within close walking distance), and 10% in the Remainder of the City.

    The colours look similar, but it's important to note the OCP's growth concept (pg 17) is different from the Map 2 - Urban Place Designations (pg 37). The latter is where Traditional Residential areas are defined, and the OCP provides general guidelines for built form, uses, and densities therein. Note: Some of the Traditional Residential areas may be within the growth concept's "close walking distance" of Town Centres and Large Urban Villages.

    The Missing Middle Housing Initiative is largely implementing the OCP's guidance for Traditional Residential areas that has broadly supported a variety of ground oriented housing forms since adoption. However, see the OCP Amendments summary sheet for some modifications that are being considered (seeking feedback now!) for their potential to facilitate strategic accessibility and heritage conservation outcomes. 

  • Will the engagement team be meeting with CALUCs from the various neighbourhoods?

    Chris Petter asked about 1 year ago

    All Community Association Land Use Committees were invited to attend one of three Ask a Planner online sessions (see recordings posted at the top right of this page) as well as participate in the survey. In addition, Community Association Land Use Committees are invited to submit written feedback directly to the City. Feedback received from all members of the public and organizations will be provided to Council for their consideration when staff report back to Council on the Missing Middle Housing initiative.

  • Will there be any options for people with suites to turn them into duplexes? For example, I live in a basement suite in a house right now. Will this new program include people who want to sell their basement suite?

    emilycb asked about 1 year ago

    This may already be possible for you through the updated Schedule G - House Conversion Regulations,  which is a use permitted by most basic detached dwelling zones (e.g. R1-B, R1-G, R1-A). If a house meets the requirements in the House Conversion regulations to permit two or more strata units, an existing secondary suite could potentially be converted into a strata unit. If the house and potential conversion does not meet Schedule G, then a strata conversion of an existing suite may not be possible under the existing zoning. 

    For questions about a specific project, you can contact our Zoning team at zoning@victoria.ca or 250-361-0316. 

Page last updated: 09 Sep 2022, 07:22 AM