Some local developers are excited about the option to build more types of housing in the City of Victoria after the Missing Middle Housing Initiative passed.
The final vote got a thumbs up from Victoria’s former mayor and now the special advisor on housing, Lisa Helps, who spearheaded the initiative in her time on council.
“I think it’s fantastic. There’s a building consensus in Victoria about the need for more housing for people in the city,” Helps said.
The debate had raged on for months spanning two councils, and even after the votes were cast, not everyone was happy with the process including Coun. Stephen Hammond.
“I told the mayor we were bamboozled. For me, the trust is lost, and I didn’t think that was going to happen in the short space of three months on council,” Hammond said Thursday night after the vote.
The Missing Middle Housing Initiative is designed to encourage medium-density options, such as house plexes, in single-family neighbourhoods.
Developer Luke Mari with Aryze Development says the policy will slowly open up more opportunities and housing.
“I think what we’ll see is more homeowner developers, and also builders who currently are not developers getting into this new line of business,” Mari said.
That’s the type of project Julian West with Urban Thrive focuses on.
“It is designed for small-scale developers like myself to be able to more easily build housing for our city,” West said.
Urban Thrive, focuses on car-free, sustainable projects and his latest is at the corner of Richmond and Allenby in Saanich a car-free nine-townhouse development.
West says change will happen, but likely take time in Victoria.
“Over time we’ll start to see missing middle projects like townhouses and houseplexes pop up in neighbourhoods. That was the whole goal of this policy, and that will happen over time,” West said.
Victoria’s current mayor, Marianne Alto, said she’s happy it’s finally policy, and the city can move forward.
“It’s opening another door, and giving us more tools. And for sure we need every tool we can access in order to create more supply. That’s across the affordability spectrum. So yes, it’s a relief, and also super exciting,” Alto said.
Now city staff can approve permits for projects that comply with guidelines without going to council.