Missing Middle Housing Initiative is missing in Victoria since vote

Missing Middle Housing Initiative is missing in Victoria since vote

Julian West rides up Belton Street in Vic West to his housing project that’s two years in the planning. He’s just waiting for the final approval.

“It’s going to look like a big house. So it’s going to have a lot of the same features that you see on a single detached house,” West said.

When finished, it’ll transform this single-family house into a six-plex with four three-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units.

West’s project was approved before Missing Middle was adopted.

But the layout and size are exactly the kind of project many thought Missing Middle would create.

Since the policy came into effect in January, the city hasn’t received a single application.

“What it boils down to is they tried to cram too much into one policy. The checklist of things you need to include in any kind of proposal in the Missing Middle Housing Initiative is just too much stuff for one project,” West said.

Take parking, for example.

West’s proposal doesn’t have parking on-site. Therefore it wouldn’t meet the missing middle requirements.

Victoria’s mayor, Marianne Alto, said council recognizes the process as too cumbersome.

“We’ve made a very complicated policy with the best of intentions. And still good goals, those goals remain,” she said.

“What I’m expecting in September is a report back from staff which will say, remember here’s why we did this. Also, here’s how it is working, here’s the pros and cons.”

And parking is just one of many requirements missing middle applicants must complete.

The checklist has everything from size requirements to amenities, things you might expect from a large-scale development.

One developer, Luke Mari from Aryze Developments, said it’s past time to change.

“I really think there is a narrative change that has to happen. That net new housing in neighbourhoods is a good thing. And that townhouses, house-plexes, and rowhouses and things like that, that’s just the new single-family home. That’s the new iteration of a neighbourhood.”

A new report on simplifying the Missing Middle policy is set to come before Victoria council in September.

After that, we’ll see if someone will finally apply to build the city’s first missing middle home.

WATCH: Developers excited about new opportunities following Missing Middle Housing vote

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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