Council approves higher densities on small lots outside the Infill Zone

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
June 13th, 2012

Council has adopted a zoning amendment bylaw to give small lots outside the Infill Zone the same parcel coverage and floor area ratios as small lots within the Infill Zone. “Small lots” are defined as less than 550 square metres or 5920 square feet.

No residents chose to speak at the public hearing held on Monday evening prior to third reading and adoption of Bylaw No. 2535, and council passed it unanimously without comment.


In particular, the R1 Single Detached Residential zone—which is not in the Infill Zone—has been amended so that small lots will now have a “floor area ratio” that does not exceed 0.6, will have a “maximum building parcel coverage” of 40 per cent, and a “maximum surface parcel coverage” of 50 per cent.


Previously there was no “small lot” distinction outside the Infill Zone and all lots were subject to the limits that are still in place for parcels greater than 550 square metres. These lots must have a floor area ratio below 0.5, a maximum building coverage of 35 per cent, and a maximum surface coverage of 40 per cent.


The “floor area ratio” (FAR) is the “net floor area” on all levels of all structures on a lot divided by the area of the lot.  A FAR of 0.5, therefore, means the sum of the buildings’ net floor area can be no more than half of the lot’s size.


The “net floor area” is measured from the interior faces of the exterior walls, but does not include “basement areas used exclusively for storage or service to the building, attics, garages, carports, breezeways, unenclosed porches, balconies and sundecks, exit stairways, corridors, and terraces.”


Building parcel coverage is the footprint of “all primary and auxiliary buildings” measured to the outside of the foundations, and expressed as a percentage relative to the total parcel area.


Surface parcel coverage is the same as building parcel coverage, but also includes the footprint of parking areas, driveways, and walkways, except those with “permeable or semi-permeable surfaces.”


The complete and recently consolidated zoning bylaw is available for download at the city website and directly as a pdf.

Categories: GeneralIssuesPolitics

Other News Stories