Port Moody’s development quotas for family friendly units not keeping up with housing targets

photo supplied

The City of Port Moody is not building enough family friendly units to keep up with its 10-year housing targets, staff report.

Council is now considering increasing the required number of two- and three-bedroom units in development projects, with staff recommending further study.

Coun. Haven Lurbiecki said council will be reviewing the largest developments in the city’s history during its tenure, and it needs stronger policies in place beforehand.


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“Very clearly, our policy is not in alignment with our action plan,” Lurbiecki said. “We have huge, huge opportunities in these developments to meet our housing needs.

“How we don’t move goal posts is that we have very clear and strong policies from the get-go about what we’re looking for.”

Port Moody’s Housing Action Plan was endorsed by the former council in the summer of 2022 to address the city’s housing deficit, with a target of building 4,815 units by 2031.

Earlier in 2022, the council endorsed its Family Friendly Unit Policy, putting quotas on the number of two- and three-bedroom units.

Quotas set in the city’s Family Friendly Unit Policy. image supplied
Targets set in the city’s Housing Action Plan. image supplied

A feasibility study was conducted through an analysis of strata and market rental projects to ensure the real-estate market council could handle the policy.

Staff are now recommending another “quite costly” study.

One problem, according to staff, is the current policy is limited to residential projects with greater than 20 units, and not addressing the missing middle forms of housing.

More low-density development types like townhouse, triplex, and quadplexes, would assist the city housing goals, staff said.

Coun. Callan Morrison, however, said the city should not be relying on low-density development alone as they cannot as easily provide affordability.

“We’re not providing that clear guidance to our development community about needing to provide those housing units,” Morrison said.

The city’s work plans over the next two years include developing a new missing middle policy, which include zoning amendments, design guidelines, and locations of where larger units can be built.

Staff said other opportunities exist through the province’s Homes for People action plan (anticipated to pass before the end of 2023), and funding through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Housing Accelerator Fund.

The big unknowns for the city’s housing policies, according to Coun. Diana Dilworth, are the details around housing targets placed on the city by the province.

Staff said they don’t have any information yet on what the targets might entail, but four meetings have been set up for the summer, and council will receive more information in September.

Other housing updates reported to council included a policy on minimum unit sizes for multi-family buildings, and a report on the status of rental protection policies.

Currently, the family friendly policy just makes recommendations around minimum unit sizes based on guidelines published by BC Housing, which staff said is a preliminary step to establishing requirements.

A more robust policy – which has been discussed during recent development discussions – is listed as a low priority in the housing action plan, scheduled for completion in 2028.

Council voted for staff to prioritize the item as part of next year’s work plan.

The city is also examining the status of its rental market, through the rate of replacement, and rental only zoning policies and bylaws recommended through the housing action plan.

Staff are currently working with consultants on a Secured Market Rental Housing Policy, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

The policy aims to encourage development of purpose-built rental apartments and rental renewals, analyze and monitor incentives, and seek provincial and federal funding for construction of low-end market rentals.

The city is also exploring rental only zoning, similar to those used by the cities of New Westminster and Richmond in recent years.

The policy suggests offering bonus density and height to encourage the creation of up to rental apartments near transit.

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