The District of Squamish is holding a public hearing to amend its zoning bylaw to allow affordable housing in any residential zoning in the community. According to the District, for housing to be considered affordable, it should cost no more than 30% of gross household income. For someone earning $70, 000, per year, housing costs should not exceed $1,750 per month.
The public hearing will be held on October 3 at 6 p.m. in the council chamber or can be taken part in electronically.
Squamish needs 9,600 new housing units by 2036 and 6,840 of those units must be built by 2031, according to a housing needs report by the District. As many as 42 per cent of those units will need to be affordable housing. One way to boost supply, District says, is to remove density limitations on affordable housing projects so they can be established across the community.
Proposed changes to the bylaw
The District says the proposed zoning amendments to its Zoning Bylaw will remove barriers and facilitate affordable housing in any zone where residential is a principal use.
Affordable housing projects will be allowed in any zone where residential is a principal use.
Allow the height of a principal building where all units are affordable housing to increase to 23 meters or six stories.
Exempt affordable housing buildings from lot coverage.
Apply a parking requirement of one space per dwelling unit for affordable housing units.
District also plans to amend bylaw to exempt gross floor area use for affordable housing. Separately, an amendment will be included to apply a maximum building height of 26.5 meters or 8 storeys, whichever is less, in any zone that may permit a taller building height.
District says it’s necessary to do a blanket zoning change because rezoning can be a lengthy process and it wants to reduce the time it takes for the completion of affordable housing projects such as The Spirit Creek affordable rental project in Dentville. As many as 22 per cent of people in a recent local survey say they are not able to consistently pay their mortgage. The findings are part of the 2023 Squamish Vital Signs report.