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Granny flats, coach houses on the way for Richmond neighbourhoods

Granny flats and coach houses look set to be allowed in several parts of Richmond at least on a case-to-case basis.

Granny flats and coach houses look set to be allowed in several parts of Richmond at least on a case-to-case basis.

In an effort to alleviate affordable housing issues for low-income families and elderly relatives, the City of Richmond is proposing to allow granny flats and coach houses to be built in the Burkeville and Edgemere communities.

During the spring and summer, the city looked into a total of three communities Burkeville on Sea Island, Edgemere/Shellmont on Steveston Highway at No. 4 Road and Richmond Gardens at Granville Avenue and No. 2 Road hosting open houses and conducting surveys into the possibility of allowing the smaller buildings.

Most people that got involved from Burkeville and Edgemere were in favour of introducing the concept, mainly due to the fact they already have older, large lots with small houses and boasts back lanes, allowing for plenty of scope for development.

But the large majority of folks in Richmond Gardens, where there is slightly less breathing space around the houses and have no back lanes, were against the proposal.

After collecting and analyzing the data, city staff were due to propose at Tuesdays city council planning meeting that granny flats and coach houses be allowed in Burkeville and Edgemere when the property is backed by a lane.

Any planning permission, however, will still be granted on a site-by-site basis through individual rezoning applications.

For Richmond Gardens, there will be no flats or coach houses considered because of the absence of back lanes.

Should city council approve the staff recommendations, the proposals will be inserted into the upcoming 2041 Official Community Plan update.

Once the OCP update is approved, city staff recommends that no other areas in Richmond be considered for granny flats and coach houses.

The update is expected to be completed by mid-2012.

Burkeville had the highest support for the housing options, with 91 per cent in favour of coach houses and 80 per cent saying yes to granny flats.

However, city staff noted that any granny flat or coach house addition to the area would be on a condition that the existing house doesnt already have a secondary suite.

In the Edgemere district, support for the additional housing dipped slightly to 61 per cent in favour of coach houses and 54 per cent for granny flats.

According to the staff report, 54 per cent of Richmond Gardens residents, where there are no back lanes, said they didnt want to see granny flats in their neighbourhood.

During the open houses and in the surveys, many Richmond Gardens residents suggested that a widespread proliferation of illegal suites in mega homes in the area was taking place.

The residents were informed that city staff are looking into the matter.