In an effort to quickly expand the city’s housing supply, Victoria is considering streamlining its application process for certain affordable and supportive projects.
The changes would give housing projects owned and operated by non-profit or government organizations the maximum density allowed for the property in which the development was proposed – as defined in the Official Community Plan.
To speed up the application deadline, city staff are proposing that issuance of development permits for eligible projects be delegated to the Director of Sustainable Planning instead of requiring a vote by council, as long as the guidelines city-approved designs are met and always inspected by the panel design board.
The process changes, outlined in a report to the full committee on Thursday (January 13), will require changes to land use procedures and zoning regulations. The proposal received a boost in 2020 when council asked staff to support the rapid rollout of affordable and supportive housing with government partners and nonprofit housing providers.
Victoria’s housing crisis sees almost half of its 27,720 renter households spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing alone, and around 1,100 people are on the provincial waiting list for an affordable rental in the city. , says the report.
During consultations, housing partners told the city that the current rezoning and development permit process “adds risk to a project, increases costs and makes it difficult for nonprofits to deliver homes.” to the most vulnerable people in our community.”
Switching to the recommended strategy would cut the application process by three to nine months, according to city staff.
The report also says the proposed changes would only apply to a small number of nonprofit housing projects, noting that there were only 10 applications submitted to the city in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“While the number of developments expected to benefit from these process changes is not significant, the benefits to Victoria residents would be significant given the acute need for new affordable rental housing,” the report states.
He adds that senior government funding sources often require projects to already have municipal approval as a condition of application, so the new process would help providers access grants to help provide deeper accessibility.
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affordable housingCity of Victoria