City council is expected to approve initiative that will allow homeowners to build a second, small home on their lot

(Source: The Globe and Mail)

Donna Woodman is one of the many people in Vancouver anxiously waiting for council to approve Wednesday the city’s latest effort to cope with high house prices and lack of space: the laneway house.

Like others who have expressed an interest in this new housing form – converting the garage to a home – Mrs. Woodman was considering the option at her son’s east Vancouver residence because it would solve a lot of problems for the family.

Then the economic crash added another compelling reason. In the past year, the 77-year-old retired dietitian lost a quarter of the value of her investments, where she’d put all of the profits from the sale of her White Rock condo. Now, getting an independent place to live in Vancouver for only $150,000-$200,000, where the listings for one-bedroom apartments in the cheapest parts of town start at $202,000, is becoming her only real option.

“It’s a housing type that suits the economic times,” said Brent Toderian, Vancouver’s head of planning. He heard more than one story like Mrs. Woodman’s last week when more than 60 people appeared at city hall to speak for and against the plan to allow laneway houses in the city’s two major single-family zones.

Read Frances Bula’s full article “The laneway house: A novel solution to Vancouver’s real-estate crunch” in the Globe and Mail (July 27, 2009).

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