Feb 13, 2019 Return to Headlines

Coquitlam Seeking Input on Housing Choices Options and Addressing Large Homes in Southwest Coquitlam

by Michelle Frilund |

COQUITLAM, BC, Feb. 13, 2019 –The City is looking at ways to encourage a wider range of housing choices in Coquitlam – and you are invited to share your feedback on options being considered within the Housing Choices Review.

How to Get Involved
There are a number of ways you can participate: 

1. Complete a survey between Feb. 15 and March 17 at www.coquitlam.ca/housingchoicesreview

2. Attend a Community Information Session

WHERE: Place Maillardville Community Centre (1200 Cartier Ave.)
WHEN: Wednesday, March 13, 5-8 p.m.

3. Attend a Pop-Up Booth around Southwest Coquitlam

  • Family Day at Place des Arts (Sunday, February 17, 2-4 p.m.)
  • Family Day at Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex (Monday, February 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)
  • Safeway Burquitlam (Sunday, March 10, 2-6 p.m.)

Options to Enhance the Housing Choices Program
One of the key goals of the Housing Choices Review is to encourage a wider range of Housing Choices projects in existing Housing Choices areas of Southwest Coquitlam.

The City undertook public consultation, architectural testing and an economic analysis in order to better understand the existing challenges with the Housing Choices Program, and to develop several options to improve the Program. 

These options include: 

Housing Choices Review Goal Potential Amendment Options 
Increase and diversify Housing Choices applications   1. Reduce minimum lot dimensions (for duplex, triplex, quadruplex)
   2. Limit single-family house size in Housing Choices areas
   3. Encourage attached units (i.e., duplex, triplex, quadruplex) through a review of Zoning Bylaw regulations
   4. ‘Rightsize’ parking requirements (i.e., review/reduce parking regulations)
Streamline approvals and ensure neighbourhood fit  5. Introduce ‘flexible’ zoning (i.e., revised RT-1 zone to allow triplex & quadruplex)
   6. Develop new ‘multiplex’ zone (i.e., revised RT-3 zone to allow more than 4 units/lot)
   7. ‘Prezone’ Housing Choices areas (to the revised RT-1 zone)
   8. Develop pre-approved standard building plans


These options would help to:

  • Increase the number of lots that qualify for smaller, more affordable Housing Choices projects (e.g., duplex, triplex, quadruplex)
  • ‘Level the playing field’ between large, detached single-family and smaller, attached Housing Choices projects
  • Simplify and speed up the approvals process across all Housing Choices projects (in particular triplex & quadruplex)

Feedback to Date
In spring 2018, over 700 people provided their feedback on the Housing Choices Review through a values and objectives survey online or in person. This survey helped to identify shared values related to housing and neighbourhoods, and showed that affordable, family-friendly options are important in Southwest Coquitlam. But it also highlighted that the existing neighbourhood character is valued. More information about these results can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/housingchoicesreview.

Addressing Large Homes in Southwest Coquitlam
Other related community feedback has focused on the construction of larger homes and concerns related to their potential impact on the form and character of established neighbourhoods in Southwest Coquitlam.

In response to this, following the completion of the Housing Choices Review, the City will undertake a Southwest Housing Review beginning later in 2019. The first phase of this review will explore a broader approach to addressing the construction of large homes in Southwest Coquitlam, and the associated challenges.

Between now and then, staff is recommending that Council consider an interim square footage cap of 5,500 square feet (511 square metres) for new single-family homes in Southwest Coquitlam. This is larger than the average 5,300 square foot home typically built in this area. However, it will restrict the development of very large homes while aiming to cut the construction of illegal suites, more commonly seen in large homes.

From 2016 to 2018, 175 of the total 391 single-family homes (45%) built in Southwest Coquitlam have been larger than 5,500 square feet. While Coquitlam has not traditionally limited the size of single-family homes in Southwest Coquitlam through Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and/or overall maximum square footage, these are some of the potential policy directions in the Housing Choices Review, which could later be applied more broadly in Southwest Coquitlam.

Council has authorized a Public Hearing to be scheduled on March 4, 2019 to consider adopting the new single-family homes square-footage cap in Southwest Coquitlam. For more information on this topic, or to get involved in this process, sign up for email updates at www.coquitlam.ca/housingchoicesreview.

About the Housing Choices Program & Housing Choices Review
The primary goal of the Housing Choices Program is to provide new, small-scale, ground-oriented housing options for varying household types and income levels in some residential areas of Southwest Coquitlam. This is achieved through a range of attached and detached housing types such as garden cottages, carriage houses, narrow-lot single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes and quadruplexes.

The review of the Housing Choices Program currently underway is looking at ways to encourage smaller, attached Housing Choices projects (including more duplexes, triplexes and quadruplexes) in areas that are already designated as Neighbourhood Attached Residential (NAR) in the Citywide Official Community Plan (OCP).

To learn more about the existing Housing Choices Program, visit www.coquitlam.ca/housingchoices.

To stay up-to-date or to sign up to receive email updates on this project, visit www.coquitlam.ca/housingchoicesreview.

Media contact:
Andrew Merrill
Manager Community Planning