Residents of a West Abbotsford neighbourhood comprising mainly of mobile homes will soon get the chance to tell council how it should act once contracts that regulate land use in the area are abolished.
Around 220 homes in a triangle of land south of Highway 1 and north of Marshall Road are currently governed by land use contracts created in the 1970s. Around two-thirds of the homes are mobile homes, with the rest single-family houses. The province has ordered that such contracts, which say what type of homes can be built on the properties they administer, be terminated by 2024.
An application last year from a property owner who wanted to end his contract and build a larger house was met by opposition from many of his neighbours, who said they wanted to preserve their modest neighbourhood and keep the homes there affordable.
Despite skyrocketing house prices last year, few homes in the neighbourhood have assessments exceeding $300,000, with many assessed below $200,000, according to Assessment BC.
Council last fall voted to reject the application and ask staff to suggest options as part of its zoning bylaw review.
On Monday, three such options were unveiled. Residents will be asked to provide feedback at a future information meeting, with council making a decision later.
One of those options would be to retain the existing zoning, which permits the construction of single-family houses but prohibits mobile homes. Existing homes would be permitted to remain on site, but if they are destroyed or removed, they would have to be replaced with a conventional house.
A second option would be to change the zoning to reflect the land uses permitted by the contracts. This could be accompanied by an amendment that prohibits secondary suites for the single-family houses in the area, as is the case with the existing land use contracts.
A third option would be to change the zoning of all lots to permit either a mobile home or a house, while adding height or density regulations for the single-family homes.
A staff report says all three would be consistent with the city’s new Official Community Plan. That plan supports the inclusion of secondary suites for single-family homes.
The report also references the city’s 2011 affordable housing strategy, which says the city should work to preserve and increase the supply of affordable housing, and create diverse housing types.
“Although the Affordable Housing Strategy supports the retention or replacement of existing affordable units, it also encourages the creation of secondary suites to improve people’s ability to afford housing,” the report says.
There are actually two neighbourhoods governed by land use contracts, one includes primarily mobile homes, the other single-family houses built years ago. Council approved moving forward with considering the future of land use contracts involving mobile homes, as recommended by staff.