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NewsMultiplexes in Vancouver – Coming Soon?


For a few years the City of Vancouver has been trying to develop ‘missing middle’ housing that can be built in the majority of landmass of the city that is predominantly of the single family housing type.

As of July 2023, the report has been referred to public hearing, and if approved may be enacted late 2023 or early 2024.

This comes on the heels of the Vancouver Plan, which highlighted a need for more housing and greater density throughout the city but also at several key centers and transit hubs.

The multiplex initiative can be seen as a first step in that direction, however, because it’s meant to be city-wide and streamlined – meaning less contextual approvals required, its policies are generally incremental.

Source: City of Vancouver

Overview of the proposed changes

Source: City of Vancouver

In general this change allows new housing to be built in most of Vancouver’s residential areas to be up to 1.0 FSR provided that multiunit properties are built. However, there are a few caveats, namely:

  • garages are no longer excluded from FSR calculations, meaning if you intend to build enclosed garages, the actual increase in internal SQFT may be less
  • if you don’t built a multiplex, the proposal also reduces the size of the main house from 0.7 FSR to 0.6 FSR and increases the Laneway house’s size from 0.16 to 0.25 FSR
  • a CAC applies to the additional 0.3 FSR if all units are to be stratified, the cost depends on lot size and geographic location
Source: City of Vancouver

Public reaction has generally been positive. However two aspects of the proposal have received criticism. Firstly, the downzoning of the size of single family homes that can be built, for which no clear explanation has been given for the reason of this change. And secondly, there has been some disappointment from pro-housing advocates at the modest scale of the changes. Infrastructure requirements has been cited as the limiting factor, specifically sewage and storm water, however city engineers have not elaborated on what goes into their calculations.

You can find more information about the initiative here: