Coach Houses

Coach houses are permitted on eligible single-family lots in Port Coquitlam as part of the City’s efforts to provide more housing options in our growing community.

This webpage provides information about the specific requirements and approval processes for building a coach house.

Coach Houses in Port Coquitlam:

  • are self-contained accessory dwellings at the rear of residential lots
  • are small homes with a maximum size of 70 sq.m. (753 sq.ft.)
  • may be at street level or above a garage
  • may not be the principal dwelling on a lot
  • may not be subdivided or stratified
  • can be rented, but not as short-term or vacation rentals

Neighbourhood Fit

Port Coquitlam’s coach house design guidelines promote high quality design and ensure a good fit with the neighbourhood. They cover:

  • appearance and scale
  • compatability with surrounding homes
  • privacy of neighbours
  • lighting
  • landscaping
  • on-site parking

Steps to Building a Coach House

1. Can I Build A Coach House On My Lot?

Minimum requirements:

  • Lots must be in a residential zone (RS1, RS2, RS3, or RS4) and designated Residential or Small Lot Residential in the Official Community Plan (OCP).
  • Lots must have available floor area (no more than 0.5 floor area ratio (FAR)). Learn how to calculate your lot’s available floor area.
  • Lots where the principal dwelling contains a secondary suite or daycare must have a minimum lot size of 740 m2. All other lots must have an area of at least 370 sq. m. (3,983 sq. ft.).
  • Corner lots or lots with laneway access must have a minimum frontage of 10 m (32.8 ft).
  • All other lots must have:
    • width and frontage of at least 12 m (39.4 ft.)
    • at least 5 m (16.4 ft.) of uninterrupted road edge (no driveways or letdowns) along the front of the property
    • an unobstructed 2 m (6.6 ft.) path from the front of the lot to the coach house for emergency access (free from
    • shrubs, trees, fences or other structures)
2. Height, Outdoor Space, Parking and Setbacks

Height

  • The maximum height of a coach house is two storeys and:
    • Up to 8.5 m (27.9 ft) to the peak of the roof if the roof slope is 9 in 12 or greater; or
    • 7.5 m (24.6 ft) for a less steep roof.
      Full-height basements are not permitted. Crawl spaces are permitted, but are limited in height to 1.5 m (4.9 ft.)

Outdoor Space

  • All coach houses must provide a minimum of 15 sq.m. (161.5 sq.ft.) of private outdoor space.

Parking

  • Each coach house must provide at least one independently accessible parking space (not tandem with parking for the principal dwelling), located either in a garage or a parking pad.
  • If the parking space is in a garage, 23 sq.m. (247.6 sq. ft.) is exempt from the total floor area used to calculate the lot’s floor area. A connecting door from the garage to the coach house is not permitted.

Setbacks

Interior Side YardRS1: 10% of lot width, between 1.2-1.8m
RS2, RS4: 1.2m
RS3: 1.8m
Exterior Side YardRS1: 20% of lot width, between 2.4-3.5m
RS2, RS4: 2.4m
RS3: 3.5m
RearMinimum setback of 1.2m (4 ft.)
Distance from main houseMinimum of 6 m (20 ft.)
Emergency access for a midblock propertyMinimum 2 m (6.6 ft.) unobstructed path from the front lot line to the front of the coach house
3. Landscaping and Design Guidelines

Coach House Building Design Guidelines

  • The building’s appearance is secondary or accessory to the principal dwelling.
  • The building design is compatible with the principal dwelling.
  • Architectural elements are appropriately scaled to the overall building form.
  • Windows and skylights promote natural lighting.
  • The design, siting and orientation of windows, balconies, patios and decks provides for visual privacy between adjoining properties.

Scale, Massing and Building Orientation

  • The area of a second floor must be not more than 60% of the first storey’s footprint.
  • Balconies are restricted to the second storey (not rooftop) and must be at least 2 m. (6.56 ft.) wide.
  • Stairs to a second storey must be enclosed within the building.
  • If on a corner lot, the front door must face the flanking street.
  • The floor area of a second storey must be integrated within a sloping roof, recessed or articulated.
  • For a lot with lane access, the building façade facing the lane must include architectural elements to avoid the appearance of a blank wall and to minimize the visual impact of garage door(s).

Lighting

  • Exterior lighting, including high-wattage motion-activated security lights, must be designed to enhance the experience of the lane at night and not intrude on neighbouring properties.
  • Lighting within eaves is restricted to the façade facing a lane or exterior side.

Landscaping and Screening

  • A landscaped path must connect to the coach house to the street (consider pervious materials such as pavers).
  • Any open parking space for a coach house must be screened with landscaping or fencing.
  • An outdoor space at least 2.4 m. (7.9 ft.) deep must be provided next to the coach house, consisting of lawn or pavers and screened by trees, decorative fencing or layered planting.
  • There must be at least two trees on the lot.
  • Garbage and recycling space must be provided in a designated area that is screened from patio areas and the lane, or located in an accessory structure or garage.
4. Approval Process

Preapplication Process

After determining that a lot can meet the requirements, an applicant should follow these steps.

  • Consider project costs such as:
    • Cost of construction
    • Connecting services / utilities from main house • Potential improvements to services (e.g., water)
    • Potential driveway widening
    • $1,100 Development Permit fee
    • $2,500 refundable landscaping deposit
    • Building Permit fee based on the value of construction
    • Service connection fees from utility providers
  • Develop a design that meets the zoning, design and landscaping requirements.
  • If a development is within 50 meters of a watercourse, contact the Planning Division to confirm if a Watercourse Protection Development Permit is needed.
  • Discuss the proposed design with neighbours, and ask if they have any concerns. Give particular attention to how windows, balconies and lighting would be oriented.

Approval Process

  • Submit a complete Coach House Development Permit Application. (To streamline the review process, consider submitting a Building Permit application concurrently. This can also be done after the Development Permit is approved, although it will extend the approval timeline.)
  • Erect a development sign on the property when you submit your application. Learn about sign standards.
  • Staff will review the Coach House Development Permit application and may request changes if it does not comply with the design guidelines or there are building issues.
  • The Coach House Development Permit application will be forwarded to the Smart Growth Committee for approval.
  • Submit a refundable $2,500 landscape security.
  • The Building Permit will be issued after Development Permit approval, and the Building Permit drawings must reflect the approved design.
  • Once both the Development Permit and Building Permit are issued, start building!

Coach House Q & A

How do I find out my lot’s zoning and OCP designation?

Use PoCoMap, the City’s online webmap.

How do I determine if my lot has available floor area?

Floor area is measured using the floor area ratio (FAR). FAR is typically calculated by dividing the lot’s total residential floor area (in this case, the home plus the coach house) by the size of the property. The maximum FAR in residential zones is 0.5, with some exemptions.

So, a 2,000 sq.ft. house on a 5,000 sq.ft. lot would have a FAR of 0.4, leaving 0.1 FAR (500 sq.ft.) for a potential coach house. If you don’t know your home’s floor area, visit the City Hall Annex to review building plans that may be on file.

If you submit an application, you will need to include building plans of the home.

How do I determine my property’s area (size)?

If you do not have a survey of your property, check PoCoMap for a legal plan. You can also visit the City Hall Annex (address below) and ask if the City has your lot’s legal plan on file. If you submit an application, you will need to have a surveyor complete a survey of your property, showing the property size and setbacks.

Contact

Planning Division
Tel 604.927.5442
Email planning@portcoquitlam.ca

Location and Mailing Address

City Hall Annex, (beside City Hall)
200 – 2564 Shaughnessy Street
Port Coquitlam, BC
V3C 2A8

8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)