Let’s Talk Housing Options

Thank you for providing your feedback on how we can encourage more types and styles of housing in our established single-family neighbourhoods, including coach houses, smaller lots, and duplexes.

The changes are intended to:

  • Provide more housing options for residents to accommodate changing needs,
  • Create more housing with ground-level access,
  • Ensure new housing fits the neighbourhood character, and
  • Make efficient use of infrastructure and accommodate growth in existing neighbourhoods.

From July to mid-September 2016, Planning Division staff collected input through an online survey and at local events and other places where residents gather. Staff reported back to Smart Growth Committee in November 2016 to communicate the feedback received. Council supported allowing for coach houses in the spring of 2017. Smaller lots and duplexes were considered at a public hearing on April 10, 2018. Council considered public feedback regarding the proposed changes to allow for more small, medium, and duplex lots, and gave the bylaw amendments third reading.

What Changes Were Considered?

The intent is to encourage more types and sizes of housing in our single-family neighbourhoods through the following changes. Click the links below to read more.

Coach Houses

Please visit our Coach Houses page – allowing small accessory dwellings, or laneway housing, on residential lots

Changes that are being considered as part of the 2018 update to the Official Community Plan:

Smaller Lots

The City is allowing for more small lots in single-family neighbourhoods. Council held a public hearing on April 10, 2018 and gave third reading to the proposed Official Community Plan (OCP) and Zoning Bylaw amendments. The OCP designates most of the City’s single-family neighbourhoods as Residential. In addition, the Plan designates areas that were identified to have an established small lot character as Small Lot Residential.

  • RS1: Lots within the Residential designation are primarily zoned RS1, which allows for lots with a minimum lot size of 500 m2 and minimum lot width of 15 m (~50 ft).
  • RS2: A number of areas designated Residential are zoned RS2, the next size down in residential lots, with a minimum lot size of 375 m2 and minimum lot width of 12 m (~40 ft).
  • RS4: Lots within the Small Lot Residential designation are zoned RS4. These are the smallest single-family lots in the City, with a minimum lot size of 300 m2 and minimum lot width of 10 m (~33 ft). The City regulates the design quality of homes and landscaping through application of development permit guidelines within this zone.

The OCP currently allows for rezoning from RS1 to RS2 to facilitate subdivision to smaller lots in areas where there are a number of other smaller lots, or when land may be obtained for a road or trail dedication.

The changes result in more opportunities for single-family lots zoned RS2 or RS4.

Creating More Medium-sized Lots (RS2)

The City is increasing opportunities to rezone larger RS1 lots to create RS2 zoned lots in existing residential neighbourhoods.

This will facilitate the subdivision of larger lots when there is public benefit such as dedication of land for a trail or lane, infrastructure improvements like a new sidewalk or paved lane, and a design quality that fits neighbourhood character.

However, these subdivisions will still require rezoning to ensure public notification and an opportunity for public input.

Creating More Small Lots (RS4)

There are two ways the City is creating more small lots:

1. More areas for small lots: The City is designating more areas as Small Lot Residential in the OCP, which will increase opportunities to create smaller single-family lots. The areas are near existing small lots, have lane access if they are on an arterial route, or are near transit and services. These areas will still require rezoning to the RS4 zone and subsequent subdivision.

Click on the maps of the new areas for the Small Lot Residential Designation.

Proposed Additional Small-lot Residential Areas (Northside)

Proposed Additional Small-lot Residential Areas (Southside)


2. Narrower lot sizes: The City is increasing opportunities for subdivision into smaller RS4 lots by reducing the minimum lot width from 10 m to 9.5 m (31.2 ft). This will provide flexibility for situations where existing lots are just slightly narrower than 20 m.


The City is investigating how we can support the creation of more duplexes and ensure they fit within the neighbourhood context.

A duplex is a building comprised of two dwelling units, arranged in front-back, side-by-side, or up-down configurations. New duplexes are generally constructed for individual ownership of the units (strata). When appropriately scaled and designed, they can fit well into neighbourhoods and provide an attractive option.

Current Situation for Duplexes

Duplexes are only permitted if the lot is located within the duplex zone (RD). The City’s policy for duplexes is that this zoning may be considered on properties designated as Residential or Small Lot Residential in the Official Community Plan.

To avoid a concentration of duplexes in one area, our policy limits sites where duplexes may be considered to sites at least 180 m (590 ft) away any other duplex fronting the same side of the same street. Secondary suites are not permitted in duplexes.

Duplexes must also comply with design guidelines to ensure an appropriate quality of design character and landscaping.

What Changes Have Been Considered for Duplex Locations?

The changes that have been considered will allow more locations to be eligible for new duplexes, while ensuring duplexes continue to be dispersed rather than concentrated in one area. The City has:

  • Changed OCP policy related to rezoning for duplexes to the following:
    • Where there is separation of 100m between duplexes on the same street,
    • On corner lots, or
    • If the rezoning will provide for a public benefit such as dedication of a lane or trail.
  • Reduced the minimum lot size from 650 m2 to 500 m2, which results in smaller buildings that better fit the site and neighbourhood.
  • Permits duplexes within the RS4 (small lot) zone on lots 500 m2 or larger, which will provide greater opportunity for owners of lots too small to subdivide into small lots.

Changes to the Design Guidelines for Duplexes

The new design guidelines for duplexes include:

  • Neighbourhood compatibility in terms of design character and building setbacks
  • On corner properties, promoting individuality of units with entries facing both streets
  • Avoiding substantial views to adjoining properties
  • Avoiding potential for secondary suites (not permitted)
  • Appropriate landscaping to enhance the site design and neighbourhood context

New Duplex Design Guidelines

  • Design that is respectful of neighbourhood characteristics and the scale and height of adjacent homes.
  • Second storeys stepped back, recessed or articulated to reduce visual impact.
  • Side-by-side duplex units staggered, or designed with variation in height and massing to avoid long continuous front facades.
  • Duplexes on corner lots designed to provide a street presence on both streets by the location of entries, windows and appropriate landscaping.
  • Where vehicle access must be from the street, the visual impact of driveways in the front yard minimized by a paved surface limited to 6 m (20 ft) in width. Where vehicle access is from the lane, onsite vehicle parking located in detached garages to minimize impervious surfaces and create usable, landscaped yards.
  • Privacy between properties provided by the use of architectural treatment, hedges, fences or planting beds along interior side and rear yard lines as screening.
  • Open parking spaces screened with landscaping or fencing. Pervious surfaces are encouraged to minimize hard surfaces in the yards.
  • A minimum of two trees, in addition to any required street trees, located in a front yard



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)