City of Burnaby’s Housing Choices plan

Now that the HOME strategy has been adopted, Burnaby has begun working on introducing laneway homes as part of their new Housing Choices program. The first phase of this program will focus on introducing laneway homes along with secondary suites in semi-detached homes to Burnaby’s single and two-family neighbourhoods. 

The Council approved a schedule and process to introduce laneway homes in February 2022. The council also requested to explore other ways of permitting three units on a single-family lot or four units on a two-family lot. Eligible properties must have car access to the home from the side or back of the property.

Project Progress Report

Burnaby is preparing to commence the acceptance of building permits for laneway homes and suites within semi-detached residences on qualifying properties. The Council officially approved the conclusive program on June 19th, 2023. Burnaby will adjust City bylaws, policies, and procedures throughout the summer to align with the finalized program. Burnaby intends to be fully prepared to initiate the acceptance of building permits in the upcoming fall season, pending the ratification of the bylaw amendments.

Summary of final program for laneway homes

The Burnaby laneway homes program will encompass the following components:

  1. Developing various models of laneway homes in different Burnaby lot configurations. This will aid us in formulating appropriate criteria for setbacks, height limits, and other regulatory aspects.
  2. Creating architectural design examples and guidelines for public evaluation.
  3. Assessing regulations concerning off-street parking and the potential of local neighbourhoods to accommodate increased on-street parking demands.
  4. Evaluating the adequacy of water, sanitary, and waste/recycling services and devising recommendations for potential service adjustments, upgrades, and fee structures.
  5. Analyzing existing and future lane infrastructure concerning laneway homes. This involves establishing guidelines for laneway design, development, and utilization.
  6. Examining requirements from third-party infrastructure providers and preparing guidelines for mail delivery, emergency services, and electrical and natural gas provisions.

Burnaby acknowledges that introducing laneway housing will bring about notable transformations in its neighbourhoods. The City is committed to allowing residents to express opinions and offer input before they finalize proposals.

Proposed regulations include:

  • Laneway homes could be built to a maximum of almost 1,507 square feet and a minimum of 322.93 sq. ft.
  • Heights would be limited to two storeys maximum (no higher than 24.9 feet with a sloping roof), but homeowners could get an additional 1.6 feet if the home is built to energy efficient standards like “passive house, net zero, or B.C. Energy Step Code 5 buildings.”
  • It must be built to a minimum of Step 3 of the Energy Step Code.
  • Long-term rental use is acceptable, but city bylaws do not permit short-term rentals like Airbnb.