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LETTER: Homeowners feel the pinch from missing middle proposal

The missing middle housing staff proposal is disappointing. The description presented during the public engagement process spoke of zoning changes that would allow, “duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, etc…” Thus folks responded to the survey with this in mind and apparently looked on the plan with some favour. As described, missing middle sounded like it could gently increase density in my neighbourhood – and that’s a good thing.

However, the staff report clearly points to six-plexes on mid blocks (whatever that means) and 12-unit townhouse projects on corners. This feels like a bit of a bait and switch and represents a whole different level of density that I am not comfortable with. In addition, the increase in allowable heights of about 10 feet will raise concerns on those streets where many homes are already well below the allowable heights of 25 feet.

Might I suggest that this proposal, as currently structured, is premature? The zoning changes in the staff proposal should be reduced to reflect the description that the public was given during the engagement process.

I would also note that Minister Eby has indicated support for missing middle and has said that he is interested in checking out the New Zealand approach where triplexes would be allowed across six major cities. He has also indicated that missing middle legislation will be announced after the October elections. Minister Fleming has indicated that the Transportation Financing Authority will soon be given powers to purchase land along major transportation corridors, like Douglas Street, to help facilitate more affordable housing.

With these initiatives coming down the pike, it might be prudent to defer rezoning until after the province has signalled its intentions and we can see that the many moving parts fit together.

Victoria Engagement just sent me a note announcing that missing middle will be presented to council in less than 48 hours, inviting me to click on “Have Your Say” which of course closed months ago. So, disrespectful.

Ken Roueche