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Laneway Homes

illustration of a smaller detached home on the same property as a detached home

What is a laneway home?

A laneway home is a small detached house, built on the property of another house. It is usually situated in the rear yard of the main house and faces the laneway or road that runs behind the house. Laneway homes can provide additional space for families, particularly intergenerational families, or serve as a new source of rental housing in the community, while also providing financial income to the homeowner.

You may also hear laneway homes called "detached ADUs". This is short for detached accessory dwelling units, which is the formal term for this category of housing. Laneway Homes, Coach Homes, Garden Cottages, Carriage Homes, Backyard Suites and Granny Flats are all types of ADUs. These terms are often used interchangeably and may mean different things in different jurisdictions; the most reliable definitions can be found in individual municipal zoning bylaws. Generally, in Burnaby, we most commonly use the term "Laneway Home", and will continue to do so until we refine the types of dwelling units that can be built in our city.

Are laneway homes allowed in Burnaby?

No, laneway homes are not currently permitted in Burnaby. However, one of the eighteen recommendations from the Mayor's Task Force on Community Housing in 2019, was to "develop a plan for introducing new housing forms and family-oriented housing in a variety of neighbourhoods". City staff are currently developing policies to advance these recommendations to Council in a Housing and Homelessness Strategy.

The process to create the Housing and Homelessness Strategy is underway, with anticipated adoption of the Strategy early next year. Once adopted, technical work on a laneway homes program, including maximum size, height, parking, and other considerations will proceed. This work will build upon research already conducted following the 2018 Council motion to review the potential for laneway homes in Burnaby.

Laneway Homes Program - What will it entail?

Once the Housing and Homeless Strategy is adopted, the technical work required to develop the details of a laneway homes program will proceed. This may include tasks such as:

  • modelling potential bulk and design regulations on a selection of Burnaby lot types and preparing architectural design examples and guidelines for review;
  • reviewing the regulations of the City's residential districts for off-street parking and the potential capacity of neighbourhoods to accommodate anticipated additional on-street parking demand;
  • reviewing the capacity of the City's residential infrastructure for water and sanitary servicing and garbage/recycling services and preparing recommendations regarding all necessary service changes, upgrades and fee schedules for permitting and future related works and services;
  • reviewing the City's existing and future laneway infrastructure to identify guidelines for their design, development, and use for laneway homes, including: required lane width, pavement standard, lighting, utilities and as expanded public use corridors; and,
  • reviewing third-party infrastructure requirements, including addressing needs for postal delivery and emergency services, electrical and natural gas services and preparing guidelines for permitting and administration.

This work will result in a proposed laneway homes program for public consultation. Adding laneway homes in our neighbourhoods is a significant change, and we want to ensure that residents know ahead of time about the changes and to provide feedback on the proposed laneway home program before it is adopted.

Upon completion of the technical work and public consultation, the laneway homes program will be presented to Council for adoption. If the program is adopted by Council, laneway homes would then be permitted in Burnaby.

Can I provide input to the Laneway Homes Program?

Yes. There will be opportunities for public input to the laneway homes program. Your feedback will be used to determine the specifics of the program such as building height, size, setbacks, parking, permitted zones, privacy, and servicing requirements.

How do I stay informed?

If you would like to receive news and updates on laneway homes in Burnaby, please email housing@burnaby.ca with your name and preferred email address.

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