Monday, June 15, 2009

Basement Suites in the Sky

This week, Vancouver City Council will consider a report recommending that Vancouver allow suites within suites, similar to what was approved by the City of Burnaby for UniverCity. While I strongly support the initiative, I am concerned that the city may be making a mistake by requiring that suites be a minimum of 280 sq.ft. although the Director of Planning could have discretion to reduce them to around 200 sq.ft.

At SFU, after considerable study, we decided that a more appropriate minimum size was 24 sq.metres or just under 260 sq.ft. Below is a story that appeared a few months ago in the Tyee that describes this concept. (The reference to 240 sq.ft. was a mistake on my part.) Hopefully this is an idea that will provide another housing option.
How a lock-off suite fits into a larger apartment. Credit: Perkins & Co.

Lock-off suites could help young families own condos and create rental housing for singles.

By Monte Paulsen
Published: March 10, 2009

The City of Burnaby may be the first municipality in the world to legalize secondary suites within apartments -- also called lock-off suites -- that enable owners of condominiums to do what owners of houses have done for decades: rent out extra space.

Towers of basement suites

"Basement suites provide the most affordable housing in the Lower Mainland," said architect and planner Michael Geller. "Some of these basement suites are legal; most are not. Some remain as rental housing in perpetuity; others are taken over by the homeowner as family size increases, or family finances improve."

A longtime advocate of Flex Housing, Geller was president of the SFU Community Trust during the development of UniverCity, a planned community of up to 4,500 homes on 200 acres adjacent to Simon Fraser University.

"Both the university and the City of Burnaby wanted to provide some affordable housing for students within the community. However, the university did not want to use high value land for student housing, especially since it might "de-value" the adjacent condominium sites," Geller explained.

"So the question we asked ourselves was: Why not create the equivalent of a basement suite in a fifth-floor apartment?" he said.


"The answer came from resort architecture. We've all been in a hotel room or suite where, through a series of interlocking doors, two individual rooms can be joined as one suite," Geller said.

After considerable negotiation, the City of Burnaby amended its bylaws to approve lock-off suites within up to half of the apartments and townhomes at UniverCity. The suites must be at least 240 square feet. They are permitted to have their own entry from the corridor, as well as their own bathroom and cooking facilities.

"When we initially thought of this concept, we expected these suites would be the third bedroom in a three-bedroom unit," Geller said. "However, the first units to be built were in fact two bedroom units, where the second bedroom could either be the master bedroom, or a separate suite."

Twenty-four such suites were built as part of the first development at UniverCity. (See sample floor plan, above.)

"I am quite certain that nowhere else in North America -- or for that matter, in the world -- has another municipality developed a specific zoning bylaw to govern suites within apartments," Geller said. "Burnaby did it in 2002. And Vancouver is looking into it now."

Flexibility does not come cheap

The Burnaby Mountain lock-off suites are not "affordable" in the strictest sense.

In fact, Geller figures they cost between $20,000 and $30,000 more than the same-sized unit with ensuite bathrooms but without lock-off capability. Included in this amount is the extra door to the corridor, more fire-proofing between living quarters, an additional electrical panel and wiring, and parking.

"In order to increase affordability, the city agreed that it would relax its normal parking requirements," Geller said. "Only one space was provided for every four secondary suites."

But the existence of the lock-off suites -- and, specifically, the prospect of their rental income -- has made these relatively expensive apartments more purchase-able, because lenders have regarded a portion of the anticipated rent as income.

"This allows a young family to get into the suite they might not otherwise afford. And later, when kids need their own room, they can take over the whole suite," Geller said.

"Some people would argue that costs inherent in making a home flexible are too great," Geller said. "Particularly recognizing that, at least in North America, we have a propensity to move quite frequently. Others might argue that our propensity to move is a result of the fact that our homes can't change as our needs change."

Filling a gap in the rental market

The lock-off suites have not proven cheap to rent, either. These tiny bachelor suites -- ranging in size from 240 to 285 square feet -- fetch from $525 to $750 per month.

"They rented for much more than I expected," Geller said. "Still, they rent for considerably less than for a conventional one-bedroom suite."

But while the rents are quite high on a per-foot basis, these tiny suites are cheaper than almost anything other than a substandard basement suite or an aging residential hotel.

This may prove to be the lock-off suite's greatest advantage: It serves the most extremely under-served gap in British Columbia's expensive urban rental markets.

In Vancouver, newly built or recently renovated one-bedroom apartments in walkable neighbourhoods rent for about $1,200 a month. Basement suites fetch $750. And a bug-infested room in an aging residential hotel runs to almost $600 a month -- if one can be found.

This leaves students, artists, and other young singles priced out of the market. It also serves as a profound disincentive for the province's tens of thousands of mentally ill and frequently addicted citizens to better their lives: After all, why undertake all the hard work of getting clean if, years later, one is going to wind up shelling out $600 a month to live in the same sort of residential hotel that one lived in on welfare?

A clean, modern suite -- even a miniscule one -- for between $525 and $750 a month is precisely the grail sought after by thousands of single Vancouverites, including many in what Richard Florida calls the Creative Class.

"It's not necessarily affordability in the sense that most people use the word," Geller said of the UniverCity lock-off suites. "But it created a housing choice that would not otherwise have been provided."


Messi said...

While people may have different views still good things should always be appreciated. Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!

Anonymous said...

Deliberateness unequivocally evocative they are repayment critical moment to the contract matter that private baggage [url=]viagra[/url]. Try in endorse of control oneself customs looking fit the endorse efficacy, extraordinarily the disorganize baptize crate [url=]ambien[/url]. This jackpot most of the opulence intention in roast and a understandably stroke up prolong on on in the environs

Nuttall said...

While people may have different views still good things should always be appreciated. Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!

Anonymous said...

Piece of writing writing is also a excitement, if you be acquainted with afterward
you can write if not it is complex to write.

Also visit my web site :: how to buy a car
My web site :: how to buy a car,buying a car,buy a car,how to buy a car bad credit,buying a car bad credit,buy a car bad credit,how to buy a car with bad credit,buying a car with bad credit,buy a car with bad credit,bad credit car loans,car loans bad credit,auto loans bad credit,bad credit auto loans,buying a car bad credit loans,bad credit loans cars,buying a car and bad credit,how to buy a car on bad credit,buying a car on bad credit,loans for cars with bad credit,auto loans for bad credit,buying a car with bad credit,how to buy a car with bad credit

Anonymous said...

My fаmily always ѕay that I аm waѕting
my tіme heгe at wеb, howeѵeг I κnow I am gettіng familiarity eνeгy ԁay by
reading ѕuch pleasаnt ρоѕtѕ.

Feel fгee to viѕit mу blog: buying a car with bad credit

Anonymous said...

For those who are unaware, Vistaprint is a website that has been around for years, and it offers a
variety of personalized products that can be used for
businesses, gifts, weddings, and more. This is the perfect chance to send a wedding announcement.
If necessary, place a polite reminder on your sign-in page that this is not an informal website, and that distasteful comments
will be removed.

Look at my web page: wedding website advice

Anonymous said...

Then, cells that destroy bacteria and cell debris wipe out the yeast.
Are you looking to get rid of troublesome yeast infections.
Thick, white discharge from the penis.

Here is my web blog ... yeast infection and bleeding pregnancy

Anonymous said...

A result of the immense size and strength
that these animals can grow to means pets should
be leash trained from a young age. Bond With
Your Dog Through Play. Dog obedience training is a
bit more than trained responses.

my webpage :: taurus dog training austin

Anonymous said...

For those who have troubles swallowing due to the texture, tablets are available to make consumption
easier. A man can develop a yeast infection in various ways.
Although the treatment has been successful for many people with Candida,
be warned that some of the side effects may include excessive vaginal discharge, discomfort and burning
in the vaginal area.

my blog post; yeast infection and yogurt treatment

Anonymous said...

Only 1 address, while. Be patient with your dog.
Dog Training Using Praise.

Here is my web site ... hunting dog training aids

Anonymous said...

Gathering followers is not quite easy but still beneficial.
You would come across so many facebook admirers in your mundane life who make a frequent use
of facebook on a daily basis. In short, an online business can able to
get fair ranking on major search engines and generate huge traffic
by increase Twitter followers in bulk.

My web page - Buy Twitter Followers Cheap

Anonymous said...

On Sunday nights Erin Jaimes hosts a blues jam where anyone from Alan Haynes to Gary Clark, Jr.
Below are listed a few popular pubs where one can chill in Mumbai.

Theme Format: It is almost like standard format of the pub quiz.

my web-site ... best pub quiz team names

Anonymous said...

Kids will enjoy playing a game of putt-putt,
or riding go carts in the Putt-Putt race zone. In this way, there will be
no shortage of people at the party. Kids birthday party themes and ideas are not hard to find,
and there are many good suggestions here on the site.

My blog: 10th birthday Party ideas

Anonymous said...

There are also many reputed facebook fan page design and fan providers who
sell their products for a price. For those who do not have much experience, there are many sites that offer a free book on how to better sell their products through Facebook fans, so do not
wait, build your site and buy some fans now. One way of looking at
the cost of the purchase of fans for fan pages is whether to place an ad, you would
have to pay for it.

Also visit my website ...

Anonymous said...

A result of the immense size and strength that these animals can grow to means pets should be leash trained from a young age.
You should teach your dog and talk to him during training sessions.
435-896-1737 Annabella, Utah Trainers:
Chris and Julie Holt.

my blog post; narcotic dog training Aids

Anonymous said...

Will they be fed, watered, and cared for properly.
This will help make navigating the weaving poles
a habit for you dog. With the Easy Walk Harness, if your dog
attempts to pull forward the straps across the chest and shoulder blades
begin to tighten.

my web-site - online dog training advice

Anonymous said...

The best wedding planning i - Pad app is the one that is easy to use and has all of the organizational tools needed to plan an
awesome wedding. What is even more exciting is that
you will be able to keep this wedding website for one year, at no cost to you.
An increasing number of marrying couples (particularly those entering second or later marriages) will
request that guests refrain from giving gifts.

Feel free to visit my blog; wedding website affiliate program
Also see my page :: wedding website and invitations

Anonymous said...

Chords introduce harmony into music and it is the effects created
by chords that produce the inspiration behind
so much music and make it so satisfying
both to listen to and to play. Do not overlook this part of your learning.

Once you know these scales, in all twelve keys, then you have a
very solid foundation on which to learn how to play piano

Here is my page: virtual piano chords and scales

Anonymous said...

Natural remedies are deemed highly efficient, cost effective, and significantly safe to use.
- Direct vaginal contact with chemicals, dyes and perfumes.
Candida bacteria feed on other weakened friendly bacteria in the human body.

Feel free to visit my web blog yeast infection after periods

Anonymous said...

And that is the first rule of keywords - Relevance. You are now familiar
with the advanced search feature of Yahoo Answers, once you do a.
If this kind of business you are looking for or planning to
go into just for the reason that you wanted to consult or even handle
those promotions for other businesses, well then, make sure
that don’t fail to notice the opportunity to point out
those costumers or clients of yours who are potentials in
which you grow your own business with the very techniques you wanted to provide to them.

my homepage: Internet Marketing Tips

Anonymous said...

In other words, they go against the grain of the
careers their parents had. Popular prizes include sports tickets, cash and vouchers for drinks,
food - and dollars off of tabs. The buccal cavity is a small cavity that has neither jaws nor teeth.

Feel free to visit my weblog ... pub quiz anagrams

Anonymous said...

Remote proper dog training collars allow you to train
your puppy from the distance, without using a lead to restrain
or restrict the dog. Bond With Your Dog Through Play. --LINK REMOVED dog training and boarding

Anonymous said...

Simple and Easy to Create Recipes with clear step
by step instructions you will be able to produce paleo friendly meals that get rave reviews from friends and family every- time.
Anti Nutrients:. The Paleo Gluten Free Diet has many health claims.

Look at my web site; paleo diet and crossfit

Anonymous said...

It is through urine and feces that we purge our body of infection.
Are you looking to get rid of troublesome yeast infections.
Although the treatment has been successful for many people with Candida, be warned that some of
the side effects may include excessive vaginal discharge, discomfort and burning in
the vaginal area.

Here is my webpage: Yeast Infection Antibiotics Cause

Anonymous said...

So you are looking to rid your girl of these unwanted stalkers when you are drawn to Willow Creek's Black Mirror Castle. At the end of the party all of the papers write down who they think was the prohibition agent. At each house you have the hostess serve something small to eat, and host a small game.

Also visit my web site: Gmail Com

Anonymous said...

oZzy moved away some time ago, I miss his cock, and I'm always hungry for making love.

Stop by my webpage ... hcg injections

Anonymous said...

I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this site. I really hope to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own website now ;)

Review my web-site: how to file bankruptcy in florida

Anonymous said...

The irritation could then spread in the baby's buttocks and upper thigh area, as well as the genitals. Include about three to 4 tablespoons of vinegar to a bathtub stuffed with a tiny sum of warm h2o and only bathe in it for fifteen to twenty minutes. Finding the best vaginal yeast infection remedy that will work for you will end all the disturbing symptoms of the infection improving the quality of your life.

my blog post: yeast infection and pregnancy sign
Also see my web site: skin yeast infection and yogurt

Anonymous said...

(Thank you rounds are always welcome, of course. Anna had been looking through my phone
while I was naked. The buccal cavity is a small cavity that
has neither jaws nor teeth.

Stop by my blog post pub quiz Area

Anonymous said...

So you are looking to rid your girl of these
unwanted stalkers when you are drawn to Willow Creek's Black Mirror Castle. This was zero cost because the students went to local stores and asked for either donations and gift cards to purchase these items. Cranberry studios developed this sequel while publisher Anaconda brings it to you in stores.

My blog - colleges universities

Anonymous said...

The owner decided after the event to donate half of the proceeds
back to the students. The game was released
on August 3, and is in stores now, but probably is where
it will remain, sad to say. At each house you have
the hostess serve something small to eat, and host a small game.

Feel free to surf to my webpage :: online colleges

Anonymous said...

If all players are wrong the murderer gets away and everyone loses.

Unfortunately for me as an addict, I need my crime fix.
Every Halloween party that people remember later in the year by saying things like "Do you remember so-and-so's Halloween party last year.

Feel free to visit my web-site; commercial real estate

Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually know what
you are speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please also discuss
with my web site =). We can have a hyperlink exchange contract between

Here is my page :: diet plans that work fast

Anonymous said...

DJ spins out on Saturday nights. Popular prizes include
sports tickets, cash and vouchers for drinks, food -
and dollars off of tabs. 8.

my web blog easy pub quiz and answers

Anonymous said...

Τhere іs сertainlу a lot to leaгn abοut thiѕ issue.
ӏ like all of the pointѕ you made.

Му blog ρost - hgc drops

Anonymous said...

Unquestionably consider that which you stated. Your favourite reason seemed
to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of.

I say to you, I certainly get annoyed whilst other
folks think about issues that they plainly do not understand about.
You managed to hit the nail upon the top and outlined out
the entire thing without having side effect ,
other people can take a signal. Will probably be back to
get more. Thanks

Feel free to surf to my site: buy guaranteed facebook likes

Anonymous said...

Аs with all nо cгeԁit сheck car loаns's touring motorcycles this year, Stewart took it up a notch when she officiated a wedding ceremony during the event. I told him I had been looking longingly at the long line of concepts from Rinspeed, headed by Swiss automotive futurist Frank M Rinderknecht. There is another way of dealing with maintenance problems on a no credit check car loans, but his company, and how and if assignment orders are permitted. Perhaps GM and no credit check car loans swapped executives one week and this was no exception.

my blog ::

Anonymous said...

Thanks in favor of sharing such a nice thought, piece of writing is pleasant, thats why i have read it fully

my webpage ... background check for employment

Anonymous said...

it may be difficult at times but not impossible.
things will not be like this forever, and if you advise people not to buy, then please give us some reasons why..

Manchester University student accommodation | The Castle Manchester

Mrs Sharon Sim said...

Hello Everybody,
My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:( +918376918351 Thank you.