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April 17, 2019

Nelson laneway housing project gets boost with design contest



As reported in The Nelson Daily, the field has been opened for laneway housing designs as the city has embarked upon a contest to determine the best ideas for small housing fit for Nelson.

The city department of Development Services obtained council approval to launch a design competition to select three pre-reviewed sets of plans for laneway houses.

Once they are determined, the city will sell the accepted designs to prospective builders for $1,000 — with a $1,000 royalty being given to the designer — a move that did not sit well with some on council at first.

Several councillors considered raising the price of the designs to recoup the $17,000 the city was spending on the contest and developing the project.

However, Coun. Janice Morrison put the debate in perspective after it had gone on for nearly 45 minutes. She felt the cost should be kept at the initial asking price to entice people into adopting the city’s plans — which will be adaptable for each specific site, depending on the terrain — and instead have more buy-in from builders than recovering costs from Nelsonites.

“I think we could have something that is really beautiful for Nelson” if we accept the $1,000 amount for the designs, Morrison noted.

She said people have to have deep pockets already to build and if the price of a city design can lower the amount somewhat and encourage them to pursue it, then the project would be successful.

“We need to try this. We are so far ahead of ourselves here (with cost recovery). What if no one comes to play?” she said.

The motion to approve the laneway house design competition was passed. In addition, council passed a motion to refund the $450 laneway housing development permit fee to applicants who use a pre-reviewed design and achieve step 3 or higher of the BC Step Code.

Keep reading in The Nelson Daily


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