Up until this point, requests for laneway homes in the city of Calgary have been dealt with on an individual basis. Now we are going to see a test case of laneway homes in the city on 10A St. Northwest. It's a pilot project that will lay the groundwork for any future decisions about going forward with laneway homes in the city.
What are laneway homes?
These are small housing units that are often built above a garage. Usually they can be accessed from the back of a laneway. They are also commonly known as garden suites or granny suites but they can also be a residence for a single-family.
Laneway housing gives the city a chance to start expanding inwards instead of outwards. Rollin Stanley, the top city planner in Calgary, is in favour of pushing ahead with laneway homes. He says that this type of housing adds more density to an area without changing the neighbourhood's look in any significant way. It's a way to get extra housing into communities where services are already provided. He also believes that laneway homes are underused as a general rule in most urban neighbourhoods.
In Vancouver, there are approximately 1,000 homes of this type that have been built already. In that city, laneway homes have been well-established and have become more accepted. Residents in Vancouver gradually got used to the idea of having them there and subsequently less fearful of them.
The average square footage of a laneway house is about 500 ft.². As of yet there isn't a firm date in place for the start of the pilot project. If this program goes well it will definitely open up the possibility of expansion for laneway homes in Calgary.