Missing Middle history in 10 links


Curious about the history and evolution of Missing Middle housing policy in Victoria?

Want to roll back the clock and see earlier versions of the policy?

Want to watch the videos and see the many, many procedural motions made along the way – motions to postpone, amend, reconsider, rescind, refer and who knows what else? (You know you want to.)

This is not a comprehensive summary, but hopefully it will be useful for navigation prior to the public report that is coming in the new year.

  1. Official Community Plan, 2012 “6.1.5. Traditional residential: consists primarily of residential and accessory uses in a wide range of primarily ground-oriented building forms including single, duplexes, townhouses and row-houses, house conversions, and low-rise multi-unit residential and mixed-use buildings up to three storeys in height located along arterial and secondary arterial roads.”
  2. Strategic Plan 2019-2022. 2019: “Houseplexes and Townhouses: Undertake a city-wide planning exercise to identify suitable locations for townhouses and houseplexes.” 2020: Consider a comprehensive amendment to the Zoning Bylaw to permit all “Missing Middle” housing forms without need for rezoning or development permit.
  3. Committee of the Whole on November 21, 2019 (item F.1), report that anticipated Public Hearing by Fall 2020. On Nov 28, Council directed staff to “Establish zoning regulations, design guidelines and policy updates for missing middle housing forms city-wide,” conduct engagement, etc.
  4.  Committee of the Whole on July 29, 2021 (item F.1) report outlined engagement from March 2020 and through into May 2021, discussed houseplexes (“fourplexes, fiveplexes, etc”) and townhouses, and three storeys, and included the Coriolis report concluding that “The envisioned forms of missing middle housing are either not viable or have marginal viability in most parts of the city.”
  5.  Committee of the Whole on May 5, 2022 (item F.3) outlined phase 2 of engagement, made policy changes (as did many later meetings)
  6. Council Meeting on July 14, 2022 (item H.1). Bylaws were given first and second readings, and some were given third readings (there are rules about this).
  7.  Council Meeting of August 4, 2022. Public hearing began.
  8. Special meeting of Council on September 1, 2022 Public hearing continued.
  9.  Special meeting of Council on September 2, 2022. Public hearing continued, and closed when the speakers list was exhausted. Council deliberation began.
  10. Council to Follow COTW meetig on September 8, 2022 (item E.1), deliberation continued, and rather than making a decision Council ended up punting to Committee of the Whole after the election (Q4).

What next?

The municipal election was held, MMHI continued to receive a lot of media attention, and the current Council members were elected.

City staff are preparing a summary report, which the Local Government Act requires after public hearings. Once the report has been presented, Council can then vote on MMHI, as noted on the provincial government website:

“Each of the individual municipal council or regional district board members must decide how they wish to vote on the bylaw. They may consider a broad range of input including information and views from the public, staff reports, financial implications, agency comments and other information.

If all members were not present at the public hearing, they must not vote on the adoption of the bylaw until they have been presented with a report that contains the views expressed at the public hearing.”

Council received legal advice on the process on December 1, and decided to “continue the process commenced before the election and, once all new Council members receive the report on the public hearing, proceed with the Missing Middle Housing Initiative project as if current Council members heard the public hearing.”

As the Mayor noted in her remarks, this decision was purely about process, not substance – the “how,” not the “what” / whether to adopt, reject, amend or refer MMHI. Council reconsidered that process decision December 8 and didn’t change course. Here is a link to the Council meeting where it was explained.

So staff will present the report, and Council will continue the process and vote on MMHI in the new year.