Habitat for Humanity will be able to proceed with building two new homes for local families following a re-zoning approval by city council recently.
The re-zoning will allow Habitat to build a duplex on the corner of Westgate and Dalton roads where the zoning only allowed for single family housing.
Matthew Fitzgerald, city planner, said the area consists mainly of single family homes and a cluster of multi-family patio homes at the east end of Dalton Street are the only alternatives to single-family housing.
“The addition of a duplex will…implement the OCP’s (official community plan) policy which encourages the provision of housing options in established neighbourhoods,” Fitzgerald wrote in a report to council.
The two new Habitat homes – which will be the third build in Campbell River for the organization – will be two storeys tall and each unit will be 1,150 square feet in size.
Peter Sanderson, build coordinator, told city council in December that two families have already been selected for the new homes – a family of three and a family of five.
Pat McKenna, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North, said in recruiting families for the two new homes, six other families were identified as ideal candidates for Habitat homes.
“We set out to find two families and we found eight, so we really need to build and build quickly,” McKenna told council at last week’s council meeting. “What we’re asking for is that council will empower staff to work with Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North towards a multi-year strategy for identifying city-owned property that can be allocated and donated to Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North.”
McKenna said Habitat is extremely grateful for what the city has already donated – land for a duplex on Maple Street and for the current Westgate build.
“We’re really thankful for what you’ve given us so far, it’s been phenomenal,” McKenna said. “You’re a heck of a lot easier to deal with than other councils, let me tell you that.”
Mayor Andy Adams, in light of McKenna’s report that six local families were identified for Habitat homes, wanted to know if Habitat is looking to build duplexes, triplexes, quads or six-plexes.
McKenna said the Habitat board is challenging the organization to increase its output of housing from 1.5 to six to eight houses per year and to do that, Habitat needs a lot more land to build on.
He said Habitat can customize the type of home to fit the size of the family, but he said the most consistent and fastest thing Habitat builds are duplexes.
“On .8 of an acre we can generally put eight to 10 units on there, depending on how the land is developed,” McKenna said.
“I think we’d be most comfortable with that style.”
In the meantime, plans for the duplex at Westgate and Dalton are moving ahead.
Construction on the homes is expected to begin in March so Habitat can dedicate them to the two families in June.