Townhouses and low-rise apts allowed in single-family areas adjacent to Cambie Corridor


City Council in May, 2018 approved the third and last phase of the Cambie Corridor Plan. Phase 3 of the Cambie Corridor plan aims to provide a built-form transition between higher- and lower-density areas and more ground-oriented and affordable housing. Phase 3 expands the area originally slated for increased housing density, allowing forms such as rowhouses, townhouses and low-rise apartments in formerly single-family areas. It is closely aligned with the City’s Housing Vancouver strategy, and focuses on creating affordable housing for low and moderate-income residents, introducing new ground-oriented housing types for families close to the Canada Line and amenities.


Phase 3 represented a sea change in the City’s planning within single family neighbourhoods by encouraging townhouse, rowhouse and low-rise apartment forms of housing two and three blocks inboard of major streets where such forms had previously been targeted. It is a milestone in planning for “missing middle” housing as part of a strategy to address housing affordability over a large swath of the city, and signals a new focus on gentle density city-wide.

The scope of the study area had expanded substantially since the beginning of the three-phase process. Previously intended in Phase 2 to focus on three blocks either side of Cambie, the City decided to explore potential for higher densities around the corridor as a response to pressures to identify more sites for multiple family housing and at higher than anticipated densities.
At the start of Phase 3 the range of housing for the study area was presented as a spectrum from single-family infill through courtyard rowhouses, rationalized as a transition from the apartment scale of Phase 2 to single family areas outside the study area. The adopted Corridor Plan emphasized townhouses and rowhouses throughout these transition areas to maximize housing units. By the time the plan was finalized, infill and duplexes were considered applicable forms in all the single family zones of the City (see Making Room, milestone 1.) Concentration on townhouse forms was further confirmed by the strategy of creating a new townhouse zone (RM-8A/RM8AN).

Phase 3 also substantially increased the number of blocks where mid-rise apartment forms were encouraged by bringing more blocks in the vicinity of Oakridge into Phase 3 and by targeting these blocks for Town Centre densities with mid-rise apartments being encouraged.


The Cambie Corridor Plan was approved by Council on May 9, 2011 following the opening of the Canada Line in 2009. Staff said the Corridor, about 87 per cent of which had been zoned single-family, presented a significant opportunity to advance broader city-wide goals of affordability, livability, well-being and sustainability. The Cambie Corridor Plan study area centres along Cambie Street between 16th Avenue and the Fraser River. It extends from Oak Street to the west and Ontario Street to the east.

Phase 1 was completed in 2010 with overarching planning principles for the Corridor and an interim rezoning policy for applications received by the City during plan development. Phase 2 produced the Cambie Corridor Plan, which provided policy direction for “core area” sites. The plan enabled rezoning applications along Cambie Street and other major arterials, initiating change across all neighbourhoods. Planning for phase 3 began in 2015.


Last updated: December 7, 2018