Category Archives: Real Estate

Zoning bylaws and smaller homes

Zoning bylaws are often what prevents smaller homes from being built.

Michael Geller is a Vancouver-based architect and planner, and an expert on small homes. I’ve learned a lot from his articles in local newspapers and magazines and his blog.

I’ve also interviewed Michael and he always takes the time to make sure I understand the zoning process and how it works – and doesn’t work when I’m writing articles.

Small homes are beautiful – and better for the environment

Three years ago, I’d never heard the terms cottage homes and pocket neighbourhoods.

Then, I got an assignment to write a series on these topics.

I learned that Bob Ransford, a Vancouver area urban designer who specializes in complex urban development and land use challenges, was a local expert.

Bob told me that cottage homes in pocket neighbourhoods are the brainchild of Ross Chapin.

In 2001, Chapin bought four city-sized lots and build eight single storey detached cottage homes, each less than 1,000 square feet, with homey front porches, surrounded by gardens.

The cottage home movement had begun.

Pocket neighbourhoods are more affordable and safer since neighbours are close by.

They’re also sustainable, walkable and healthier because they contribute to sprawl on farmland, forest or wetlands.

Ross Chapin talks about cottage homes: